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#8

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,510 - $43,100
Invoice: $27,218 - $39,730
MPG: 20 City / 27 Hwy
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Nissan Pathfinder Performance

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder has a comfortable ride and easygoing road manners, reviewers say. Some note that while it isn't the most athletic SUV in the class, it has controlled body motions and plenty of engine power. Additionally, the Pathfinder gets great fuel economy for the class.

  • "As a suburban runabout, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder gets the job done." -- Edmunds
  • "If refinement and car-like handling are more important than off-road and towing ability, we think Nissan's 2015 Pathfinder crossover SUV should be at the top of your shopping list." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Unless rock-crawling ability is a must, you'll probably find the 2014 Pathfinder a very likable crossover SUV." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The driving experience can be summed up as mature. Suspension tuning is firm enough to keep cornering attitudes level, without compromising the comfort quotient, and there's enough power to minimize drama in passing on two-lane highways." -- Road and Track (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Pathfinder comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard, which Nissan updated for 2015 with preprogrammed "shift points" to help it feel more like a conventional automatic transmission. The Pathfinder gets great fuel economy for the class, at an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway.

Reviewers say that the Nissan Pathfinder has plenty of power, and some comment that the revisions Nissan made to the CVT improve the overall driving experience. Still, some critics say the CVT makes unpleasant noises under harder acceleration.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 and CVT are responsive enough in most situations, and the gearless CVT's simulated upshifts take some of the monotonous droning out of maximum acceleration. It's still an unconventional experience, however, so we recommend a thorough test-drive to make sure you've got a feel for how the transmission operates." -- Edmunds
  • "All Pathfinder models shift through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that plays a big part in the 'ute's fuel-thrifty ways. It can, however, induce prolonged bouts of high-rpm engine droning under medium-to-heavy acceleration." -- Left Lane News
  • "Last year's CVT automatic didn't thrill us, but the addition of D-Step Shift Logic makes the 2015 Pathfinder much more enjoyable to drive. We have nothing but praise for the Pathfinder's V6 engine, which offers both impressive power and fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Pathfinder comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. Reviewers note that the Pathfinder has controlled body motions through turns and precise steering, but some say that it doesn't feel quite as athletic as rivals like the Mazda CX-9. However, test drivers agree that the Pathfinder has a comfortable, car-like ride.

  • "Thanks to its unit body, the 7-passenger Pathfinder can accommodate a modern suspension that returns a stable, smooth ride and excellent road manners. Body roll is minimal even under hard cornering, and the nicely weighted steering feels responsive and on-center." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Although the steering is light and precise, handling is not a strong suit for the Pathfinder, and it feels large from behind the wheel. Consumers looking for sportier handling will find it in the Mazda CX-9, for example, although we suspect most Pathfinder buyers won't view this as a significant weakness." -- Edmunds
  • "Not surprisingly, the handling is tuned more for safety than for smiles, but the new Pathfinder puts forth a reassuringly carlike stability at speed." -- AutoTrader (2014)
Review Last Updated: 11/19/14

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