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The mid-1980′s saw the rise of the mid-size off-road capable sport utility vehicle, able to tackle rough terrain while carrying a family of four and their gear. It was a great idea. Credit the Jeep Cherokee, followed by the Toyota 4Runner, and then, in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder. The recipe? Very simple. Take a Nissan Hardbody pickup truck, extend the wheelbase and add a permanent cab. Whammo, instant Pathfinder. Within a couple years the Pathfinder would become a four door, and added all the luxury features you could dream of. But at the heart of it, the Pathfinder was a truck, with serious off-road cred.
Then, in 2000, things got a little strange at Nissan. The Xterra made its debut. The Xterra was a modern incarnation of the original Pathfinder, which had moved upmarket. Still, I wondered why Nissan needed two seriously capable SUV’s of similar size, in addition to the full-size Armada fighting for buyers. My answer came in the form of the all-new, fourth generation Pathfinder. It is not only all new, it is a different kind of vehicle. No longer a proper SUV, the Pathfinder is now a bona fide crossover. Purists and car geeks, you have my permission to sob at the Pathfinder’s transformation. I liken it to people who consider themselves Elton John fans. On the one side, you have fans who prefer ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’, and on the other, weepy 1990′s bland ballads. I can’t even think of a song title, they all sound the same. But, that is the case with the Pathfinder-same name, but now speaking directly to an entirely different audience.
Remember, this is a business, and Nissan wants to appeal to as many people as possible. And turning the Pathfinder into a crossover has proven an overnight sales success. Last year, Nissan sold two Pathfinders for every one XTerra. This year? The XTerra sales are flat, but Nissan now sells FIVE Pathfinders for every single Xterra. Sure, the Pathfinder traded in its mojo in order to become kid tested, and mom approved, but Nissan is laughing all the way to the bank.
The Pathfinder now rides upon a platform shared with the Altima and Murano. So, any resemblance to Pathfinders of the past are long gone. Nissan even abandoned the Pathfinder’s trademark rear door handles integrated into the door pillar. What we’re left with is a fairly attractive, unoffensive and utterly forgettable shape. If not for the Nissan grill treatment, it would be impossible for most people to identify what kind of vehicle they are looking at. Our test car, finished in a somber Dark Slate did not help matters. The Pathfinder virtually disappeared in crowded parking lots.
While the original Pathfinder’s cabin offered all the luxury and refinement of an abandoned cabin in the woods, the current Pathfinder is quite the opposite. Three rows of seating, plenty of space make for a versatile and easy to live with interior for families. Fit and finish are impeccable, quality of materials are excellent, and despite offering all the latest technology, the Pathfinder is simple and intuitive to use. However, I cannot help but think whoever at Nissan ordered this particular Pathfinder was feeling down that day. Complimenting the Dark Slate exterior was a Charcoal interior. With no sunroof, and privacy glass surrounding most of the car, the Pathfinder’s interior was, like the exterior, rather somber and serious. White stitching on the comfortable leather seats, faux wood trim and silver trim help to break up the monotony, but the overriding feeling is sitting in the dark.
The new Pathfinder is available with a 3.5L V-6, rated at 260hp, paired to a Continuously Variable Transmission. Buyers can choose either front wheel or all-wheel drive. Our test car was equipped with all-wheel drive. Acceleration from a start was a little lethargic, but then the car seemed to wake up and go. Most people agree that Nissan makes the best CVT’s in the business, and I am one of them. That said, it’s like a restaurant in your town saying they make the best liverwurst. With the Pathfinder’s engine wailing uphill, droning endlessly until quieting down, I am gritting my teeth, knowing damn well you used to be able to buy a Pathfinder with a manual transmission. But that’s me. In the real world, most people either won’t notice or care. Fuel economy figures from the EPA show 19/25 MPG City/Highway. Not bad for a an all-wheel drive car of this size. And Nissan’s argument for putting in a CVT. Around town, the Pathfinder has enough torque the motor boating effect inherent of CVT’s is a non-issue. For a seven passenger crossover, the ride is obviously geared toward comfort, and the Pathfinder proves itself to be a very smooth cruiser. Finally, our Pathfinder had a towing limit of 5,000lbs, which is pretty generous for a crossover.
The Pathfinder can be had in S, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels. Our test car was an all-wheel drive SL. Standard features included 18″ alloys, power driver and passenger front seats, front and rear heated leather seats, push button ignition, three-zone auto climate control, six speaker audio with SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, 7″ color monitor, RearView Monitor, rear sonar, power lift gate and fog lights. Adding some minor accessories like splash guards, roof rail cross bars, floor mats and the Trailer Tow Package, our Pathfinder rings in at $37,945USD, including destination charges.
As I conclude my review of the Pathfinder, it is with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am a car guy, and I get emotional about cars. Nissan took the fabled Pathfinder name and applied it to a car that bears absolutely no resemblance to its ancestors. In other words, they sold out. On the other hand, they had no choice but to sell out. The Pathfinder as we knew it had become a dinosaur, and was becoming irrelevant. The Xterra remains for those who demand a true SUV ready tackle anything, and the Murano crossover, stylish as it is, does not offer the practicality and utility offered by the latest Pathfinder. Yes, at the expense of personality and character, the Pathfinder suffered greatly at the hands of Nissan during this transformation, but in doing so, has found itself a new and larger buyer base. And remember, Nissan is in the business of selling as many cars as they can.
As for the Pathfinder faithful who want go-anywhere capability with a luxurious interior to boot? Well, the XTerra is all business and no frills. The Toyota 4Runner Limited offers all the luxury and capability of the Pathfinders of yore, and now owns that market. Nissan, are you listening?
Filed under: Hybrid, Crossover, Nissan, Quick Spins
If you've been keeping up with our long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder coverage
, you already know that, generally speaking, we dig it. After racking up 21,000 miles (and climbing!) on our dear Sweet Brown, we've become very, very familiar with the Pathfinder
package as a whole, and many of us actually prefer it over competitors like the Ford Explorer
and Chevrolet Traverse
For 2014, Nissan
has added a new hybrid option for its Pathfinder, using an all-new powertrain that will also be shared with the CUV's Infiniti
sibling. As far as fuel economy is concerned, our long-term Pathfinder has had no problem hitting its EPA-estimated numbers of 19 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway, but this new hybrid model is said to be good for an increase in overall economy - 25/28 mpg (city/highway) when equipped with front-wheel drive and 25/27 mpg with optional four-wheel drive.
We recently took the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid for a quick spin around the city streets of Nashville, TN. And while our time with the non-hybrid Pathfinder has been pretty enjoyable overall, at first blush, we're having a tougher time warming up to this electrified variant.
- The 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid is powered by a supercharged, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine which, on its own, is good for 230 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Nissan has coupled that four-pot with a 15-kilowatt electric motor, which brings overall system output up to 250 hp and 243 lb-ft - a decrease of 10 hp versus the non-hybrid model, but a gain of 3 lb-ft.
- Nissan once again employs its well-behaved continuously variable transmission here in the Pathfinder Hybrid, and really, it's fine. Nothing to write home about, for sure, but CVTs (well, e-CVTs in most hybrids) have long been the tranny of choice for hybrid applications, and when it comes to continuously variable units, Nissan does them better than most.
- Compared to the standard Pathfinder, this hybrid model is 228 pounds heavier (comparing Platinum trim levels). Yet you don't really feel the added heft on the road. For starters, the Hybrid's 243 lb-ft of torque comes on at 3,600 rpm versus the non-hybrid's 240 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm, and the wee bit of electric assist at takeoff means this heavier model still gets up and goes just as quickly as it ever did. No official 0-60 numbers are available for either model, but we're willing to bet the two are awfully close - if there is a difference, it's not really noticeable from behind the wheel in city driving.
- That said, the hybrid system isn't nearly as smooth as we'd like, especially off the line. The throttle feels dead at initial tip-in, and you really have to dig into the rightmost pedal to get the Pathfinder Hybrid to move. Once it's in motion, the gasoline engine kicks in with an uncultivated action and coarse sound.
- There's a similar sort of displeasure when its time to bring things to a halt. Just the opposite from the vague throttle response, the brakes are particularly grabby right from the get-go, presumably because the system is programed to eke out as much regenerative braking energy as it can. Sure, you get used to it, but we'd certainly like a brake pedal that's easier to modulate with a more linear feel. All-in, the Pathfinder Hybrid just isn't as smooth and easy to drive as its non-hybrid sibling.
- As far as real-world economy goes, we didn't have a chance to get seriously accurate numbers, given the extreme brevity of our test drive (15 miles through the city). That said, we've not yet had any real discrepancies with Nissan's official mileage numbers, and 26 mpg combined doesn't seem too far-fetched for this hybridized Pathfinder.
- Aside from the powerplant, Nissan hasn't made any other changes to the Pathfinder in creating this hybrid model, save a set of redesigned, full-LED taillamps that are exclusive to the electrified variant, as well as the obvious exterior badging.
- The same can be said for the interior, where everything has been left alone. No complaints here, as our time with the long-term 2013 Pathfinder can attest to. And unlike other hybrid vehicles, Nissan has managed to package the battery system in a way that it doesn't impede interior functionality - the Pathfinder Hybrid's cabin is just as capacious as the standard model.
- Nissan will offer the Pathfinder Hybrid in SV, SL, SL Premium, Platinum and Platinum Premium trims, starting at a base price of $35,110 (not including $860 for destination) - a $3,000 up-charge from the non-hybrid version. A fully loaded Platinum Premium 4WD will set you back $47,510..
- From where we sit, that's quite a price premium considering what the Pathfinder Hybrid offers. Despite offering a combined fuel economy rating that's 4 mpg better than the gas-only model, it doesn't offer anything additional in the way of creature comforts and amenities, it's more complex, and frankly, it's not as nice to drive. Of course, we need more time behind the wheel to see what sort of real-world numbers this hybrid system can achieve, but for the moment at least, we aren't sold.
- That's a shame, too. We like the Pathfinder a whole lot, but unless Nissan can smooth out its gasoline-electric powertrain, we just don't see any reason to pony up the dough for the Hybrid.
2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 29 Oct 2013 14:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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Filed under: Car Buying, Hybrid, Crossover, Nissan
has announced pricing for the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid
, which was revealed earlier this year at the 2013 New York Auto Show
. Offering two- or all-wheel drive, the hybridized crossover sports a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 15-kilowatt electric motor, for a total of 250 system horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers match up well with the 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque put out by the V6-powered Pathfinder
. Naturally, fuel economy sees a hefty boost, to 25 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, bumps of five and two mpg, respectively.
The Pathfinder Hybrid is available in three grades. Prices start at $35,100 for an SV and jump to $38,050 for the mid-level SL. A top-flight Platinum, meanwhile, moves the price up to $42,750. Adding all-wheel drive to the package bumps the price up to $1,600 across the range, and keep in mind that these prices don't include Nissan's $860 destination charge. Take a look below
for the full press release from Nissan, including detailed pricing charts for both the Hybrid and V6 Pathfinder.
Continue reading 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid priced from $35,110*
2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid priced from $35,110* originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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Filed under: Recalls, Safety, Crossover, Infiniti, Nissan, Luxury
will be recalling over 151,000 vehicles due to issues with the anti-lock braking systems. On rough roads, light braking in the Nissan Pathfinder
, Infiniti JX35 and QX60
could trigger a problem in the brake pressure output software that might lead to longer stopping distances than expected relative to the brake inputs. Needless to say, unpredictable stopping distances on rough roads is not a desirable trait in a three-row, family friendly CUV.
covers all 2013 and 2014 Nissan Pathfinders built between April 18, 2012 and September 20, 2013, some 100,682 vehicles. Another 52,629 2013 to 2014 Infiniti JX35/QX60s built between September 15, 2011 and September 20, 2013 are also part of the notice.
Nissan will request that owners of affected vehicles report to dealers for a free software update to address the problem. Scroll down
for the official notification from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Continue reading Nissan recalling 151,000 CUVs over ABS issues
Nissan recalling 151,000 CUVs over ABS issues originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 24 Oct 2013 09:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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Filed under: Crossover, Nissan, Long-Term Garage
This Nissan is the most in-demand long-term vehicle we've ever had.
They may not readily fall into the sweet spot of driving enthusiasts, but our year-long test of this Nissan
is proving to be an object lesson in why crossovers are so popular - especially large ones like our three-row Pathfinder
. In fact, it's been so busy that it's hardly been at a standstill long enough to pen an update, which is why this one is late. Simply put, this Nissan
is the most in-demand long-term vehicle we've ever had, racking up more miles and more long-distance trips than any LT vehicle in the Autoblog
Much of that high demand stems from the inherent versatility of a three-row CUV, of course, but the Pathfinder is still a good representative of the breed. We should know - we've been piling on serious miles in our Mocha Stone and we've learned a lot. In the main, this is an accomplished freeway cruiser - not only does it deliver a refined ride thanks to that long, 114.2-inch wheelbase and pleasant suspension tuning, the interior of our top-rung Platinum model is downright luxurious.
Just as I did last year
with its Ford Explorer
arch rival, I drove our Pathfinder from the Greater Detroit area to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and even if the drives were a year apart, memories and a full sheaf of notes revealed some interesting differences between these two competitors.
Continue reading 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: July-September 2013
2013 Nissan Pathfinder: July-September 2013 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 03 Oct 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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Filed under: Budget, Recalls, Safety, Crossover, Infiniti, Nissan, Luxury
may be forced to recall 110,000 Pathfinder
and Infiniti JX35
crossovers, due to a number of customer complaints. Consumers report suddenly losing power, with repair facilities blaming the issue on faulty transmission cooler line connections. Both the Pathfinder and JX35 use a continuously variable transmission. As of right now, the only vehicles being investigated are from model year 2013.
Nissan has been cooperating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
, according to a report from Reuters
, and it has developed a fix for the affected vehicles. It's not clear whether this will develop into a full-blown recall
, as there have been no known cases of injuries or crashes. But with a potential 110,000 vehicles prone to sudden power loss, a recall seems to be a likely outcome.
Nissan Pathfinder, Infiniti JX in transmission safety probe originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 05 Sep 2013 10:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink
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