By on April 27, 2015

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Exterior

Nissan’s path to the modern Pathfinder has been long and wandering. In 1985 the 2-door truck based Pathfinder was the answer to Chevy’s Blazer and Ford’s Bronco. In 1995 Nissan changed absolutely everything and made the Pathfinder a 5-door unibody SUV to compete head-on with Jeep’s successful Grand Cherokee. Nine years later, Nissan started over, yet again, with a body-on-frame design to do battle with the myriad of General Motors midsize SUVs choking up suburban expressways. Then, in 2013, Nissan went back to the drawing board for a fourth time with a new mission: build a spacious and well-priced soft-roader to battle the new Explorer and the GM Lambda platform triplets (Acadia, Traverse, Enclave).

Exterior

Before we dive deep into the Pathfinder, we have to identify this breed’s natural habitat, and that means forgetting every Pathfinder that came before. While you’ll still find WD21 Pathfinders climbing rocks, this Pathfinder is more at home on the school run. I mentioned GM’s Lambda CUVs earlier because this Pathfinder is big. Really big. That means the Pathfinder isn’t the most direct competitor to entries like the Kia Sorento that’s more than a foot smaller or even the Toyota Highlander that is 6 inches shorter. The mission of the Sorento and Highlander is to carry 4-5 adults in comfort while providing a third row for children, mothers-in-law or emergencies. The Pathfinder however was intended to carry 7 adults in relative comfort.

Because the new Pathfinder’s mission is people hauling, not rock climbing, you won’t find aggressive approach and departure angles on the nose and rump. Instead, we get slab sides, a variant of Nissan’s truck grille up front and a rather vertical hatch in the back. The overall look is simple and clean but lacks the excitement (yes, I used that word in a CUV review) you’d find in entries like the new Sorento.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Third Row Seat-001

Interior

The Pathfinder sports the most combined legroom in this segment (1st row + 2nd row + 3rd row) and combined legroom is important. Other entries claim to have more third row legroom (like the Traverse), but if the other two rows are cramped, you end up sliding those seats back cutting down on the room left in the mother-in-law-row. Looking deeper, the Traverse claims 3.4 inches more 3rd row room but you’ll find that the Chevy’s 1st row is 1 inch smaller and the middle row is 5 inches smaller. This means with the driver’s seat adjusted ideally for me at 6-feet tall (not giving a toss about the folks in the back) I can adjust the second row seat to have 2-3 inches of leg room and have a similar 2-3 inches of legroom in the third row of the Pathfinder as well. I’m a little surprised Nissan chose not to make an 8-passenger version of the Pathfinder because the 3rd row is as accommodating as the Highlander’s 3-seat rear bench. Speaking of the Highlander, you’ll notice upper trims come only with captains chairs in the middle row, meaning passenger number five has to sit in the cramped third row.

The second reason to buy a Pathfinder is for the trick second row seat. If you’re a parent with two or three child seats in the middle row, you’ll appreciate that Nissan designed the 40% section of the bench to contort in a way that allows adults to get in to the third row. While it is possible to get into the back in other 3-row vehicles with a child seat in the middle, it isn’t easy.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Second Row Folding Child Seat

Legroom isn’t everything, of course, so Nissan kept the roofline high at the rear of the Pathfinder giving a generous 37.8 inches of 3rd row headroom. If you want this kind of room without a Nissan logo on the hood, you’ll be looking at full-size SUVs. I am talking Suburban-sized since the Tahoe actually offers 6 inches less total legroom than the Pathfinder. If you need something bigger than that, you’re in Blue Bird bus territory.

The Pathfinder’s generous legroom comes at a price: the small cargo area. Admittedly, the 16 cubic feet of space behind the last row is 1 more than you get in the Tahoe, but it’s 8 less than the Traverse and 23 less than the Suburban. So, while the Pathfinder is as accommodating as a Suburban for 7 adults, you can’t fit 7 suitcases in the back.

Also on the down side is a cabin that’s starting to show its age. The seats are class leading in terms of comfort, but the cabin is full of hard plastics. I’m not one to bash hard plastics off-hand, but casting the primary dashboard touch points out of hard plastic is unusual in this segment and it makes entries like the Durango, Sorento and Enclave look and feel more premium.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Interior Infotainment.CR2

Infotainment

Although the Pathfinder isn’t that old, the base “S” trim gets you a 6-speaker audio system and in-dash 6-CD changer … and that’s it. No Bluetooth, no AUX input and no USB/iPod interface. If you want those, you have to step up to the $32,990 SV trim which includes a 7-inch infotainment LCD. Although I dislike the stripper trim concept, you should know the SV is still about $2,000 less than a comparable Highlander. (Keep in mind Toyota’s base model lacks a V6.) SL Tech trims get an 8-inch infotainment display and the same 13-speaker Bose sound system as the Infiniti QX60. At $38,090, it’s also the cheapest way to get navigation. Any way you slice it, however, Nissan’s infotainment options are a step behind the new entries like the Sorento, Highlander, Durango and 2016 Pilot.

On the up-side, Nissan’s touchscreen infotainment system was one of my favorites last decade, so in terms of functionality it fares quite well. GM’s Lambda SUVs all get small infotainment screens set low in the dashboard due to the age of the platforms and, interestingly, a Traverse with navigation is just $250 less. On the down-side, the Pathfinder is at least five years behind the rest, especially compared to Toyota and Chrysler’s latest systems. GM’s refreshed infotainment options in the Lambda CUVs operate on a smaller 6.5-inch screen but look more modern.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 AWD control

Drivetrain

Under the hood lies Nissan’s ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6 tuned to 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, 5 hp and 8 lb-ft less than the same engine in the QX60. In addition to being down a few ponies compared to its luxury cousin, it’s also the least powerful in its class. As you would expect from Nissan, power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT, but this one has been revised to handle a 5,000 lb tow rating. The new transmission uses a steel chain instead of a steel belt for durability, but importantly the ratios stay more-or-less unchanged. Nissan’s reps confirmed the transmission is the primary reason for the QX60 and Pathfinder’s different tow ratings.

If towing with a FWD crossover doesn’t sound like fun, $1,690 buys you AWD. The system normally defaults to FWD mode for improved fuel economy but as a (small) nod to the Pathfinder’s history, the system has a lock mode mechanically connecting the front and rear differentials so power flows 50:50 (front:rear). Unlike more traditional transfer case setups, the clutch-pack allows a small amount of slip so the system can be used on dry pavement without binding. Leaving the AWD system in “Auto” keeps power to the front unless fairly significant slippage occurs (in order to improve fuel economy).

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Gauges

Drive

The Pathfinder is loosely based on Nissan’s D-Platform which underpins the Altima, Murano and the last generation Maxima. One thing all those vehicles have in common is being light for their category and that’s true of the Pathfinder as well. At 4,317 lbs in FWD trim and topping out at 4,506 in AWD trim, that’s about the same weight as Toyota’s Highlander V6 and 300-500 lbs lighter than a comparable GM crossover. The weight reduction and other efficiency differences pay dividends with real world fuel economy in the AWD model coming in around 21.5 MPG in mixed driving. That’s around 11 percent better than the Traverse, 15 percent better than the Enclave and 18 percent better than the Tahoe on my same fuel economy route. While a few MPG doesn’t sound like much, at this end of the scale it equates to $450 lower annual fuel bills vs the Buick.

The comparatively light curb weight and CVT compensate for the lower torque numbers and allowed our tester to scoot to 60 in 7.1 seconds. While not the fastest in the pack, this is better than the majority of three row crossovers on the market. This is despite the CVT’s final drive ratio being tuned toward fuel economy. The CVT’s main benefit is it allows the engine to hang out at the peak of its power band for maximum acceleration. For 2015, Nissan programmed the CVT to imitate a traditional stepped automatic when in “D.” Not surprisingly this results in lower performance because it negates the major benefit of a CVT in the first place and actually causes a 2/10th longer run to 60 (7.3 seconds) than when the transmission is in “L” and ditches the imitation shifts.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Exterior Hitch Receiver

Everything has a trade off and so it is with the Pathfinder. The CVT’s low ratio isn’t terribly low at 13.5:1 (low gear and final drive), this doesn’t compare all that well with the lower 15.2:1 that you find in the Ford Explorer and higher overall than basically all the competition. This tall starting ratio conspires with the soft springs and compliant sway bars to make the Pathfinder feel about 1,000 lbs heavier on the road. In the stop-light races, most of the competition will beat the Pathfinder to 30 mph because of that ratio choice. Past 30, the Pathfinder picks up steam and may win the race overall, but in the real world that 0-30 time is more important.

More than most new cars, we have to separate lateral grip from handling “feel” when discussing this Nissan. Why? Because the Pathfinder actually road-holds as well as a Mazda CX-9 according to most publications (TTAC doesn’t have access to a skidpad) but the feeling is night and day different. Steering turn-in is lazy. Soft springs that give one of the best rides in the segment make body roll excessive. There’s plenty of pitch and dive when accelerating and braking. This is the prefect example of numbers not giving you the complete picture. The Pathfinder is faster than almost all of the competition, it stops from 60 mph in a short 125 feet and pulls lateral Gs like a Mazda crossover. Get behind the wheel however and the Pathfinder feels enormous.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 Exterior-007

Towing with a CVT is an unusual experience to say the least. I attached a 5,000 trailer and gave it a whirl. As expected, the tall starting ratio in the transmission makes for sluggish starts, but when I started climbing hills things went just fine. Like Chrysler’s 8-speed automatic, the ability to find an “ideal” ratio for the moment is what saves the Pathfinder here. Sure, you hear plenty of the 3.5-liter V6 in the cabin when the engine is revving its nuts off, but it feels peppier on a 15 percent grade than a GMC Acadia with the same trailer.

With the Pathfinder, Nissan has created one of the best crossovers on paper. It has legroom to spare, the highest fuel economy among its direct competition, and delivers great acceleration, braking and handling numbers, but it looses something by the time you add it all up and drive one yourself. Perhaps the toll to be paid for checking every box the crossover shopper wants is engagement. The Pathfinder is a crossover I have recommended and will continue to recommend if you want an honest to goodness usable third row and great fuel economy. It also remains one of the better buys in this segment thanks to its low starting price and aggressive equipment bundles. Unfortunately, if driving pleasure, interior refinement, or modern infotainment are higher on your shopping list, there are better options.

Nissan provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as testesd

0-30: 2.7 Seconds

0-60: 7.1 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.24 Seconds @ 93 MPH

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52 Comments on “2015 Nissan Pathfinder 4×4 Review (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    Brumus

    Despite the tranny updates, I wouldn’t want to do much towing with this CVT, especially on a 15% grade. But that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Consumer Reports would agree with you.

      Alex, was the chain added for 2015 or is this the same setup as the initial 2013 CVT in this generation of Pathfinder that has been crapping out with regularity (in the Quest as well)?

      I think CVT technology is not quite at the point of being used in such high curb weight, high torque applications, to say nothing of rating them at 5000lb towing.

      Aside from that huge concern, the Pathfinder sounds like an awesomely packaged vehicle, with what most people look for in the segment: good mileage, comfortable ride and seats, good price.

      I’ve read elsewhere that the rear seats are mounted rather close to the floor but did not see this mentioned here, any comment Alex?

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    To carry five or six adults in comfort, you need a van. Ingress and egress from a crossover is a hassle for people much over five feet.

    • 0 avatar
      CB1000R

      I think I would personally rather have a 2015 Quest over a fwd Pathfinder. I am okay with a van.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      If you’re a parent with two or three child seats in the middle row, you’ll appreciate that Nissan designed the 40% section of the bench to contort in a way that allows adults to get in to the third row. While it is possible to get into the back in other 3-row vehicles with a child seat in the middle, it isn’t easy.

      What if you are dealing with FIXED, rear facing infant car seats? These folding middle seats won’t work with them. It is remarkable how many auto manufacturers haven’t figured out that people have more than one or two kids. This means that the middle seating positions are taken up with car seats, limiting their ability to fold forward, and you still have little ones that need to use a car seat in the third row and are still too young to fasten their own seat belt.

      So there has to be enough room for a parent to fasten a young child in a car seat in the THIRD row.

      Really, the photo above doesn’t make this vehicle suitable for young families. After a decade of parenting, I still deal with three car seats and most of these vehicles can’t accommodate them or serve a parent’s needs.

  • avatar

    See, this is what I love about your reviews, Alex. They’re very fair, and they take into consideration the customer base and purpose that the vehicle serves. The Pathfinder has been panned by certain major publications, when apparently it does just about everything right for its intended market. Since people insist on buying crossovers, automakers should at least make it worth their while and put a decent amount of space in each row.

    The one thing that is noticeably missing from the Pathfinder, though, is HID or even projector-beam lighting. But the (age old) Traverse doesn’t have it, either.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed. I think that this is what makes TTAC unique in general. I haven’t seen any other reviews of this crossover-ified pathfinder that emphasized its advantage in passenger space quite as clearly. I wonder, how does it stack up to the new 2016 Pilot? I know the old boxy one was already known as one of the roomiest in the segment.

  • avatar

    It takes a brave man to buy one of these and tow moderately-sized loads frequently with that CVT. Good luck to all those who do.

    Also, whoever approved the massaged-2002-Sentra-steering-wheel-with-Bluetooth-buttons needs to be taken out back and shot.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Honestly if it wasn’t for me being afraid of the CVT and hearing so many horror stories about them in Nissan’s this would be number two on my list to replace my CX9 in three years. It the right balance for me in space and MPG and overall performance. I have driven one already and although the Dodge drives better it is compromised in second and third row seating.As a matter of fact IMO the Dodge is the smallest of the large crossovers in interior space overall.
    With that being said an updated Flex is still my next car unless Mazda creates a Diesel CX9 by then.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    The real question is how does it compare to a Sienna, Odyssey, etc. in people hauling as it’s a mini-van without sliding doors.

    I does have a lot of tech (surround view camera) if a tad dated at this point and can be purchased with big incentives unlike most mini-vans.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Stuart Smalley forgot to mention past and present CVT issues. And if it’s true regarding the steel belt CVT. Nissan dealers need to be more educated on the Pathfinder CVT tranny. This newer model Pathfinder resale value is abysmal, and the Infiniti version with fancier interior and bumpers uses the same crap drivetrain. I know 2 people that own Pathfinders. 1 already has had the CVT replaced and continuing to have CVT issues and other just wants to sell the it before it breaks again.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    “With the Pathfinder, Nissan has created one of the best crossovers on paper.”

    That’s my favorite line because that’s how I’ve always felt about Nissans in general. For several years I’d look at various Nissans and they looked great on paper, great reviews. Then I test drive them (Altimas, maximas, sentras) and they all have had something about them I’ve hated leaving me to walk away dissapointed. Either cramped, uncomfortable, cheap interiors, choppy drive, tinny feel, etc. With them all it’s something different but they’ve all been a let down to the point where I won’t even look at Nissans anymore.

    THe big problem with the pathfinder is cvt failure. Read the reviews online and in consumer reports..the cvt is a huge problem on these vehicles…probably because they’re just too heavy and powerful for a cvt to handle.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The Sentra is probably the only Nissan I would own. It is cheap and that is was I expect from a Nissan product. I rented one in DC a few months ago, you do get a lot of room in a Sentra and it has great armrests on the door and center console. I also averaged 38mpg and it was very quiet in the cabin. An SL version can be had for around $15500, duel climate control and leather. Interior is much more grown up like, opposed to a Civic.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      According to True Delta, the 2014+ models have improved due to the changes Nissan made. Oddly enough they aren’t that much worse than any other CUV entry. Go figure.

  • avatar
    Andy

    We have had our 2014 (SL premium FWD) for almost a year. My thoughts:

    I’m glad we have the old transmission programming, I think it’s pretty cool how smooth and responsive it is. If I can’t have a manual, give me “all the gears”, right? Don’t need AWD where we live. I suspect the 240 HP is officially underrated to make the Infiniti look better on paper. The things just steps out. Immediate throttle and transmission response, very good seat-of-the-pants acceleration. Touch of torque steer when you jump on it. Steering is a little light, but the steering wheel itself is very good. Right size, and quality materials.

    I haven’t towed with it, but I have loaded it up with my three boys and our camping gear many times. We often use a trailer hitch-mounted cargo platform for extra capacity. We drove it from Dallas to the Big Mouse last fall, and it ran all day long (literally, we drove straight through, 18 hours each way, only stopping for food and fuel), without breaking a sweat. The thing never has saggy butt when fully loaded, never feels underpowered, can maintain the set cruise control speed and easily accelerate to 90+ on demand, when needed (rare, but possible, tested in the name of Science…)

    Interior space: We came out of a 2005 Yukon XL with center buckets, and thought we still needed three rows every day. Would have got a new Suburban/YXL or Expedition EL, but the they are just so expensive. Turns out the Pathfinder is wide enough that our boys sit three across just fine most of the time. Second row leg room is outstanding. For longer trips, we send one kid to the back row and leave the other half of the third row folded, and that fits plenty of luggage for most occasions. And adjusting the second row to give the third row enough leg room is very easy. Going to the beach this year with regular luggage plus umbrella, chairs, boogie boards… we may need that hitch haul again, or a rooftop cargo box, which is not as convenient as fitting everything inside, but the rest of the year, this is the right size for us.

    As for the interior, again, we came out of a 2005 GMC, so this thing feels like a Bentley by comparison. The infotainment is a bit clunky. Didn’t want nav (have an iphone), but kind wish we had the “around view” which I understand is now included on our trim level, plus a small price increase. No Bluetooth audio, you have to connect via USB, a minor inconvenience. Sound quality is good, though I’d rather have more space in the way-back storage well than the subwoofer that lives there.

    Fuel economy is not amazing. Usually about 17-19 around town, okay fine, the GMC was doing 14-15. Usually 23 on the highway, because of weight and speed, I guess.

    Kids love the rear sunroof and heated seats. Wife and I love the pushbutton start, remote start, memory for seats and mirrors (there are 13 inches between us, I cannot tell you how nice it is to just hit a button and everything adjusts to my settings).

    For a family of six, I’d have to recommend a suburban or van. For us, it’s Goldilocks, and it fits in the garage. Very good value, comparably equipped. Do recommend.

    • 0 avatar

      “Going to the beach this year with regular luggage plus umbrella, chairs, boogie boards… we may need that hitch haul again, or a rooftop cargo box, which is not as convenient as fitting everything inside, but the rest of the year, this is the right size for us.”

      Exactly. Why do people buy a car based on the one or two times a year when they’ll actually need its capabilities? Your Pathfinder works for you the overwhelming majority of the time, and the few times that it doesn’t, you can use external storage. That’s perfect. More people need to adopt that philosophy. Don’t get a 4WD Grand Cherokee just because you *might* go up to Colorado next winter.

      This even extends to electric cars, honestly. If I was in the market for a car, and there was a nice, *affordable* electric car that could hold its own on the highway and get a comfortable 130 miles of range, I’d certainly consider it. Why? Because that leaves a bit of margin for battery-parasite behavior, yet it would cover me 99% of the time. And the few times when I needed something with more range, I could just rent. Do I really need an electric car that could do the same 550-600 miles of range as my TDI for me to feel comfortable? Absolutely not…

      But I digress. It’s good to hear from an actual Pathfinder owner. I’m glad you like it.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      Agreed on the CVT. There are plenty of CUVs out there with 6+ speed automatics. If you don’t want a CVT, buy one of them. I don’t so I didn’t. But there’s a reason they exist and that reason is not to replicate the sound and feel of an automatic. CVTs exist because they can get to the ideal ratio and stay there until the ideal ratio changes. While I’m used to the sound and feel of a car moving up and down the rev range as it changes gears I can also appreciate different technologies. If you want this car, then you should want to get the most out of it’s technology.

  • avatar
    david42

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to fit a 9-foot surfboard inside? Does the front seat fold flat?

  • avatar
    200Series

    So what are the better options? How does this compare to the revised Explorer? My wife has had two Acadias, 2009 and 2013, and the lease is due next June, and we’re not going for a trifecta. The challenge is that despite all the shortcomings of the Lambda platform, the sizing is perfect. If you don’t want a mini-van or full size BOF SUV, finding an alternative with second row captains chairs, AND good space behind the 3rd row, is an exercise in futility.

    I’m thinking I’d rather deal with the tighter packaging of the Explorer and have the availability of a real motor with the EcoBoost. The power train in the Lambda platform is junk….bad throttle tip-in, holds revs forever, no low-end power…maybe in a car, but this is not an engine for a 5,000 lb vehicle…..oh, and our last one ate two engine under 25k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      How about a Flex? Same Explorer powertrain, better interior packaging (from what I hear on the Internet).

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Ouch, what exactly happened with the motors? I haven’t heard of the Gm 3.6 motors as being particularly troublesome, aside from some timing chain stretching on higher mileage early build models.

      • 0 avatar
        200Series

        Catastrophic failure; its a lease and did not tell us exactly what happened, but the sound from the engine was startling….imagine pots and pans banging together. Here’s the kicker; 30 days to replace the engine, drive the new engine 30 miles and the EXACT same thing happens. I still think they screwed up the install on the first one, but who knows.

      • 0 avatar

        Earlier (2007, 2008) Lambdas have also been plagued with minivan-like transmission issues.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      My wife got a new Explorer last year. I sent her out to look for a car, and that’s what she asked for. I was surprised because she has had five new cars in her lifetime, three Hondas, one Lexus, and now the Ford. I thought she was going to ask for a Pilot, she said it was too bland and she didn’t like the way it drove, although the Honda dealer really wanted her Odyssey on trade.

      I spent an 800 mile round trip in the third row seat, it’s adequate, not wonderful. There was sufficient space for bags for five and a lot of food and drink in the cargo area with one half of the the third row seat folded.

      Hers has the normally aspirated V6, when we looked, that’s all any of the dealers stocked, other than the Sport model. It gets 17 mpg in town, all short trips. cold starts, average speed around 20 mph, and about 23 on the highway.

      Hers is a Limited trim level. It has heated and cooled seats, because a lady of a certain age needs cooled seats. The third row seat has power folding and is split. It folds either seatbacks forward, or the whole thing goes into a well. The phone integration works well. Unfortunately her iPhone 5 doesn’t do Bluetooth text so the car can’t read her texts to her.

      I like the way it drives, it has a direct feel and the steering is precise. The only other recent crossover I’ve driven was a nearly new Santa Fe, and the Explorer is much more confidence inspiring than was the Hyundai. Step down hard on the throttle and you will hear from the engine, the exhaust note is kind of hot roddy.

      This is the most configurable car I’ve ever driven. Want to change the color of footwell lights? No problem. Would you like the backup camera to go off when you shift to Drive, or leave it on until you get to a few mph going forward? Autolocking on or off? All that stuff and lots, lots more is configurable.

      We’ve had it for about 20 months, so far it has been mechanically perfect. Tire wear is much better than it was on her Odyssey.

  • avatar
    familytruckster15

    I almost bought a ’14 and ’15 platinum 4wd model on two different occasions. Iv researched and reviewed and test drove all the models in this class (excpet GM). Heres my opinions.

    We currently are an Acura family.

    I loved the pathfinders interior. It may be simple, but it felt premium, not MDX level, but we liked it better than the explorer. The wife demands ventilated seats (koochie coolers), and she felt very comfortable in it.

    Front seats were the best we sat in. Wish these seats were in the durango.

    Very excited the 15 model now has blind spot, still no HID / premium headlamps is a major problem for us as we dont see well at night and we would notice coming down from acuras.

    We liked the MPG, the heated 2nd seat, the around view monitor, the panoramin sunroof. Nissan really gives you alot.

    On both my deals i negotiated the purchase price to around 37500 or so always out the door at 41500. This was for the platinum 4wd. Sooooo temtpting at that price,..but I couldnt pull the trigger bc of the CVT issues and the potential resale value.

    Going to wait on the pilot, or until we can get a nice deal on the MDX.

  • avatar
    Andy

    I’ll add, ours is leased… we had a bad experience with a 2004 Quest… mostly a dealer service issue, wife was very reluctant to consider Nissan again, but we liked the vehicle enough to give them another chance. And I don’t know how widespread the CVT issues are, I read that there was an upgrade in the internals from 2013 to 2014, but yeah, I’m glad it’s under warranty, and that I can give it back if I want to in a couple years…

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, we can all trip the light fandango and pretend all is sweetness and light, but fundamentally this vehicle is rubbish. Consumer reports list the 21013 and 2014 reliability as Much Worse Than Average. The complaints boards are filled with incoherent mumblings of outrage as well.

    What else does anyone need to know? Avoid like the plague.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “This tall starting ratio conspires with the soft springs and compliant sway bars to make the Pathfinder feel about 1,000 lbs heavier on the road.”

    “Get behind the wheel however and the Pathfinder feels enormous.”

    So it hasn’t changed a ton in a driving dynamics sense than the previous version. Both of these sentences could have described that model as well. I am surprised however, that this thing is within about 100lbs of my sedan in weight. That’s pretty impressive. Even though I get 40 more HPs out of the same dang engine.

  • avatar
    Andy

    The only thing I avoid like the plague these days are combox arguments.. But I’ll take the bait this time. What else does anyone need to know? Well…

    -CR is one useful source (blocked by a paywall so I’ll have to take your word for it).
    -Truedelta rates the Pathfinder as average.
    -JDPower ratings are about average . Actually, above average for “powertrain quality mechanical”, somewhat lower for “powertrain quality design”, whatever that means.
    -JDPower also has the 2012 Murano (very similar platform -and powertrain) as a top pick.
    -The price is very good.
    -The safety ratings are very good.
    -Most professional reviews are favorable. Though, when it comes to outside data, I’m more interested in actual information re: how well it holds up, not whether some random journalist happens to “like” it. I’m capable of discerning my own personal preferences.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Andy I agree with you. Folks act like this is a off lease Range Rover. However with that being said I have read somethings online that would keep me from buying. I can deal with some electrical gremlins along with some other minor niks however trans issue I have to stay away from.
      I will share with you what CR has stated since I have been a subscriber for about 10 years now. From what I can tell the transmission appears to be the only real issue. Stay away from the 2013 model as it has had body hardware, integrity and trans problems.
      Whats funny is that the 2012 model before the redo appears to be rather reliable. So if you still like the old model thats the one to get.

      • 0 avatar
        Andy

        As I said, mine is a lease… I knew the potential issues, learned they had made a revision to improve the CVT, liked it better than the competition, am giving them a chance to earn my loyalty.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Good review.

    I actually owned a 1994 Pathfinder back in the day. Great, honest truck. It may not have been the most luxurious SUV of its time, but it was very robust.

    The new one is a big, big change from that. I think Nissan hit a home run with the interior. Their leather/wood interiors have always been good, almost Volov/Jaguar sometimes.

    Personally, I wouldn’t buy it because I think it’s too heavy a vehicle for the CVT. I own a CVT-equipped Outback, which is a fine application of it but in a bigger vehicle a regular automatic is just better.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I actually owned a 1994 Pathfinder back in the day. Great, honest truck. It may not have been the most luxurious SUV of its time, but it was very robust.”

      I hear this a lot about the first gen WD21 trucks. If not for road salt and rust that absolutely devours these things, they are nigh indestructible. There was a really nice 1995 maroon 4 door with dark red interior with a 5spd (V6,4wd) on cars.com a few months back that was painfully tempting. VG30 is a thirsty slug, but then so were all early 90s Japanese V6s, it is however a commendably reliable motor, and doesn’t suffer from headgasket issues like the Toyota 3.0L V6 of that vintage.

  • avatar
    plee

    News flash! CVTs are still failing in 2013 and 2014 Pathfinders and the Infiniti model. Many are being bought back and often go through the auction with an unbranded title. Stay away from these.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Nissan can afford to go bigger with the Pathfinder with the Murano slotting between it and the Rogue.

    Lighter weight often means scrimping on sound insulation – how is the road noise and noise from the engine bay?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Those seriously thinking about a Pathfinder, QX60, or Lambda, don’t forget to test drive a Ford Transit Connect Wagon. It’s actually quite fun to drive, in addition to being more spacious and better-packaged than any of the above.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Is the Pathfinder the only vehicle to start as a body-on-frame, switch to unibody, back to body-on-frame, and then to unibody?

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      AFAIK, yes. And if you count the STS as an extension of the Seville name, the Seville is the only car I can think of that started RWD, went to FWD, then came back to RWD.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        No, there is another (read that as Yoda). The Charger which obviously started out RWD, was offered in FWD from MY82-87 as L-body, and is back to RWD as an LX car.

        “The Charger returned in 1982 as a subcompact hatchback coupe with front-wheel-drive, and a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. This economy-type model was similar to the Dodge Omni 024, but with a slightly larger engine. The Charger was available with the NA 2.2l SOHC or a turbocharged 2.2l SOHC engine. Both engines could be specified with either transmission. A Shelby Charger was offered starting in 1983, with a turbo version available in 1984 producing 148 horsepower (110 kW) at 5600 rpm and 160 pound-feet (220 N·m) of torque at 3200 rpm. The engine was not intercooled and used a small t3 Garrett turbo. In 1985, the electronics were updated but power output was the same. In 1986, the electronics were further updated.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger_(L-body)

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Oh yeah, forgot about that. But two things: One, there was a substantial hiatus between the Omni 024 Charger and the LX, and two, is the Omni 024 a “real” Charger anyway? Let’s ask BTSR…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m sure HE WOULD AGREE with ME.

            As far as continuous nameplates though I think you’re right.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The Imperial did a switch from RWD/FWD a couple of times.

            And if we’re going way back, the Town & Country has been a RWD convertible and wagon, a FWD wagon, and then the FWD/AWD vans.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    No, there is another (read that as Yoda). The Charger which obviously started out RWD, was offered in FWD from MY82-87 as L-body, and is back to RWD as an LX car.

    “The Charger returned in 1982 as a subcompact hatchback coupe with front-wheel-drive, and a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission. This economy-type model was similar to the Dodge Omni 024, but with a slightly larger engine. The Charger was available with the NA 2.2l SOHC or a turbocharged 2.2l SOHC engine. Both engines could be specified with either transmission. A Shelby Charger was offered starting in 1983, with a turbo version available in 1984 producing 148 horsepower (110 kW) at 5600 rpm and 160 pound-feet (220 N·m) of torque at 3200 rpm. The engine was not intercooled and used a small t3 Garrett turbo. In 1985, the electronics were updated but power output was the same. In 1986, the electronics were further updated.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_Charger_(L-body)

  • avatar
    unhsunghero

    It looks like there is no QX60 hybrid either. At least I can’t find it on the Infiniti website.

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