Nissan Pathfinder Review
The comprehensive Nissan Pathfinder review
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|CarAdvice||73%||"It's not the best, or best equipped, in the segment, but that isn't the be-all and end-all either for plenty of buyers looking for reliability and cost of ownership."||Read more|
|CarsGuide||75%||"The Nissan Pathfinder is sort of like the Vegemite of the big-SUV world. It's been around forever, and even though there are fancier things out there, it's constantly on people's shopping lists."||Read more|
|Practical Motoring||70%||"[The Pathfinder] is a luxurious, comfortable and capable SUV wagon loaded with convenience and safety features, but it's competing in a tough market segment that includes more dynamic and engaging vehicles that also use less fuel, and come with similar equipment levels and sharper pricing."||Read more|
|Whichcar||80%||"The Nissan Pathfinder is a smooth and comfortable seven-seat SUV, with plenty of space and a lot of equipment."||Read more|
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How does the Nissan Pathfinder compare with its peers?
A comprehensive Nissan Pathfinder review
Nissan Pathfinder SUV Pricing
There are 10 models of Nissan Pathfinder to choose from, with 3 different trim levels and 2 engines.
The cheapest Pathfinder is an ST 2WD model. The drive-away price listed on Nissan's website is $41,990. These Pathfinders have a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, seven seats over three rows, Nissan's EZ Flex seating system, an 8" infotainment touchscreen, Tri-Zone climate control plus Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming. Nissan also produces the ST as a 4WD and a four-cylinder hybrid.
If you're looking for additional tech and luxury, check out an ST-L line model. This specification swaps cloth seating for leather accented upholstery and receives a front sunroof with a panoramic glass roof. Nissan also installs an intelligent cruise control system and upgrades the sound system to one from Bose with 13 speakers. ST-L models also boast a bird's-eye view monitoring system and intelligent emergency braking. A front-wheel drive ST-L costs $55,490. The AWD model starts at $63,602, while a 4WD hybrid engine ST-L retails for $66,752.
Nissan currently builds an N-Sport special edition 2WD Pathfinder that's a variation of the ST-L model. N-Sport Pathfinders have larger, 20" black alloy wheels and black roof rails and grilles. The front and rear bumpers have black accents, as does the licence plate finisher. The N-Sport starts at $61,557.
The range-topping Ti model rounds out the Pathfinder line-up. Ti spec Pathfinders boast heated and cooled seats in the front, a motion-activated tailgate, a tri-zone entertainment system, 20" alloy wheels and remote engine start. For a 2WD Ti, you'll need to pay $64,990, a 4WD Ti costs $72,330 and the Ti hybrid 4WD Pathfinder has a drive-away price of $76,102.
Pearlescent and metallic paints are charged at $500.
Prices shown are for NSW, postcode 2000.
Click on the model you're interested in to compare finance options.
|2WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $41,990|
4WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $46,490
2WD, auto, 2.5-litre hybrid petrol with 15kW electric motor: $49,022
|2WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $55,490|
4WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $63,602
4WD, auto, 2.5-litre hybrid petrol with 15kW electric motor: $66,752
|2WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $61,557||2WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $64,990|
4WD, auto, 3.5-litre V6 petrol: $72,330
4WD, auto, 2.5-litre hybrid petrol with 15kW electric motor: $76,102
The above prices are the manufacturer's recommended drive-away prices (MRDP). These also include 12 months' registration and CTP insurance, stamp duty, dealer delivery fees and any other admin costs.
OverviewThe Pathfinder is a chunky-looking SUV that excels in the urban sprawl and on long-distance journeys. It boasts seven seats, lots of space and ample storage, making it a popular car with families. Nissan offers this car in several variations, including as a hybrid with an onboard battery or with a full-fat V6.
If it were a paint colour, it would be a shade of beige. Timeless, neutral and inoffensive, but definitely not cutting edge or exciting.
|CarAdvice||"The Pathfinder doesn't really do too much wrong"|
|CarsGuide||"The Nissan Pathfinder Ti is outstanding in its practicality and value, while offering a comfortable premium feeling experience with materials that feel hard wearing and will put up with the punishment families can throw its way."|
|Practical Motoring||"It's competing in a tough market segment that includes more dynamic and engaging vehicles that also use less fuel, and come with similar equipment levels and sharper pricing."|
|Whichcar||"The step to an ST-L Hybrid is worthwhile if you do a lot of your driving in the city, but in press-on country driving its economy benefits evaporate."|
Engine and performance
For 2019 model Pathfinders, you have the choice of a 3.5-litre, naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine or a 2.5-litre supercharged hybrid petrol powerplant that works in tandem with a 15kW electric motor and battery.
All non-hybrid Pathfinders use the 3.5-litre, 24-valve V6 petrol engine. No matter the trim you select, the engine outputs a standard 202 kW @ 6,400rpm. Nissan lists max torque as 340Nm @ 4,800rpm.
Hybrid figures are a little more modest, but still impressive considering this block has two fewer cylinders. The supercharged 2.5-litre creates 188kW @ 5,600rpm with max torque near the levels of the V6, with 330Nm available at a lower 3,600rpm.
Transferring power from the engine to the wheels is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) gearbox. The Pathfinder system is called Xtronic and has simulated shifts via a D-step logic control. Nissan discovered that owners preferred the sensation of the revs dipping with a gear change, so the engineers created faux-shifts.
Car reviewers' thoughts on the Nissan Pathfinder engine/gearbox
With a sizeable displacement, the V6 engine is said to be rather punchy. Commenting on this engine, testers reported it was excellent, offering solid acceleration and a very relaxed drive at freeway speeds.
The motoring media was full of praise for the 4-cylinder hybrid engine too, stating that around town, acceleration was effortless.
The only downside that automotive journalists spoke of was the high revs required to achieve maximum torque and power. Obviously, this makes things louder if you're trying to overtake and also reduces fuel economy as you're having to work the accelerator pedal heavily.
Ordinarily, CVT automatic transmissions attract negative comments from reviewers. Nissan's CVT didn't receive the usual bashing, in fact, one tester said it was the best implementation of a CVT they've ever driven. They even had to double-check the spec list to make sure their press car didn't have a traditional automatic with fixed speeds.
Nissan Pathfinder engine and transmission statistics
|Engine type||Double overhead cam, V6||Supercharged double overhead cam, 15kW electric motor|
|Drivetrain||Front 2WD or AWD||Front 2WD or AWD|
|Cylinders||6 cylinders, 24 valves, V configuration||4 cylinders, inline 4, 16 valves|
|Fuel tank capacity|
|Max power||202kW at 6,400rpm||188kW at 5,600rpm|
|Max torque||340Nm at 4,800rpm||330Nm at 3,600 rpm|
|Fuel consumption (combined, best model)||9.91L/100km||8.6L/100km|
|Top speed (km/h)|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||750kg/2,700kg||750kg/1,650kg|
Nissan lists the fuel consumption for the 2WD 3.5-litre V6 as:
- Combined: 9.9L/100km
For the 4WD V6, the Japanese automaker says you'll use:
- Combined: 10.1L/100km
As you'd expect, the 2WD Hybrid Pathfinder uses the least fuel:
- Combined: 8.6L/100km
While the 4WD Hybrid model uses slightly more at:
- Combined: 8.7L/100km
If you want to stretch the time between your visits to the filling station, the best model on paper is the 2WD hybrid Pathfinder. The most fuel-hungry model has an all-wheel drive transmission and the stout 3.6-litre V6.
It's worth mentioning the above numbers are calculated using stringent set tests, with regimented conditions. As a driver, you'll know public roads are considerably less predictable. You may, for example, live in a particularly hilly area or like to drive quite defensively with the A/C cranked right up in heavy traffic. All these different variables mean the actual fuel figures you see will differ quite a lot from the brochure numbers.
How then, did the motoring media fare when it came to the Pathfinder's fuel use? One editor declared the figures were optimistic. Around town, the expert could only achieve 13.0L/100km in a V6 but did note that on freeways, the numbers dropped closer to Nissan's official combined data. Other journalists echoed these findings. Generally, most favoured the V6, despite its moderate fuel dependency.
What is the Nissan Pathfinder like to drive? In built-up areas, reviewers described the ride as above average and satisfyingly comfortable. Not surprisingly, some journalists found that it wasn't well suited to attacking bends: after all, it's a family/passenger-focused vehicle. Expect the fairly weighty Pathfinder to be less about blasting around corners and more about leisurely lapping up the kilometres on a long run.
Apparently, Nissan engineers have done an acceptable job preventing the body from lolloping around, but one critic thought competing car makers had perhaps an edge in this area. They did add that it wasn't unreasonable, just not the best in class. Another source suggested that this model Pathfinder is an improvement over previous generations. The automotive journalists who trialled the Ti, with its larger 20" alloy wheels and wider tyres, said the ride was a lot more planted.
The steering wheel feels reactive and positive according to our sample reviewers, but once more the journalists said other SUVs outshine the Pathfinder. Crucially, for navigating tight car parks and streets, the steering wheel requires little effort to pivot the wheels.
Unlike the previous R51 series Pathfinder, which was built on the same platform as the Navara ute, this iteration of the Japanese SUV isn't what you'd call off-road ready. For a start, the Pathfinder only has 7.1 inches of ground clearance. With the option of AWD and hill-descent control, it'll do alright away from the pavement, but don't expect to do any extreme mud-plugging. This is an urban SUV.
As a driver, you spend the majority of your time sitting inside your car, not outside admiring it. What's the Pathfinder like internally then?
Pretty good, apparently. The front seats are nice and wide, offering up lots of support. There was a comment made that the Pathfinder had an American feel to it and that assertion proved to be right on the money, as Nissan manufactures the SUV in a small town in Tennessee, USA.
The motoring press heaped commendations on Nissan for logically laid-out driver controls and an easy-to-use infotainment system. However, Nissan lost points for omitting proper smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto noticeably missing from the system.
Motoring experts appreciated the solid build quality of the Pathfinder's interior, saying it had very few squeaks and rattles. It's also said to be suitably spacious for a growing family, with a collection of cupholders, lots of storage for travel essentials and two ISOFIX anchors for child restraints. Rear passengers are often neglected in seven-seaters, but tri-zone climate control will keep them comfortable and the top-spec Ti's rear entertainment screens will prevent boredom on long treks.
A few Nissan Pathfinderreviewers went as far as saying the third-row seats were the easiest to clamber into on the market, something to bear in mind if you plan on regularly carrying a sixth and seventh passenger.
Even the cheapest Pathfinder trim, the ST, has plenty of passenger comforts and gadgets. For the driver, there's cruise control, an 8-way electronically adjustable seat, a reversing camera with predictive trajectory graphics and hill start assist. For passengers, there's a 4-way manually adjusting front seat, an 8" entertainment touchscreen with AM/FM/DVD/MP3 support plus an auxiliary and USB input.
The ST-L adds extras like a front sunroof and panoramic glass roof for letting in more natural light and giving rearwards occupants a view of the skyscape, plus a refined 13-speaker Bose sound system. Sat-nav becomes a standard feature as does leather accented seating. The driver is also given a selection of driving assists like smart cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot warning and smart braking with forward collision warning.
Finally, the top spec Ti trim gets a motion-activated tailgate, perfect for when you return from the shop and your arms are full of groceries, as well as a tri-zone entertainment system. This system comes with headphones and a remote control to avoid distracting the driver.
Nissan Pathfinder safety and driver assists
|5-star ANCAP rating||✔||✔||✔|
|Anti-lock braking system (ABS)||✔||✔||✔|
|Electronic brake force distribution (EBD)||✔||✔||✔|
|7 adult-sized seats with seatbelt warning||✔||✔||✔|
|Rear parking sensors||✔||✔||✔|
|Advanced drive-assist display||✔||✔||✔|
|Tyre pressure monitoring system||✔||✔||✔|
|2 x middle row Isofix points||✔||✔||✔|
|Auto-dimming rear mirror||✖️||✔||✔|
|Around view monitor with movement detection||✖️||✔||✔|
|Reversing camera with predictive path display||✔||✔||✔|
|Intelligent cruise control||✖️||✔||✔|
|Rear cross traffic alert||✖️||✔||✔|
|Intelligent emergency braking with forward collision warning||✖️||✔||✔|
|Blind spot warning||✖️||✔||✔|
|Tyre pressure monitoring system||✔||✔||✔|
Nissan Pathfinder interior and comfort features
|Tri-zone climate control||✔||✔||✔|
|EZ Flex seating system with latch and glide technology||✔||✔||✔|
|8-way powered driver's seat with manual lumbar support||✔||✖️||✖️|
|4-way manual front passenger seat||✔||✖️||✖️|
|8-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support||✖️||✔||✔|
|4-way power-adjustable passenger seat||✖️||✔||✔|
|Leather accented steering wheel and shifter knob||✔||✔||✔|
|Intelligent key with push button start||✔||✔||✔|
|AM/FM/DVD/MP3/AUX/RDS audio system|
with 8" touch screen
|iPod-compatible USB connectivity (x4)||✔||✔||✔|
|Bluetooth hands-free phone||✔||✔||✔|
|Bluetooth audio streaming||✔||✔||✔|
|13-speaker Bose audio system with acoustic waveguide technology||✖️||✔||✔|
|Hill start assist||✔||✔||✔|
|Front sunroof and panoramic glass roof||✖️||✔||✔|
|Heated front seats||✖️||✔||✖️|
|Heated and cooled front seats||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Leather accented seat trim||✖️||✔||✔|
|Satellite navigation with traffic monitoring and multi-touch functionality||✖️||✔||✔|
|Driver position memory||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Remote engine start||✖️||✖️||✔|
|Tri-zone entertainment system with wireless headphones, remote control and HDMI or USB inputs||✖️||✖️||✔|
Nissan Pathfinder exterior styling features
|18" alloy wheels||✔||✔||✖️|
|20" alloy wheels||✖️||✖️||✔|
|LED daytime running lights||✔||✔||✔|
|Heated side mirrors||✖️||✔||✔|
|Front fog lamps||✖️||✔||✔|
|Door mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature||✖️||✖️||✔|
The Nissan Pathfinder review verdict
Over the years, the Pathfinder has morphed from a body-on-frame SUV into a more modern urban-oriented family car. The Pathfinder can boast lots of refinements, from excess cup holders and storage to a sensible suite of smart driving assists. It even drives well and has plenty of space for luggage and passengers.
However, the motoring media did find there were a lot of very minor niggles. Principally, it lacks iOS or Android smartphone integration. Others wished for a diesel engine and a few begrudged the fuel economy. Overall, the Pathfinder isn't bad, it just doesn't quite top some of its aggressively priced rivals.
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