Saturday Road Test – Nissan Pathfinder

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

 

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

At Home in Historic Territory

By Ron Amadon

HARPER’S FERRY, WVA. – If you want to find some paths for testing a Pathfinder the hills around this very historic Civil War town is the place to go.

Really not much more than old cow paths where soldiers of the north and south once marched, the narrow roads feature sharp curves on steep grades and, if you stop to read the signs, a ton of history.

So it was easy to forget that the Pathfinder, at just over 197 inches long riding on a 114 inch wheelbase, is roughly the same size as the competition – the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Nissan offers four trim lines for the midsize Pathfinder with the test vehicle being the top of the line Platinum. New for 2015 are Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert on upscale models while Hill Descent Control is now included on 4-wheel drive models. Attention Civil War reenactors – Gun Metallic is a new color for 2015.

While the Nissan offers less storage space than other mid-size SUV’s its power, handling and features should meet the expectations of most shoppers.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The transverse mounted 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 260 hp @ 6,400 rpm with 240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm. A revised CVT, called “Xtronic”, might fool some drivers into thinking it is a more common automatic transmission by simulating actual shift points. The Platinum came with 20 inch aluminum alloy wheels, two inches larger than other models.

Regular unleaded is all that is needed at the pump with an EPA rating of 19 mpg around town and 26 on the highway for a combined 22 mpg. I came in at a combined 19 mpg. It may have been those Billy goat like back roads.

Occupants should find the ride pleasant enough with good absorption of winter time pot holes. From the driver’s seat this rig feels like a larger vehicle and handling, while not sporty, is typical of a class that will probably never spend much time at the track.

It is hefty weighing in at 4,642 pounds for the 4WD model. Nissan claims it will tow up to 5,000 pounds, the best in its class.

This is a fine long distance traveler – quiet out on the interstate with road and wind noise nicely contained. The BOSE sound system with 13 speakers and dual subwoofer, (think St. Bernard here), was simply delightful and Taylor was particularly Swift. Oh pardon me it was actually the “BOSE AM/FM 1-CD/USB w/MP3 playback capability & Bluetooth streaming audio” system. Just wanted to get that right! Optional is a DVD player with 7-inch rear headrest LCD screens that should please younger “Frozen” riders. In the right configuration it can seat 7.

Also aiding long trip comfort was the 8-way power “leather appointed” driver’s seat with power lumbar support. The passenger seat was 4-way adjustable with both front seats heated and cooled with heated second row seats in the top of the line Platinum model.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder2015 Nissan Pathfinder 2015 Nissan Pathfinder

A rather classy interior greets you with audio and navi controls within easy reach. Best of all, one could perform basic tasks without reference to the owner’s manual. Hurray!

Third row seats were easy to access thanks to sliding second row seats, up to 5.5 inches, but they are best left to kids due to limited leg room. Cargo space was a bit limited with the third row seats up, at just 16 cubic feet. Folding down second and third rows creates nearly 80 cubic feet for hauling home loads of whatever. Three cheers for the power liftgate.

While seating is a bit limited in the back row, the second row seats would accommodate virtually anyone in comfort, shy of Hasheem Thabeet, an NBA player who checked in at 7’3”. Ah well, you had to do something with that roof rack.

With a short option list consisting of splash guards, roof rail cross bars, rear bumper protector and floor mats totaling $880, the MSRP for the test SUV came to $44,865 including destination charges.

Those seeking a jazzy looking, comfortable and easy to get to know SUV should follow a path to their Nissan dealer for a Pathfinder test drive.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

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