In a market that’s gone crazy over utility vehicles, few nameplates have had as long a history as the Nissan Pathfinder which made its American debut at a time when SUVs were largely the purview of rugged outdoorsmen.
The current version went through a dramatic makeover for the 2013 model-year, shifting from a classic body-on-frame design to a car-based crossover platform. But the Japanese automaker isn’t planning to let the ute go stale, and has some significant updates in store for its mid-cycle refresh.
That includes a new 284 horsepower V-6, plenty of new advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS technologies, as well as an updated exterior.
“The new Nissan Pathfinder takes the iconic nameplate to an even higher level of performance, technology and style,” said José Muñoz, executive vice president, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and chairman, Nissan North America, Inc., prior to its debut at a Dallas park.
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The location was intended to show how today’s SUVs are expected to link both urban and off-road adventures,” suggested Muñoz.
From a styling standpoint, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder adopts the maker’s new signature V-Motion grille and boomerang shaped headlights, along with LED running lamps and a new hood. Both front and back bumpers are updated, as are the sideview mirrors and taillights.
An optional version of the rear liftgate now can be activated simply waggling a foot under the back bumper.
Under the new hood, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder now gets a new direct-injection 3.5-liter V-6 that reduces emissions and boosts performance. The powertrain pumps out 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque, up from 260 and 240, respectively. Towing capacity runs as high as 6,000 on properly equipped models.
Even with the added power, the 2016 Pathfinder maintains the outgoing model’s fuel economy ratings of 20 city, 27 highway and 23 combined, in two-wheel-drive models. Nissan’s All-Mode 4×4 system is also available.
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When it switched to a car-based platform for 2013, the Pathfinder adopted a 4-wheel independent suspension. That’s been retuned for 2017, the maker claims, to improve body control and refine the ute’s ride.
In an era when many buyers put a premium on technology, the Pathfinder gets an 8-inch touchscreen display with optional navigation, as well as SiriusXM Traffic advisories and automatic collision notification and stolen vehicle locator technologies.
The safety tech has also been updated with such features as Intelligent Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking and the latest Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available.
Pricing will be announced closer to the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder’s on-sale date later this year.
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