By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.1
Nissan reinvented the Pathfinder last year, transforming it from a rugged body-on-frame SUV into a more car-like unibody crossover SUV. The result was a vehicle whose priorities changed from towing heavy loads and finding precarious paths to meeting the demands of a wider audience seeking a comfortable, fuel-efficient SUV that can stylishly schlep the kids to soccer practice and still have room for groceries. Not surprisingly, the latest Pathfinder has been a hit. As a softened crossover SUV, the 7-passenger Pathfinder is one of the most competent models in a segment that includes the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Mazda CX-9. The Pathfinder's 26-mpg highway rating is among the segment's best, and a new hybrid model promises still-higher returns.
Want good fuel economy, room for seven and something more nimble than a Chevy Traverse or Ford Explorer? Put the 2014 Pathfinder on your shopping list. Another feather in the Nissan's cap is its ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The 2014 Pathfinder won't tow the big loads of its V8-powered predecessor or scale mountains in low-range gearing. If your off-road adventures require lots of ground clearance and knowledge of what a transfer case is, check out the Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Grand Cherokee or Nissan Xterra.
A year after a complete revamp, the big news for the 2014 Pathfinder lineup is the introduction of a hybrid model. Also new is a tech package that bundles goodies such as a Bose premium sound system, navigation and 8-inch touch screen.
Driving Impressions This latest-generation Nissan Pathfinder is more refined than past models. This is due in large part because the old model used a truck-based body-on-frame setup, which made it a capable...off-roader but not the best for highway cruising. The latest Pathfinder feels more stable in everyday driving, and its suspension and stability systems help keep body roll in check through corners. Like the Murano and other Nissan vehicles, the Pathfinder uses a continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT). Such transmissions don't have traditional shift points, but Nissan's setups generally do well in mimicking them, and this particular Xtronic version is nicely matched with the Pathfinder's strong V6 engine. Front-wheel drive is now the standard setup for Pathfinders, with an All-Mode 4x4-i intelligent all-wheel-drive system available that enhances traction and offers a full-lock setting for use on rough terrain.
AROUND VIEW MONITOR
This available feature uses four vehicle-mounted cameras to take the stress out of parking. In addition to displaying a picture of what's in front of and behind the Pathfinder, the cameras create a composite image to give you a virtual bird's-eye view from above.
EZ FLEX LATCH & GLIDE SYSTEM
This Nissan-patented feature allows child safety seats latched to the 2nd-row seats to remain strapped in when they are slid forward to gain access to the 3rd-row seats.
The Nissan Pathfinder seats up to seven passengers across three rows. Legroom is generous in the first and second rows, but the last row will be tight for adults. Seating material is cloth or leather. We're fans of the charcoal coloring of either seating surface that is contrasted by white stitching. Thankfully, Nissan passed on the finicky, all-touch infotainment systems used by others. Here, you can easily tune the radio or turn up the volume with the twist of a dial. The same goes for setting the temperature and fan speed. Other features we like include a hidden storage bin aft of the third row, built-in tie-downs, and flip-out coat hooks.Exterior
No longer the squared-off utility vehicle it used to be, the 2014 Pathfinder is all windswept curves and rounded edges. A large, upward sloping grille and two large headlight housings convey toughness, but for the most part the latest Pathfinder projects a friendly image. Roof racks can add functionality to the Pathfinder, and an available dual-panel moonroof does a great job of opening up the cabin, even for 3rd-row passengers. With just 6.5 inches of ground clearance, today's Pathfinder isn't meant for hard-core off-roading. Hybrid Pathfinder models look largely the same as regular versions, only subtly distinguished by LED taillights and hybrid badging.
The Pathfinder is available in six trims (S/SV/SL/SL Premium/Platinum/Platinum Premium), with each getting its own roster of standard features. Spend the least on a base S model, and you still won't feel like a pauper with features such as 3-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, in-dash 6-disc AM/FM audio, and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Climbing trims brings amenities such as leather seating, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, Bluetooth streaming audio, navigation, and a power liftgate. Top trims bring a 13-speaker Bose premium audio system, the Around View Monitor, 20-inch wheels, and a panoramic moonroof.
Aside from the option of all-wheel drive, most other extras for the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder come as packages, which themselves are limited since many of the trims bundle the features. Among the offerings are a tri-zone entertainment system, a panoramic moonroof, Bose audio, and navigation. A tow hitch receiver is also available for those who plan to haul their toys.
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder uses a V6 engine that has a good balance of power and fuel economy. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds and returns up to 26 mpg. The sole transmission is a CVT automatic. New for 2014 is the first hybrid setup used in a Pathfinder. While it won't attain the 50 mpg of a Prius, the Pathfinder Hybrid is estimated to average 27 mpg, not bad for a 3-row SUV. Instead of a V6, the Pathfinder Hybrid pairs a supercharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. In all, the system generates 250 horsepower and can still tow up to 3,500 pounds. The regular and hybrid Pathfinders come in front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
260 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive), 19/25 mpg (all-wheel drive)
2.5-liter inline-4 + electric motor/generator
250 horsepower (combined)
240 lb-ft of torque (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/27 mpg (estimated)
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that spans from just under $30,000 for a base S model with front-wheel drive to over $44,000 for a loaded, all-wheel-drive Platinum Premium version. The Pathfinder's starting price is similar to those of the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, and Dodge Durango, making this a very competitive segment. If you're looking for an inexpensive way to carry a big family in an SUV, the Dodge Journey and its sub-$20,000 starting price is tempting. The smaller Kia Sorento, meanwhile, starts around $25,000 and also has three rows of seats. To make sure you're getting the best deal, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price before buying. On the resale front, the Nissan Pathfinder is expected to hold its value very well, though not quite match the lofty residuals of the Toyota Highlander.
By Lauren B on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality Materials, Spacious Interior"
Cons: "CVT takes some getting used to"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought the 2014 SL Premium at a really great price. I had a G35 MT that was my baby, but it was no longer practical (and I have a real baby now). I needed a bigger car, and the smaller crossover wasn't roomy enough after installation of a bulky carseat, while the true SUVs were just too much room for us. It needed to be comfy for cruising a few hours for weekend trips to see my sister, but I wanted all the bells and whistles that I was used to on my Infiniti. Admittedly I didn't immediately love the PF...but I kept it for the day and was won over by the upscale interior and features. I'm not in love with the outside, but considering I spend 2+ hours a day driving, exterior looks are secondary. I put some aftermarket wheels on her and it made a huge difference. I look at CUVs as a driving experience of a different kind. If it can't be fun and exciting like my G, it sure as heck better be spacious, useful, and have a very classy, comfortable interior. My toddler is mesmerized by the second row moonroof (and I love it too). The CVT has been an adjustment as you can imagine, but I've had no problems and I've learned how to get as much power out of it as I can. Call it a Mallfinder if you must...but Nissan knew what their target consumer needed - and wanted - when they redesigned this one. If the CVT continues to be reliable, this is a great all-around car."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By illinoisppl on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks nice till you use it"
Cons: "bumpiness, bad interior design, poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My average gas mileage is 18 and that is only if I turn off the 4 x 4 option. With 4x4 on, it is 15 mpg. The trunk is smaller than it looks, I currently cannot use my third row as a result. The interior 'looks' nice but the drivers seat headrest cannot be adjusted and hits me in the head on bumpy roads. I have to set the seat in recline to drive and of course, now I have back issues from the strain. Car rides like a truck and accelerates horribly. I would never buy another Pathfinder again based on this!"
20 people out of 39 found this review helpful
By Amber on Thursday, May 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, smooth drive, gas mileage, roomy"
Cons: "Nervous about all the recalls/manufacturer defects"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I'd been looking for an SUV with a 3rd row for over 6 months that was under $30K and was not having any luck. But after I saw the new design of the Pathfinder, and that a local dealer had a used 2013 in stock I went and test drove it (March 2014). I instantly loved the feel of the drive, and the look of the dash and interior, the gas mileage and most of all price ($28K for the SV model with 25K miles). My husband and I both really wanted a Highlander but could not find an affordable used one. We also considered the Pilot but did not like the boxy look or feel of the interior. So the Pathfinder seemed like a good mix of price and style. However, after I bought it I saw all the negative reviews with multiple recalls and issues with the transmission. Needless to say I had major buyers remorse and seriously considered returning it. But my husband insisted he thought the transmission was fine since it already had 25K miles on it and we did not feel/hear any similar issues with jerking, etc. We also confirmed with the dealer that it had a 100K drivetrain warranty that included the transmission. It's been 2 months since we've owned it. We still love the feel of the seats and roominess of the interior. It's definitely bigger in size to the Highlander. However, there are a few annoyances. The cloth interior is almost like suede, and so it looks kind of dirty all the time. I also noticed on the driver/front passenger door handles some of the cloth is wearing off already. I've wiped it down and it seems to clear it up a little. I also agree with previous reviewers now that the dash computer screen looks a little outdated. Kinda 80'sish with these diagonal lines. However, it drives super smooth, has a good turn radius and looks decent on the exterior (I still prefer the look to the Highlander though). I don't think it'll be a car that I own forever. But based on it being a Nissan, I'm hoping it can last us a good 10 years. I drive approximately 20 miles a day to/from work/daycare and average 21 mpg with about 60-70 of that in town and the rest highway. So I'm very happy with the gas mileage. I also wanted to say that there are companies that pay people to write "fake" reviews. So please make sure you read all of the reviews with that caveat in mind. I can't help but wonder if the true overall rating of the Pathfinder would be lower. I normally would not write a review on something I'm still undecided on. But I wanted to provide a true consumer review, and my opinion on the SUV."
16 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Cat on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,600overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"I expected more out of this vehicle, I bought it in January 2014 and am now in April 2014, my car has had to go to the shop 5 due to passenger side malfunction, cosmetic issues with the bumber, blown out tire, odometer issues and that's a few....every time there is something new going on with this car. I NEVER HAD THIS MANY ISSUES WITH A CAR BEFORE!!!"
18 people out of 30 found this review helpful
By Pathfinderholic on Saturday, April 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,741overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dual sunroof, cooled and heated seats, controls"
Cons: "terrible gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Drove a 2008 Pathfinder love it to death, but after having a growing family decided looking at another model having more updates. My favorite thing on PF is the panoramic sunroof looks more a luxury crossover. handles terrific...drives smooth with a great CVT in its class on a 4WD. I got the SV Platinum package on more features and all of the controls are well perfect for the PF. The navigation system, Pandora/Bose radio, blind spot warning, remote start, 3rd row seating seems better on enough comfort in seat support includes cooled heated leather seats so much luxury has been put into this SUV. Bluetooth is very impressive with a backup camera, steering controls, rides well but doesn't have good gas mileage like other did. I'm getting over 19 mpg especially living in the city its not good at all on horrible fuel economy otherwise luv the SUV. Very quiet on a nice styling the towing capacity is really the greatest on PF tow a Bass Boat its huge too didn't reduce the crossover ride but while having the A/C climate system takes up lots of gas. Interior looks very luxury making have a much higher price to window sticker and its an handsome SUV with exception of bad gas mileage I would recommend it. We got our Pathfinder SV Platinum in January read and heard about transmission issues so far its been flawless overall the SUV and CVT drives very powerful now been driving at 8,000 miles already a really better upgraded SUV."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By AL on Monday, March 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive. Like the Satalite radio and bluetoo"
Cons: "Not enough outlets for electronic stuff."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this veh for nearly a year and have had no problems with it . We have been on about 3 round trips of 700 miles each and enjoy the comfort of the veh. Seats are very comfortable and all instruments are easy to read from drivers seat. We got over-all fuel mileage of 24 MPG and am well satisfied considering the size of the Pathfinder. It has more than enough power for anything you ask of it. The CVT transmission works so smooth. So far the 2013 Pathfinder SL has been an excellent veh."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful