By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
Three years after its metamorphosis from a rugged, truck-based SUV to a more efficient, smoother-riding sedan-based crossover SUV, the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder remains a smart choice among 3-row family haulers. Nissan's midsize crossover SUV offers nifty features like the Around View bird's-eye monitor and one of the easiest 3rd-row-access systems available, but unlike the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Chevy Traverse, the Pathfinder seats only seven rather than up to eight like its rivals. That limitation aside, the Pathfinder stacks up well thanks to its powerful-yet-efficient V6 engine, roomy interior and refined driving manners. While it is no longer a serious off-roader, all-wheel drive is available for better traction in foul weather, and towing capacity is a respectable 5,000 pounds.
If you're looking for a 7-passenger SUV with car-like driving manners, good fuel economy and easy access to the third row, the Nissan Pathfinder is a strong contender.
If you need to seat more than seven, look to a Highlander, Pilot or a full-size SUV like the Chevy Tahoe. Those wanting a more rugged off-roader would be better off in a Toyota 4Runner (Nissan's own Xterra has ended its run).
KBB Expert Ratings
The Pathfinder receives only minimal revisions for 2016. They include a Cold Package that's now available for SV trims and a standard heated steering wheel in SL grades.
If refinement and car-like handling are more important than the ability to crawl down craters, the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder deserves a spot at the top of your shopping list. Thanks...
... to its unit body, the 7-passenger Pathfinder can accommodate a modern suspension that returns a stable, smooth ride and compliant road manners. Body roll is minimal even under hard cornering, and the nicely weighted steering feels responsive and on-center. Last year's revamp of the Pathfinder's continuously variable transmission (CVT) made it feel more natural, and Nissan's 260-horsepower V6 continues to be a strong performer. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the standard setup for the Pathfinder, while an All-Mode 4x4-i intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional on all trims. The system enhances traction and offers a full-lock setting for use on rough or slippery terrain.
AROUND VIEW MONITOR
Nissan’s clever Around View monitor places four cameras at various positions outside the Pathfinder to create a bird’s-eye 360-degree image. The cameras also show individual images of what is ahead and behind the Pathfinder. It's a real help when maneuvering in tight spaces.
EZ FLEX LATCH & GLIDE SYSTEM
Another innovative Nissan feature, the EZ Flex & Glide System found on the 2016 Pathfinder SUV allows a child seat latched in the second row to remain attached when the seats are slid forward, typically to allow access to the 3rd-row seat.
All versions of the Nissan Pathfinder can seat up to seven passengers across three rows. Legroom is generous in the first two rows, but the last row is tight for adults. We like the charcoal coloring of the seating surfaces, 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 adjust the volume by twisting 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.
No longer the squared-off utility vehicle it used to be, the latest-gen 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 rails add functionality to the Pathfinder, and the optional dual-panel moonroof does a great job of opening up the cabin, even for 3rd-row passengers. With just seven inches of ground clearance, today's Pathfinder isn't meant for hard-core off-roading.
The Pathfinder is available in four main trims: S, SV, SL and Platinum. The least expensive 2016 Pathfinder S model comes with tri-zone climate control, push-button ignition, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and an AM/FM/6-CD audio system. Missing in action is Bluetooth wireless connectivity. We recommend stepping up to at least an SV, as its extra features justify its roughly $3,000 premium. They include Bluetooth, a rearview monitor, rear sonar parking assistance, power-adjustable driver's seat and upgraded audio system with USB input, satellite radio and more.
Stepping up to the SL trim brings a power liftgate, leather seating, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front passenger seat, blind-spot monitoring and a convenient 120-volt AC power outlet in the second row. Top-line Platinum models come with navigation system, panoramic moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, the Around View monitor, Bose premium audio system, 20-inch wheels and power-adjustable steering wheel. All-wheel drive is available on all trims, while packages and options such as a rear-seat entertainment system vary by trim level. One particularly interesting accessory is a hatch tent that makes the Pathfinder campsite-ready.
The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder SUV 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 27 mpg. The sole transmission is a continuously variable automatic, which thanks to an enhancement last year to Nissan's D-Step Shift Logic feels more like a traditional automatic with stepped gears. All Pathfinders come in front-wheel drive (FWD), and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional for those desiring the extra traction it provides. Unlike many luxury SUVs, the Pathfinder happily runs on regular unleaded.
260 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)
The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder crossover SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $30,680 for a base S version. Again, we recommend stepping up at least a trim to a better equipped model like the SV, which starts at $34,000 on the nose. Go full boat on a loaded, all-wheel-drive Pathfinder Platinum and you can top $45,000. These prices are in line with the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. The Pathfinder's starting price undercuts that of the Ford Explorer but is higher than the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. As a smart shopper, you know to first check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Nissan. The Pathfinder's residual value is expected to hold up well but not quite match that of a Toyota Highlander.