2018 Nissan Pathfinder
2018 Nissan Pathfinder

Test Drive: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder

If you have read other reviews of the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder before landing here, you have no doubt been reminded that the three-row SUV is not what it used to be.

Long gone is the body-on-frame design that gave the Pathfinder a more truck-like feel compared to what it is today.

Some will lament that and yearn for the good old days, but there’s no turning back.

(These kinds of comments are reminiscent of sports journalists who seem to always look back at the glory days of the franchise they are covering as it toils in mediocrity.)

So what are we left with?

Well, the Pathfinder of today is certainly less capable when it comes to going off-road, even with the all-wheel drive system.

But as a daily driver, the 2018 Pathfinder is a far more comfortable and enjoyable ride for passengers.

The Pathfinder was given a slight refresh in 2017 and nothing has really changed for the 2018 model.

There are some new features added, however, including some helpful safety systems.

Automatic Emergency Braking is a standard feature across all trims. And a feature all parents will surely appreciate is the rear door alert system. For those hectic mornings, the system will remind you to check the back seat to make sure you didn’t forget anything important — like your child — before exiting the vehicle.

Pricing for the Pathfinder starts at $32,998 for an S V6 trim, with front-wheel drive, climbing all the way to $48,998 for the Platinum trim tested here (prices before freight and other charges are added).

Last year, Nissan introduced a new engine for the Pathfinder, a direct injection 3.5-litre V6.

It gives the Pathfinder 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, all of which gets moved to the wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

The new engine has a fuel economy rating of 12.1 litres per 100 kilometres in the city, and 8.9 L/100 km on the highway (or 11.0 L/100 km combined).

Last year’s exterior styling enhancements included a new front and rear fascia, a new hood, Nissan’s V-motion grille and LED daytime running lights. There’s also a nice set of 20-inch alloy wheels on the Platinum tester.

A welcome feature is the available motion-activated lift gate on certain Pathfinder trims that allows you to access the cargo area with a kick of your foot.

While the interior was given a bit of a refresh for 2017, it still feels a bit dated when compared with some of its competitors.

That is likely to change with a rumoured redesign coming for the 2019 model year, but time will tell.

And no matter where you are in the three-row, seven-seater, you should be comfortable thanks to the tri-zone automatic temperature control system.

Seating comfort in the third row could be a bit of an issue, however, as it is a tight fit. However, Nissan has made getting back there a little easier at least thanks to what it calls the Latch and Glide system. It means that even if there was a child seat strapped securely into the middle-row seats, it will fold and move forward enough to allow passengers to get into the back row without being a Cirque du Soleil acrobat.

Keeping those passengers happy on road trips is the Platinum trim’s dual headrest mounted 8-inch screens for the built-in DVD entertainment system. Wireless headphones mean whatever they are watching back there won’t be distraction.

But for the enjoyment of all, there is a Bose premium audio system with 13 speakers to fill the cabin with sweet tunes.

The infotainment system features an 8-inch screen atop the centre stack to display a variety of controls and information, including navigation instructions from the NissanConnect system.

The Platinum trim also comes with intelligent around view monitor with moving object detection for extra safety.

On the road, the Pathfinder does suffer from a bit of road noise intrusion, but the overall drive is not unpleasant.

It has good power from the engine and the CVT handles it all well. Steering response was firm and the overall ride was smooth thanks to the suspension setup.

While this Pathfinder may not be able to take some of the abuse of the older generations, it certainly will appeal to a wider audience, and that is what Nissan was probably going for.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD
Price as tested: $50,908.00
Freight: $1,795.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.5-litre V6/ Continuously Variable Transmission
Power/torque: 284 horsepower/ 259 ft-lb of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (73 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.0 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander

Related links:
Nissan Canada

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