2014 Nissan Pathfinder
Over the past few years, automakers have been transforming their old-school truck-based SUVs into kinder, gentler, car-based crossovers. Last year the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder became the latest example of this trend and, by almost all measures, it has emerged the better for it.
Although this seven-passenger Nissan Pathfinder lost some of its predecessors’ off-road and towing capabilities in the transition, the majority of buyers will find Nissan‘s largest crossover SUV infinitely more useful as a result. This latest Nissan Pathfinder gained a spacious new interior with adult-size seating in both the second and third rows, along with superior ride and handling qualities that are better suited for carpool duty and shopping trips to Target.
For power, the current Nissan Pathfinder also uses a 3.5-liter V6 and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives either the front wheels or, on all-wheel-drive models, all four. The CVT helps the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder achieve EPA fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models and 21 combined with all-wheel drive. While those numbers might not sound spectacular on their own, in context they make this Pathfinder among the most fuel-efficient seven-seat crossovers on the road.
If those mpg numbers just aren’t good enough for you, this year marks the introduction of the new Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid model. With a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 15-kilowatt electric motor under the hood and a compact lithium-ion battery pack packaged underneath the third-row seat, the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid offers a significant improvement in fuel economy with no loss of passenger and cargo room. There aren’t many hybrid seven-passenger SUVs on the market, so the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid gives you an alternative to the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is really the only other option in this price range.
Even with the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder‘s strong points, there are a few other midsize-to-large three-row crossovers worth considering. Among the dozen or so entries in this category, we’d recommend looking at the 2014 GMC Acadia if maximum interior room is a priority, while the Mazda CX-9 also offers a bit more room than the Nissan, along with the best ride and handling dynamics of any large crossover SUV. The Dodge Durango and 2014 Ford Flex, meanwhile, are better picks if you’re after superior engine performance and, in the case of the Flex, truly distinctive exterior style. Any of these utility vehicles will work if you need three rows of seating, but with the Nissan Pathfinder‘s strengths in interior design, fuel economy and general ease of use, it’s a solid pick for families.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. A CVT takes the place of a conventional automatic transmission. Both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions are available. The AWD system includes a switch that allows the driver to lock power distribution in a 50/50 front-to-rear ratio, which is useful on dirt roads and in the snow.
The new Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid is powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine mated with a 15-kilowatt electric motor for a total output of 250 hp and 243 lb-ft. A CVT and front-wheel drive are standard, while all-wheel drive is optional. EPA fuel economy numbers have not been released, but Nissan claims the front-drive Hybrid will achieve 25/27/26. With this powertrain, towing capacity drops to 3,500 pounds.
Credits go to: http://www.edmunds.com/nissan/pathfinder/2014/#overview-pod