The Nissan Pathfinder has undergone a few big transitions in its career as a people hauler. It gave up on its truck-based SUV roots to become a more refined crossover utility vehicle, and the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder is a massive three-row ute. It’s a very useful vehicle, with seating for seven. If installing an Android Car Dvd in the car, that would be great!
Today’s Pathfinder offers front-wheel drive as standard, and happily sacrifices some of its previous towing and rough-terrain abilities for family-friendly comfort features that center it squarely in the mid-size utility vehicle segment. The powertrain consists of a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That duo offers a wider range of engine-to-transmission ratios than the earlier Nissan units—and a sturdy chain instead of a belt—providing both strong, smooth acceleration and lower revs when cruising. It’s all in the name of fuel economy, though we note that there’s quite a delay when quick bursts of power are needed for passing. The CVT has Nissan’s “D-Step” logic, which gives it the feel of shifting through a traditional automatic transmission in a series of steps. It removes a lot of the dissonant high-revving behavior of a CVT, while still letting the transmission vary itself in very small increments for maximum fuel economy.
Handling and cornering are more sedan-like than reminiscent of an SUV, and this seven-seater’s heft is never apparent at the wheel. The Pathfinder is lighter than the full-size crossovers from General Motors, including the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, and its hydraulic-electric steering is particularly well tuned for comfortable driving. However many passengers you have, the Pathfinder will give them a pleasant, smooth, refined ride. Nissan spent a lot of time tracking down and muffling road noise and coarseness through the suspension, and it shows, even at highway speeds.
The Pathfinder looks well-proportioned, thanks to crossover curves that hide its enormous bulk and height. It requires standing side-by-side with it to truly appreciate its immensity, and even then, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it ‘rakish,’ even as a tall wagon. It’s otherwise a familiar design, similar to other recent Nissans, featuring a bold, chromed grilled, sculpted fenders, and curves that straddle the family line between today’s Nissan’s and Infinitis.
Inside the Pathfinder there’s some influence from the Infiniti luxury division as well, but the cabin still feels conservative due to a limited selection of just two colors and otherwise unremarkable fabrics and plastic surfaces. The Pathfinder has clearly been designed to prioritize elbow room and comfort for passengers. While it has the cross-section of its competitors, more or less, it’s longer than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, about the length of a Ford Explorer and Mazda CX-9, and shorter than a Chevrolet Traverse. The considerable size gives the Pathfinder not only two usable rows of seating, but a very accessible and useful third row.
The bench seat in the second row slides back and forth, allowing for more legroom if the third row is empty. It also has a complex sliding-and-folding mechanism for access to the back row that lets parents leave their child seats locked in place even while the seat partially collapses–truly a parent-friendly feature. That third row has short, flat, van-like cushions that sit surprisingly low. That’s good for headroom for growing teens, but it’s still marginal for an adult. Nonetheless, that actually makes it roomier than most third rows, which are really kids-only accommodations.
Nissan has carefully crafted its options packages to reflect what families actually order. With the available navigation system, you also get traffic information, Bluetooth streaming audio, and voice recognition. A tri-zone entertainment system is offered that lets you play separate programming for each of the two seven-inch rear screens (Car DVD, gaming input, or photos), all while front-seat occupants can listen to their own programming.