Review of 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum edition SUV.
CORNWALL, N.Y. — I did my best to stay out of New York City, some 50 miles south of here. It is no place for a large sportutility vehicle, although this one, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum edition, was more amenable than most to the congestion of Manhattan traffic.
I still had to pay an extra $10 to park it in most city garages. My heart says the city’s premium parking fee for SUVs is a scam. But my mind tells me the charge makes sense. Space is a premium commodity in New York City.
The Pathfinder is 16.5 feet long and 6.5 feet wide, about five inches less, in each case, than the truly oversize Lincoln Navigator SUV I drove in these parts a week ago.
Five inches might not seem like much. But the difference is significant, even mentally, in a place where every available inch of road and parking space is subjected to fierce contest. I was grateful to have five inches less.
I was happier with the Pathfinder for another reason. Nowin its fourth generation, it has become more carlike and less of a truck, more of a cross over utility vehicle than a bona fide sport-utility model. The transition makes it more amenable for urban use, though less desirable as a mobile companion off-road and in the rough.
The change constitutes a loss of nothing. Most SUV owners, including those piloting big Lincoln Navigators, Chevrolet Suburbans and Land Rovers, seldom take them off-road anyway. Instead, in places such as New York City and the District of Columbia, these vehicles are most often are employed as limousines.
It makes sense, given that realworld usage, to make them more carlike, a little smaller and less space-greedy, if at all possible. Nissan, I think, is showing us the way to go with its rework of the Pathfinder, which has been on the market since 1985.
The current-generation Pathfinder is a sleeker, less aggressive-looking vehicle than its body-on-frame, truck-based predecessor. It employs a lighter, tighter, more space-and-fuelefficient unit-body frame that makes excellent use of its standard 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine (260 horsepower, 240 pound-feet of torque).
The rework yields a crossover/ SUV of almost reasonable fuel economy— 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway in the all-wheel-drive model driven for this column. An available front-wheel-drive Pathfinder gives you one mile per gallon more in each case. The good news is that, front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the Pathfinder runs quite well on less-expensive regular grade gasoline.
Nissan was a pioneer in the development of gearless continuously variable transmissions. Earlier CVTs made a major contribution to fuel economy. But they were rubbery affairs, aesthetically unappealing in terms of drive feel.
Nissan has done something about that in its rework of the Pathfinder. Using the magic of electronic software, the company has given us a new Path finder CVT that feels much like a traditional six-speed automatic transmission.
Build quality here is excellent. Exterior styling is attractive, sleeker and, happily, it presents less of a visual obstacle to fellow motorists. The interior is welldesigned, ergonomically gifted, everything easy to see and use. Cabin materials and fit and finish are top-notch.
You comfortably can seat up to seven people in the new Pathfinder. Just ask them to pack light. Cargo capacity in this one, 16 cubic feet with all seats up, is about three cubic feet more than what is available in a comparable Toyota Highlander (13.8 cubic feet cargo space with all seats up). But 16 cubic feet effectively gives you about the same cargo space available in a full-size sedan, as opposed to a sport-utility vehicle.
Still, I really like this one . . . and would take it over many of its SUV competitors, especially for urban use.
A pioneer in developing the continuously variable transmission, Nissan has improved it.