The Pathfinder has been running since 1985 as a rugged 2-door pickup back then. But it has adapted well with time. So, is there a best year Nissan Pathfinder?

The modern Pathfinder, however, falls in the large crossover category. It offers seating for seven people, comes with many tech features, and is an excellent vehicle for large families. It also provides a lot of flexibility whether you need to haul people or haul cargo.

2017 is the best year Nissan Pathfinder as this model received an improved engine that is more powerful and fuel-efficient than the previous models. It is equipped with many modern safety and comfort features, making it an excellent crossover for families with up to seven members.

Previously, the Pathfinder was more of an off-roading SUV, but with the changing market trends, it has become a family-oriented crossover. The vehicle retains a solid spot among other famous names like the Honda Pilot and Chevy Traverse and poses tough competition to these vehicles.

Our car experts believe that the 2017 Pathfinder is a fun-to-drive vehicle with adequate power. It does not feel underpowered and handles more like a sedan than a bulky crossover. It is an excellent choice for families shopping for a comfortable and technology-equipped crossover.

Best Year Nissan Pathfinder

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder

2017 was when the Nissan Pathfinder received its first refresh since the 2014 redesign. The seven-seat crossover features an improved engine from its predecessors and wears a more aggressive look with improved safety features.

The best year Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trims, S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Each of these variants is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Design Features

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder wears a more truck-like look with a confident stance. However, it is constructed using the unibody design, making it much more comfortable and smoother than the body-on-frame design.

The front features a large grille with a thick silver border covering three sides. Outboard from the grill are stylishly cut headlights. The bumper gives the car added muscular look—the front fascia blends well with the car-like, long hood and steep windshield. Although the vehicle is large, its design cues make it appear smaller.

The sides feature a sweeping beltline that sweeps up dramatically at the third window. We love how the accents start at the front grille, run over the long hood, and down at the end of the fenders to form the window line. Similarly, the creasing of the front wheel wells continues to flow over the sides and gives the vehicle a uniform look. The Pathfinder blends SUV themes with car design cues quite brilliantly.

Step inside, and you will find the Pathfinder more functional than being overcrowded. The material used is smooth, nicely textured, durable, and indeed easy to clean. But there is something about the glossy finish of the dashboard being paired with matte finished door panels that triggers our OCD senses. There are two colors available for the interior, the almond, and the darker charcoal.

The dashboard wears a design similar to one found on the larger Armada. The audio system sits between two large vents and above all sorts of buttons and controls. The center vents are rectangular, but the outboard vents are pretty round, almost perfect circles.

Overall, the interior feels quite sporty and soothing. It is not what you would expect on a luxury sedan, but it is an excellent place to be in.

Performance Features

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine that comes standard across all trim levels. The engine is equipped with advanced technologies like variable valve timing and direct injection. It produces 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet torque.

Like most previous models, the engine is coupled with a CVT equipped with Nissan's signature D-Step Logic. This technology makes the CVT feel like a traditional automatic transmission allowing shifting between steps. It gets rid of the harsh high-revving, a common issue on CVTs, making the shifting smooth and quick. At the same time, Pathfinder benefits from the lower fuel economy thanks to the CVT technology.

The powertrain delivers powerful and smooth accelerations, which are more than enough for your family's needs. However, you might feel a slight lag in the CVT when the vehicle requires sudden acceleration, such as passing on the highway. The Pathfinder comes in front-wheel or all-wheel drive and can hit sixty mph in just 7.6 seconds from a stop.

Ever since the launch of Pathfinder, it has exhibited excellent handling capabilities. For 2017, the suspension is enhanced to provide better handling. Nearly all suspension components have become stiffer, leading to firmer ride quality.

But with the improvements to the suspension, the Pathfinder handles more like a sedan than a larger crossover. It is easy to forget the size of this vehicle, thanks to its maneuverability and responsiveness. The body roll is well controlled, but it does deliver a lot of road-feel to the cabin, disturbing some families.

The steering is well-balanced and makes the vehicle feel responsive to driver input. You will not sense a loss of control even when running on choppy roads. However, it is essential to remember that this is a family crossover and not a rally car and remain careful with too much aggression while maneuvering.

Nissan has worked well to remove a lot of vibrations and noise from the cabin. Running on rough patches and high speeds is much quieter than most rivals. Some critics have issues with the standard CVT and engine noise in the cabin, but it is easily tolerable.

The powertrain sends most power to the front wheels on all-wheel drives and powers the rear wheels only when required, helping the vehicle achieve better fuel efficiency. There is, however, an option to lock the center differential, making the vehicle an equally balanced all-wheel drive.

Even with less ground clearance than many rivals, the Pathfinder confidently takes on rough surfaces. With the locking option on the center differential, the crossover ensures traction during light off-roading.

Comfort Features

The best year Nissan Pathfinder is a spacious and flexible crossover that offers comfortable seating for seven passengers distributed among three rows.

The front seats feel comfortable, spacious, and offer excellent support. The driver seat allows a lot of adjustment, letting you explore and find the position that suits you best. The seats remain comfortable throughout long trips and do not require you to make frequent stops to stretch your legs. As long as you are not tossing the vehicle around twisty roads, the seats will remain okay.

The second-row seats are not exactly our favorite. They are considerably flat, offer less support, and are low above the floor. This requires the rear seat occupants to keep their legs slightly bent, which is not an issue on short trips but can cause fatigue on longer journeys. There is ample headroom and legroom, but due to the low positioning, larger adults may have a little difficulty spending time in these seats.

An impressive feature of the second-row seats is their large room for sliding front and back. The railing permits the seats to slide up to 5.5 inches, allowing for easier entry, exit, and better legroom for the third-row seat.

The third-row seat is also situated low above the floor, and like on most vehicles in this class, is best suited for children or small adults. The seatback tilts back, allowing the occupants to take short naps on long journeys.

Behind the third row, there are 16 cubic feet of space for cargo. This space can be increased to 47.8 cubes with the third-row seat folded and up to 79.8 cubic feet with both second and third-row seats folded away.

There are several small storage compartments around the cabin. Map pockets are located behind both front seats, large trays mounted into the center console, and various other storage bins. The rear door panel features three bottle holders, and there are cup holders on both sides of the third row, two in the rear doors, and two in the center console.  

Safety Features

There are many standard and advanced safety features on the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. These features include:

  • Six airbags, including frontal, side, and overhead airbags, ensure that the occupants remain safe during crashes.
  • Antilock brakes help the Pathfinder maintain traction during hard braking and prevent the wheels from locking up.
  • Traction control senses if any wheel is losing traction and can correct the engine power to ensure that all wheels maintain traction with the ground.
  • Electronic Stability Control ensures that the vehicle does not exceed its handling limits.
  • Daytime running lights make the vehicle more visible from a distance.
  • Rearview camera and rear parking sensors help with parking and backing up.
  • An exciting feature is Tire Fill Alert. This system honks the horn when the tire pressure reaches the correct level while filling up.

There are additional safety features that are found on higher trims. These include:

  • Blind-spot monitors alert the driver of vehicles on either side when changing lanes.
  • Rear traffic crossing alert helps backing out of box parking spots by keeping watch on any oncoming traffic.
  • The Nissan Around View Monitor is available on SL and above trims. This system gives the driver a 360-degree view of the vehicle.
  • Frontal collision warning with emergency braking is available on the Platinum trim.

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) rates the 2017 Pathfinder as five-star for overall safety. The vehicle achieves four stars for frontal crash rollovers and five stars for side crashes.

The IIHS awards the 2017 Pathfinder with top "Good" scores for most crashworthiness tests. The crossover gets the second-best "Acceptable" score for the small overlap test for the passenger side. With a "Superior" collision prevention system, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder earns the Top Safety Pick award.

Trim Features

The best year Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trims, S, SV, SL, and Platinum. All trims are available as front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Even the basic version of the Pathfinder comes with ample features, and higher trims add on significantly.

The base variant, S, is equipped with:

  • Three-zone automatic climate control
  • Four-way adjustable front passenger seat
  • Six-way adjustable driver seat
  • Eight-inch touchscreen audio system with six speakers with satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM Travel Link, and USB support
  • Cruise control
  • Four-inch screen in the gauge cluster to display vehicle-related information
  • Keyless entry
  • Power mirrors, windows, and door locks
  • Roof rails
  • Cloth upholstery

The SV trim adds on to the S trim with:

  • Remote ignition
  • 8-way power-adjustable driver seat
  • Leather-wrapped shift lever and steering wheel
  • Auto-off headlights
  • Automatic speed-sensing wipers
  • Rear parking assist

Many optional packages were offered for the SV trim; these included a Tow Package, which adds a tow hitch receiver and additional wiring. The technology package offers Blind-spot monitors, rear traffic cross alert, and navigation with live traffic updates.

Move up to the SL trim, and luxury features start to appear. These include:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Heated front, second-row seats, and steering wheel
  • Surround-view system with blind-spot monitors and rear traffic cross alert as standard
  • The motion-sensing power tailgate with memory stopping position is our favorite. This feature saves the tailgate from bruises when parked under the low ceiling.

The top-of-the-line Platinum goes all out with the following features:

  • Ventilated front seats
  • Panoramic moonroof
  • Infotainment system with navigation and Bose audio
  • Woodgrain interior
  • Forward collision warning system with emergency braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • LED Headlights
  • Eight-inch LED screens mounted on the headrests for rear passengers with USB and HDMI support

Fuel Economy Features

The 2017 Pathfinder' 3.5-liter V6 is equipped with advanced technologies that make it more fuel-efficient than its predecessors.

The EPA ratings for the front-wheel-drive Pathfinder are 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on highways, and 23 mpg for combined driving. With all-wheel-drive, the numbers drop to 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Price Range of 2017 Nissan Pathfinder

The prices of the 2017 Pathfinder start at $21,000 and go up to $36,000. The average price of this vehicle is around $28,500. Location, trim levels, optional packages, vehicle condition, and mileage can cause a variation in these prices.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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