A new V6 engine in the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder produces 284 horsepower, up from the previous engine’s 260 horsepower. (Manufacturer photo)

A new V6 engine in the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder produces 284 horsepower, up from the previous engine’s 260 horsepower. (Manufacturer photo)

Slick new V6 engine, safety updates boost Nissan Pathfinder

The SUV’s extensive redesign boosts towing capacity and adds driver assistance technology.

Nissan’s Pathfinder was one of the earliest SUVs, back when they were all truck-based and laden with heavy off-road equipment, remember?

Along with most other SUVs from that time, the Pathfinder became a car-based crossover. Its emphasis now is on practicality, functionality, comfort, convenience and transportation for families, and less on off-road performance. Nevertheless, Pathfinder’s current all-wheel drive system is sophisticated and highly capable.

For 2017, Pathfinder’s exterior is extensively redesigned to great effect, and it has a slick new 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering 284 horsepower (a 24-horsepower increase over the previous engine) and 259 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity has been boosted to 6,000 pounds, and assorted new features and driver assistance technologies have been added.

Pathfinder has three rows of seats and is available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels. All models can be had with two-wheel or four-wheel drive, with pricing starting at $30,890 including a $900 destination charge.

My tester was the mother of all 2017 Nissan Pathfinders, the Platinum 4WD with a richly appointed interior encapsulating an impressive number of premium comfort and convenience features usually enjoyed only by those who spend a lot more money than this on a large SUV.

Stowage space is the only area where extravagance isn’t in evidence inside the Pathfinder. But the Pathfinder interior excels in other thoughtful ways, such as having visor extenders, a large odometer reset button located in an obvious place, a generous amount of room for first and second row passengers, and close to zero unwanted noise.

It wouldn’t hurt the infotainment system to be more intuitive. The 8-inch display and its graphics and controls are great, and I managed some of the basic functions without having to spend the rest of my life with the owner’s manual, but this infotainment system rates medium on my loveability scale.

The new V6 engine is a powerhouse. Paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), it’s as smooth and competent as can be. City/highway/combined fuel economy is rated 19/26/21 mpg.

Blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, intelligent cruise control, and forward emergency braking are some of the driver assistance systems that are standard on the Platinum model.

2017 NISSAN PATHFINDER PLATINUM 4WD

Base price, including destination charge: $44,460

Price as driven: $44,685

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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