Lary Coppola is my kinda guy. He has been an e-pal and confidant since the late 80s. Has been a publisher, writer, mayor, and is now Executive Director of a regional port district. Lary is also car nut, and a professional auto reviewer, and I’ve asked him to share some of his reviews in this e-magazine, as well as his insights in other areas of life. Most importantly to me, Lary Coppola is a nice guy. He loves his family, friends, and his country. Lary was one of the first guest contributors I invited to share his secrets from the inside – be it politics, business, or cars!
Nissan Pathfinder — Well-Refreshed
By Lary Coppola
Model Tested: Nissan Pathfinder Platinum AWD
Engine: 3.5-Liter V6 — 284 Horsepower; 259 Lb. Ft. of Torque
Transmission: XTRONIC Continually Variable Automatic Transmission (CVT)
EPA Ratings: 19/City 26/Highway 21/Combined
Base Price: $43,560
As Tested: $44,685
Overview: The mid-sized Nissan Pathfinder crossover SUV was redesigned for 2014, but refreshed for 2017 and 2018. It boasts an improved power plant, firmer suspension, plus new infotainment and active safety options. While it drives more like a car than a truck, in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive versions., it can handle sensible offroading, plus tow 6000 pounds thanks to the new engine and chassis reinforcements.
Walkaround: The new front and rear fascia, including bumpers, are designed to make the Pathfinder appear more truck-like. A new chrome grille supports that goal. Otherwise, lines are car-like — long hood, raked windshield, and chrome touches.
Interior: This is obviously a family vehicle. Our test drivers had leather seating with plastic surfaces hard, smooth and textured — durable and easy to clean. The new Nissan Connect infotainment system with the touch screen’s pinch and swipe controls and tile icons are obviously Infiniti-influenced.
The Pathfinder’s size means lots of interior room. Nissan balances comfort, access, space, and storage well. There’s cupholders galore, bins, map pockets, bottle holders in each rear door, and cup holders on each side of the third row — which is roomier and easier to access than most. The comfortable front seats offer good support, with lots of adjustments. Our seat time included road trips to Blaine, and from Atlanta to Gulf Shores, Alabama. No complaints about comfort or quietness.
With all the seats up, the Pathfinder has 16 cubic feet behind the third row, and 79.8 cubic feet with them folded.
Behind The Wheel: According to Nissan, 57 percent of the parts in the 3.5-liter V6 is new — including direct injection replacing port injection, electronic variable valve timing, and a new air intake system. The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is unchanged, and Nissan’s D-Step shift logic mimics an automatic’s distinct shifts — but it’s sometimes slow to respond. Although the suspension has been stiffened, the ride is comfortable, and handling is more controlled, making it easy to forget the Pathfinder is a big SUV.
Bottom Line: Substantial changes, starting with the new V6, make the Pathfinder worth a new look. The interior gets high marks for function, and if you need seven seats, this is the one.