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DETROIT — The Nissan Pathfinder underwent a major redesign for the model year.

A new hood and new bumpers fore and aft were part of the restyle. The headlights were new and given the boomerang shape that is now a brand signature. And the Pathfinder was given the V-Motion grille. There were daytime running lights and LED headlights are available but our test vehicle didn’t have them.

The Pathfinder has been sold here since 1987 and this is the fifth generation of the sport utility. Power was increased; so was towing capacity.

Under the hoods was a 3.5-liter V6 that made 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to a continuously variable transmission and could tow up 6,000 lbs. The EPA fuel rating was 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined.

There was plenty of power on the expressways here. The CVT was fairly quiet under normal driving condition and soundproofing kept the noise from aggressive acceleration at a minimum. Engineers were able to program the transmission to feign shifts. It didn’t do badly.

Although the 2017 Pathfinder was a three-row sport utility, it drove smaller. Cornering was good and sights lines were fairly unobstructed. However, the sideview mirror housing did create a bit of a blind spot where the A-pillar met the side glass but it was minor.

The interior of our test vehicle was black cloth. The only thing not black in the interior, other than the white numerals on the black faced instruments, was the white stop start button. The doors were push button lock and unlock too. That means there was a smart key.

They used chrome and silver satin to trim the instruments and it was subdued. Although new, this Pathfinder had an old style center stack. The infotainment screen was at the top of the dash followed by the vehicle controls. Then there were the audio controls and the climate controls followed. Beneath the center stack was an area that held a small storage tray as well as two 12V plugs.

The styling of the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder may be new but the architecture has been around a while. We were surprised that the vehicle was equipped with a six-disc CD changer.

CD players in general are rapidly becoming obsolete. The auto industry with its years-long product development time can get caught behind the technology curve. In other words, CD players are headed the way of cassette tape players of the past and tape decks before that. Still, it was a nice change.

However, keeping up with the times the Pathfinder had two USB plugs in the center console.

Anyway, the odometer and the speedometer were large and easy to see. A TFT screen separated them and the readout said that we had driven almost 200 miles, had averaged 20.7 mpg and 25 mph. We still had a half tank of gas left when the test drive was over.

The interior was spacious. The seats were comfortable. Although the Pathfinder had the room of a full size sport utility it did not have the heft. The vehicle felt relatively light.

There was plenty of room in the second row which was a bench seat. We didn’t try the third row but it looked like it could handle a couple of normal sized adults and certainly two or three kids depending on their size.

There was a host of creature comforts: blind spot alert, a backup camera with cross traffic alert, voice controls, satellite radio, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated sideview mirrors, Bluetooth for hands free phone use, satellite radio and a navigation system were among the features.

A couple of surprises were rear sonar and tri zone automatic temperature controls. There was tire pressure monitoring and Nissan Connect. For $37,045, the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder didn’t seem like a bad deal to us.

Frank S. Washington is editor of

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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1 Comment

  1. The Pathfinder does NOT have a 6 disc CD changer, it’s a single CD slot. I should know, since I have a ’17 Platinum. Some people still use CDs.

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