Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pathfinder road trip warrior gets better with age

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Two years removed from reviewing the Nissan Pathfinder, I found much to like in the extensively reworked-for-2017 version of the venerable road trip warrior.

The tested SL 4WD version of the sport-utility vehicle looks more aggressive than its predecessor, with prominent “boomerang-shaped” headlights nicely placed on the restyled front end.  An aerodynamic profile translated to quiet motoring on the highway.

Best of all, the V-6 engine gets a significant power boost for 2017; the 3.5-liter V-6 now puts out 284 horses.  That’s up 24 from the previous generation.

And it shows.  The tester jumped off the line from a standing start and demonstrated significantly more muscle on the freeways than what I remember from a couple years back.

The starting price of $37,390 on the tested Pathfinder included a generous menu of goodies: eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, a heated/leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated exterior mirrors with LED turn signals, a motion-activated liftgate and a most-helpful rear cross traffic alert.

Mine was dressed up with about $3,400 in extras, an SL Premium Package that included a premium Bose audio system with 13 speakers and a dual panorama moonroof.

Worth noting: a top-level, five-star overall federal government safety rating.

Fuel mileage comes in at a so-so 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, the Pathfinder takes me back to younger days when it was regarded as the prototypical vehicle for an extended road trip far from the urban jungle.  The characteristics that implanted those memories in my head remain in the 2017 Pathfinder.

It’s an easy-steering, nimble, generally quiet cruiser, even as it's making its way up steep climbs in the Sierra Nevada.  Yes, you can take it off-road, but for me, the Pathfinder is best enjoyed on a daylong road outing, opting for the scenic rural roads over the get-me-there-now interstates.

Just my romanticized preference, mind you.

If you are likewise inclined to hit the road, take along friends and cargo.  The Pathfinder’s three-row, seven-passenger capacity configuration offers plenty of spread-out room.  If your road trip involves just two of you, the Pathfinder’s back end can be configured to carry plenty of suitcases and supplies.

Overall roominess – passengers and cargo – comes to 173.8 cubic feet. Need to take more stuff?: towing capacity is up to 6,000 pounds.

For me, this is the best Pathfinder yet.  If you’re a road trip junkie, it should be on your test-drive list.

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