- Pathfinder Hybrid to start at $35,110
- Available in 2- or 4-wheel drive; three trim levels
- Fuel economy rated at 26 mpg combined
Nissan is clearly moving in a cleaner, greener direction with its longstanding SUV, the Pathfinder, first by making it 500 pounds lighter and reducing its engine size for 2013, and now with the roll out of an efficient hybrid model for 2014. The new gas-electric iteration, which debuted at the New York International Auto Show, makes the Pathfinder one of the most fuel-sipping 7-passenger SUVs available.
Official pricing for the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid has been announced, with a starting MSRP of $35,110 (plus $860 destination) for the base SV 2-wheel-drive model. That's $3,000 more than its conventional gas-powered counterpart. The Hybrid will be available in both 2- and 4-wheel drive configurations and in three trim levels. The SL trim begins at $38,050, and the SL Premium starts at $40,700 (plus destination).
The Pathfinder Hybrid is motivated by a supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine -- as opposed to the conventional Pathfinder's 3.5-liter powerplant -- working in tandem with a 15-kW electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. The battery is housed neatly beneath the third-row seat and does not compromise interior passenger room or rear cargo space.
Power is managed by Nissan's Intelligent Dual Clutch System and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Pathfinder Hybrid outputs an impressive 250 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque, comparable to the gas-powered version. However, its towing capacity is much lower at 3,500 pounds (versus 5,000 pounds). The Hybrid is less of a workhorse and more of a people mover.
But in mileage, the hybrid version has the clear advantage. It is 24 percent more efficient than the gas-powered Pathfinder, yielding 25 miles per gallon city/28 mpg hwy and 26 mpg in combined city and highway driving in 2-wheel drive and 25 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined in 4-wheel drive. And it boasts an interstate driving range of almost 550 miles, making it an exceptional long-distance cruiser.
By comparison, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid brings more power and better mileage at 28 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/28 mpg combined, but it also costs $5,000 more. That means, even with the lesser fuel-economy ratings, the Pathfinder Hybrid is still likely to be the more affordable and economic choice, at least for the first three to five years of ownership.
What it means to you: The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid is a sensible vehicle for families desiring both overall practicality and savings at the pump without compromising performance. And at the price, it should be attainable for many.