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2013 Nissan Pathfinder: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions November 2015

The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder has been reinvented as a car-based SUV, lighter and more fuel-efficient than the truck-based model sold through the 2012 model year. It now competes with mainstream 7-passenger top-sellers, such as the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander and shares its architecture with the Infiniti JX35 (renamed to the QX60). A third-row seat is now standard. The elimination of the truck frame lowers the step-in height, easing passenger ingress and egress. A new EZ Flex Seating System, featuring Nissan's LATCH AND GLIDE technology, allows for child safety seats latched to second-row seats to stay strapped in when moving the seat forward to access the third row. Also new is an Around View Monitor that displays a 360-degree overhead view of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings. Tow capacity is now 5,000 pounds.

New for 2014 is a hybrid model. The Pathfinder Hybrid uses a supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery. Combined system output is 250 horsepower. It's available in SV, SL and Platinum trims.

Standard safety gear on all Pathfinders includes dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, roof-mounted overhead airbags for all three rows of seats, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control.

What We Like

Roomy interior; sliding second-row seats; good fuel economy; 360-degree Around View Monitor; Easy-Fill Tire Alert; standard hill-start assist feature

What We Don't

Continuously variable transmission (CVT) causes engine drone under acceleration; less towing capacity than previous model; inconsistent steering feel; Bluetooth isn't standard

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Pathfinder is available with a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The Pathfinder is equipped with a 3.5-liter, double-overhead-camshaft 24-valve V6. Output is 260 hp, and it develops 240 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded gas. Front-wheel-drive models have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while all-wheel-drive models receive an EPA estimate of 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. All gas-powered 2014 Pathfinder models use a CVT automatic.

The Pathfinder Hybrid uses a supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, electric motor and lithium-ion battery. Total system output is 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates are 25 mpg city/28 mpg hwy with front-wheel drive and 25 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 Pathfinder is available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trims.

The Pathfinder S comes standard with push-button starting, remote keyless entry, cloth seats, triple-zone automatic climate control with front-seat and rear-seat controls, cruise control, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, a 60/40-split folding second-row seat, a 50/50-split folding third-row seat, variable intermittent wipers, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, 18-inch alloy wheels, stability and traction control, anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The SV gains a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver's seat, automatic headlamps and a rearview camera with a 7-in display screen and is available with a rear-seat entertainment system.

The Pathfinder SL features standard leather seats (on all three rows), heated first- and second-row seats, driver's-seat memory, a power front-passenger seat, fog lamps, a power lift gate, power-folding heated side mirrors, a HomeLink garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a compass.

The range-topping Platinum adds standard navigation with an 8-in screen, a heated power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a 13-speaker Bose premium audio system with DVD audio, the 360-degree Around View Monitor, ventilated front seats, an integrated trailer hitch and 20-in alloy wheels.

Available options on upper trims include remote starting, a dual-pane panoramic moonroof, Bluetooth phone connectivity and SiriusXM radio. For 2014, a new SL Tech package adds 13-speaker Bose stereo, 8-in touchscreen, navigation with SiriusXM weather and traffic, voice recognition and Bluetooth streaming.

Pricing

The Pathfinder is Nissan's second-best-selling SUV and continues to gain popularity with growing families on the go. Expect to pay slightly more for all-wheel-drive models than those with just front-wheel drive.

For a better idea of the 2014 Pathfinder's price range, check out KBB.com, then search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2014 Pathfinder:

Defective front-passenger seat sensing may deactivate or suppress the deployment of the front-passenger airbag when the seat is occupied, increasing injury risk in a crash.

A front brake caliper may separate from the wheel, affecting braking and steering and increasing the risk of a crash.

An incorrectly installed hood release cable may allow the latch to release while the SUV is moving, allowing the hood to open and block forward vision, creating a crash risk.

Incorrect anti-lock brake software may cause increased stopping distances during light braking on rough roads, creating a crash risk.

Undertightened lugnuts may allow a wheel to detach, creating a crash risk.

Incorrect software may cause the front-passenger airbag to deactivate, increasing injury risk in a crash.

On Pathfinders with Almond interiors, the front passenger airbag seam may have been cut improperly, preventing the airbag from deploying fully and increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car for free.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

From the NHTSA, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SUV received a 5-star rating overall, with a 4-star rating for frontal impacts, a 5-star rating for side impacts and a 4-star rating for rollover performance.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2014 Pathfinder Good ratings for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, head-restraint and seat crash performance. It did not test the Pathfinder for roof strength.

Nissan covered the 2014 Pathfinder with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Nissan certified pre-owned (CPO) cars can't have more than 80,000 miles on the odometer and must be 6 years old or less. Every CPO Pathfinder undergoes a 150-point inspection and gets a Carfax report. The Nissan CPO warranty extends the original powertrain warranty to 7 years/100,000 miles and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. Additional warranty coverage covering all major systems is available at extra cost.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Ford Explorer -- The car-based SUV continues with a 240-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 and a Sport model with a spirited 365-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. Towing capacity remains at 5,000 pounds. Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the 7-passenger Explorer are available. The MyFord Touch infotainment system on these models can be buggy and has required many service updates.

2014 Toyota Highlander -- Toyota's largest crossover is roomier for 2014, with fresh styling, a sportier ride and room for up to eight passengers. Continued are a fuel-saving 187-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder base model and a gas-electric hybrid version. Most buyers will opt for the peppy 3.5-liter V6 that packs 270 hp.

Autotrader's Advice

The Pathfinder offers the ride comfort of a sedan, the roominess of a minivan and the versatility of an SUV. A comprehensive standard equipment list also makes the Pathfinder a good value. Note that its XTRONIC CVT operates differently than those in most SUVs, and it takes time to get used to the droning engine sound. The fuel economy benefits of a CVT are real, however, and the ability of the transmission to tailor ratios without delay for ever-changing driving conditions can't be topped. The fuel economy benefits of a Pathfinder Hybrid are not sufficient to warrant the extra initial cost and potential higher service and repair costs after the warranty has expired. We'd opt for a Pathfinder SV or a higher trim to get the power driver's seat, rearview camera and leather steering wheel. Look for a Nissan CPO Pathfinder that's been checked out, but always choose a vehicle that's seen obvious care and maintenance and has had any applicable safety recalls performed.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Nissan Pathfinder: Used Car Review - Autotrader