First Impressions: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder has been synonymous with family-friendly for years. Does the latest version hold up to its reputation? Has the Pathfinder been able to keep up with the competition? We took it out for a quick drive to test it.

Handling:

Nissan nailed it with the way the Pathfinder rides. While not truck-like, the vehicle feels large enough to remind the driver they are piloting a 16 foot 4,000 lb vehicle. Engineers managed to balance the large feeling with a soft ride that almost feels like you are behind the wheel of a big car. There was not that sense of wallowing some overly softened rides have. The Pathfinder felt stable when cornering and never felt like it was leaning too far even on some roundabouts we purposefully took at a little faster than normal.

Infotainment:

We were not big fans of the whole infotainment/center stack of the Pathfinder. The information was displayed in a blue and yellow that looked dated. The area surrounding the info screen didn’t help to modernize the look. Vents and system controls were not unattractive, but looked like they came from a turn-of-the-century parts bin.

Our biggest complaint with the system was the location of the HVAC controls. They were intuitive and easy enough to use, but their location at the bottom of the stack seemed odd initially, and our initial distaste was justified when we couldn’t easily locate the controls while driving–not a good thing in this age of driver-centric vehicles.

Exterior:

The lines between mid-size and full-size crossovers/SUV’s has been blurred over the past couple of years for anyone who doesn’t closely follow the industry. While it likely fits into the mid-size category, the three-row Pathfinder is a large vehicle. It looks big too. The rear end looks a little unwieldy from the side. The third row/cargo area looks overly large on top of what look like under sized wheels.

The overall look  of the Pathfinder fits with Nissan’s current design aesthetic which means it is an attractive vehicle. Nissan seemed to stretch out some the Murano’s excitement and the Rogue’s classiness though, leaving the Pathfinder looking a bit too much like everyone else’s sedate family hauler.

Seating and Storage:

All three rows of the Pathfinder were comfortable for full grown adults. Even the third row. Two adults could easily and comfortably spend a ride across town all the way in the back. First and second row seating was road trip comfortable. Three adults would be comfortable as long as their third row companions assuming they got along well to start with.

Storage with the third row up was not all that impressive for such a large back end at 16 cubic feet. Lay the third row down, though and cargo capacity grows to an impressively useful 47 cubic feet. Need to hit the big box store or retail club? Leave the kids at home, flatten the second and third row and enjoy 80 cubic feet of cargo space.

One of the more impressive storage features we found was a total of four cupholders and four bottle holders for second row passengers.

2nd row has some of the best drink storage we’ve seen with 4 cupholders and 4 bottle holders.

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To see more pictures and video from this vehicle test and future tests, follow Drive My Family on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Vine (@DriveMyFamily).

all photos courtesy of Nissan
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