Review: 2015 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4×4

The Nissan Pathfinder is the largest of Nissan SUV’s until the Armada makes its debut later this year. The Pathfinder serves the large SUV role well with a vast interior and a third row that is actually worth mentioning.

All Pathfinder trim levels feature a capable 3.5-liter 6-cylinder which sends 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels with an optional four-wheel drive. Our test vehicle was a four wheel drive model equipped with Nissan’s class exclusive intuitive ALL-MODE 4×4-i system.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The ALL-MODE system allows the driver to select an automatic mode which keeps the vehicle operating in front-wheel drive while monitoring road conditions. When necessary, the system adjusts to four-wheel drive and sends power to front or rear wheels as needed to maximize traction. A Lock mode is selectable for full-time four-wheel drive. The idea is to maximize fuel efficiency. We stayed in automatic mode and averaged fuel economy in the low to mid 20’s which we found acceptable for a four-wheel drive in a chunky 4,400lb SUV with a six-cylinder.

The exterior of the Pathfinder looks every bit the three-row SUV with large swaths of sheet metal and plenty of glass. While it was in keeping with the overall aesthetic of Nissan for the past few years, we found the look of the Pathfinder to be a bit bland. The profile view looks a bit unwieldy as the plain slab sides make the 18” wheels look a bit lacking. We are really hoping Nissan gives the Pathfinder a refresh over the next model year or two favoring the sleek, modern treatment the rest of the line has.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The bland of the outside managed to sneak its way in to the interior. The design is dated and yawn-inducing. All the bells and whistles you would expect in a full size SUV are in the Pathfinder but controls are oddly placed, cheap feeling, and looked due for an update a couple of years ago. The 7” infotainment screen looks small for the dash it is in and the yellow and blue color scheme looks like it came from another decade.

The run-of-the-mill stops when you get to the seats which are plenty comfortable and provide all the legroom, hip room, and headroom you would expect from a large SUV. The second row is great for two adults and ok for three. The third row is easily accessible and comfortably seats two adults on a reasonable cross town trip. Two kids would easily fit and likely be comfortable for a road trip.

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

The Pathfinder drives exactly like you would expect a large SUV with hardly any of its original truck DNA left would drive. It was responsive and smooth without any wallowing or uneasiness in turns or curves. Highway driving was a pleasant if unexciting experience. We did take the opportunity at a couple of roundabouts to circle them at a speed slightly higher than the transportation experts posted. The experience was confidence inspiring as there was no unsteadiness or top heavy feeling.

The Bottom Line

When someone asks how you are and you truthfully answer “fine,” as in unremarkably not great and not terrible, you could be describing the Nissan Pathfinder. It’s not great and it’s not terrible. Purchase one and you’ll likely be satisfied. That is until the model year it gets the refresh treatment the Murano recently got. Then you’ll be wistful.


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