2017 Nissan Pathfinder Walk Around

The new front and rear fascia, including the bumpers, are blocky to make the Pathfinder look more like a truck. A bolder chrome grille completes the transition. The lines are otherwise like a car, with a long hood, raked windshield, flowing side creases with chrome touches, and upswept third window. The incongruous shapes somehow blend to make the Pathfinder look smaller than it is. You have to stand up against it to appreciate its enormity.


There’s more incongruity in the cabin, where a glossy dashboard meets semi-matte, soft-touch door panel material. The fabrics are unremarkable and the plastics are hard, smooth and textured; maybe durable and easy to clean, but not exactly lending an upscale feeling, despite some Infiniti influence in other places. For example the new NissanConnect infotainment system with the touchscreen’s pinch and swipe controls, tile icons, and connectivity.

There are only two interior colors, Charcoal and Almond.

The Pathfinder’s size allows for a lot of elbow room, while Nissan does a good job balancing the challenging objectives of comfort, access, space and especially storage. There’s a cupholder in each front door pocket, and two more in the center console along with two big trays; also many bins, map pockets on the backs of the front seats, no less than three bottle holders in each rear door, and cupholders on each side of the third row.

The comfortable front seats have good back support but little side bolstering, while the driver has a lot of adjustment. Our seat time included a long trip on the highway, and we have no complaints. The lack of bolstering doesn’t do a thing for cornering, but the Pathfinder isn’t a vehicle to be tossed around anyhow.

The bench seat in the second row slides back and forth 5.5 inches for legroom, as long as there’s no one in the third row. It slides and folds to gain access to the third row, with a feature that allows child seats to stay in place even while the seat partially collapses, a thoughtful feature moms and dads will love. The child seat system is called Latch and Glide. The kid doesn’t glide with it. The youngest children have to climb out, for the older children to reach the rear.

But the second row is still disappointing, as passengers might find themselves squirming to find comfort, because the rear seat demands a leaned-back, legs-splayed seating position. That seems to be the compromise for the ability to fold far forward for third-row access.

That third row is roomier than most, with short, flat cushions that sit quite low, providing headroom enough for early teens but not fully grown people. It actually rakes back a bit.

With both rows folded, the Pathfinder provides a big 79.8 cubic feet of cargo space, still nothing like the massive 116.3 cubic feet in Chevrolet Traverse, but that’s a full-size SUV. With all the seats up, the Pathfinder has only 16 cubic feet behind the third row, (Traverse has 24.4 cubic feet), so when you go family grocery shopping for a week, leave the kids at home. But you’d do that anyhow.

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