Purists may lament all they want that the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder is no longer a real truck like it was in the good old days, but the Japanese manufacturer's top brass knew better.
Fully redesigned in 2012 for the 2013 model year, the Pathfinder basically followed in the footsteps of the Ford Explorer, another SUV that dropped its traditional body-on-frame construction in favour of a unibody architecture years ago. Sales of the big Nissan have been red hot since.
Pathfinder styling is timid
At first glance, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder plays it safe. Designers used much more restraint and weren't nearly as bold as when they penned the all-new Murano or even the JUKE. Since history tells us that mainstream designs sell more, can we really blame them? I guess not.
Still, some cosmetic changes may be coming to the front end soon, hopefully inspired by the smaller Rogue, which I find better executed. The rear section of the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder is more likely to get universal approval. Also, don't miss the 20” alloys (exclusive to the Platinum V6 model) that properly fill the wheel arches unlike the 18s found on lower trim levels.
Is it a minivan? Almost…
Similar to many large crossovers, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder must not only be rugged on the outside but also versatile on the inside. As a three-row people mover, it effectively replaces the Quest minivan.
Of course, Nissan is quick to point out its innovative EZ Flex system with Latch and Glide technology: The second-row seats tilt and slide up to 5” to provide easier access to the rear seats. Passenger room in the middle row matches the segment average, but as you've probably guessed, things are a bit tighter in the back.
Up front, both the driver and the person riding shotgun in the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder enjoy a long list of amenities, particularly in Platinum trim. From heated/cooled seats to tri-zone entertainment to a host of advanced safety systems -- not to mention four 12V DC power outlets and one 120V AC outlet -- this upscale crossover has everything you need, and then some.
Finding a good driving position is easy thanks to a power tilt/telescopic steering column and 8-way power adjustable seat with lumbar support. Lateral visibility is never a concern. In fact, with the Around View Monitor, all parking manoeuvres become child's play -- so to speak.
Venerable and trusty V6
While Nissan offers a hybrid version (the only one in its class along with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid), the regular Pathfinder is what most buyers care about.
Unsurprisingly, the long-time proven, widely used 3.5L VQ-Series V6 returns under the hood, mated exclusively to the company's Xtronic CVT. Producing 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, this mill is no powerhouse, and certainly not the most technologically advanced on the market, but it's a dependable unit that should continue to bring confidence and peace of mind to drivers.
What is it like on the road?
OK, now, you're probably wondering about the drive, so let me tell you that the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder V6 is much more balanced, dynamic, and behaviourally sound than the Quest. Given its size, body roll is present, but you have to remember that this family-oriented crossover aims to provide comfortable mobility at the expense of lateral Gs in tight corners.
Acceleration is pretty decent, albeit loud as the V6 likes to send a message when you push it. Likewise, braking is commendable for a vehicle of this size and weight. Naturally, CVT critics will keep harping on about the drone-y, shiftless sprints, but in actuality, most people won't mind at all. Besides, once at highway speeds the Pathfinder becomes a lot quieter. This is where it also achieves good mileage (approx. 10L/100km on my watch).
Summing up the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder
Changing a vehicle as drastically as Nissan did with the previous-generation Pathfinder can often prove difficult and risky. While fans of the old truck lost a dear friend, today's burgeoning families looking for a beefier, more rugged alternative to a minivan have one more name to add to their shopping list with the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder.