Nissan Pathfinder 2018: A Modern Crossover With All Box Checked

By Victor Ojelabi

What inspired the name Pathfinder is the dream to make a car that can take you anyway, to offer Nissan’s customers that one road master that can switch up from commuting you from office to taking the family on mountain climbing or safari ride. That dream that was birth in the first Pathfinder in 1986 remain quite relevant in the fourth generation of this iconic Sport Utility Vehicle. What a great name! A Pathfinder is known to be rugged, tough, and intelligent, coming around from the off-road SUV of its first generation to a more domesticated, luxury-on-wheels design, it yet has not lost its adventure belt.

The Pathfinder has became one of Nissan’s most popular SUVs. Last year, Nissan gave the Pathfinder a redo with a revised look, a new more powerful engine, and more safety features, and today it competes in the ever-expanding seven-passenger three-row SUV segment. Its main competition includes a long list of popular models like the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas, and Mazda CX-9.

Here’s a review of the present poster boy of the family, the Pathfinder 2018.



Marrying Engine Power with Smooth Drive and Surprising Fuel Economy

This macho comes in weighing about 2,100kg, and measures about 5.08metres across, powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, with 284 hp and 117kg-ft of torque that’s paired exclusively to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). For a better understanding, let us simplify horsepower, torque and Nissan’s CVT technology.

Horsepower is the total power output of an engine, while torque measures the “turning/torquing ability” of the engine. Practically, torque is a better measurement of how quickly your car will accelerate, while horsepower (relative to weight) is a better measure of your car’s top speed. The CVT provides smooth and “stepless” ratio changes, unlike conventional transmission systems that use sets of fixed gears. Nissan appreciated the CVT’s benefits of fuel economy and seamless acceleration from an earlier stage, and was the world’s first to offer CVTs for engine displacements as large as 3.5 liters. Today, Nissan’s CVT technology offers smooth and fuel-efficient “fun-to-drive” performance in an extensive range of Nissan models, from the compact class all the way up to high-powered luxury vehicles.

There was concern that the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder would be sluggish at the fuel-economy-trade-in 284hp engine choice, contrarily, this is a quick SUV, with plenty of punch off the line, hitting 96kmh in just 7.4 seconds. For those who want to go faster you may check the Mazda CX-9, the 295-hp Toyota Highlander, and the bull of the class, the V8-powered Dodge Durango, but at the expense of fuel efficiency.

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is also surprisingly fuel-efficient considering its high levels of horsepower. All Pathfinders are rated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive and 1 mpg less with the optional all-wheel drive, on regular fuel. This implies that the average Pathfinder in the city can go about 8.5km burning 1 litre of petrol, and 11.4km on 1 litre of fuel, for a typical expressway drive. That rating competes well with that of Honda Pilot, which has a bit less power.

In the midsize-SUV class ,the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the most fuel efficient, owing mostly to the fact that it’s a partially electrified model, the only kind in the segment. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates its fuel economy at 30 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Putting Pathfinder 2018 besides this semi-EV, its unbelievable fuel economy becomes quite obvious.

No Disappointment in the High-Tech Safety Corridor

Every Pathfinder comes with a new rear door alert system, which reminds you to check the back seat for kids or pets before leaving the vehicle. Nissan’s Around View Monitor is also the darling of many car lovers. It is a backup camera on steroids, offering a 360-degree bird’s eye view of the SUV and surrounding obstacles at low speeds.

Safety really comes first with the 2018 Pathfinder Platinum. It comes with active safety systems and driver aids, including a blind-spot monitor with a rear cross-traffic alert and intelligent cruise control. Automatic emergency braking, which will warn you of a probable frontal collision and apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the impact, is standard on all models.

Cleaner and More Attractive Style Upgrade

In 2017, Nissan overhauled the Pathfinder’s styling, giving the 33-years-old SUV a 21st century touch. The car maker introduced an all-new front clip with a smoother hood and front fenders, sculpted sides, long roofline, and severely slanted windshield. The design added a new grille, headlamps and front bumper. Though the new look is cleaner more upscale but is generally less audacious within the mid-SUV class. Infiniti QX60, which shares the Pathfinder’s platform and powertrain (the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle), as well as the Toyota Highlander, the Mazda CX-9, and the Ford Explorer, all have more embellished makeovers.

On the legs of these babies are big 18-inch alloy wheels except for the Platinum, which gets a set of 20-inchers as well as additional chrome trim. If chrome ain’t your thing, Nissan offers the blacked out Midnight Edition.

Roomy, Functional Interior, Quality Materials

The interior of the Nissan Pathfinder 2018 is worked with top quality materials like soft leather and wood. It features many bright trim decorates, controls, shifter, and cupholders. The 8-inch customizable touchscreen that comes with it is one of the largest in the class. It displays your beloved fuel savings and other important information. Nissan maintains analog gauges in this generation, but they are attractive and easy to read.

The seats can be heated or cooled, and the driver’s seat is 10-way adjustable. Nissan’s infotainment system is quick to respond to your inputs, and the navigation system is easy to program. The vehicle offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and Bluetooth is standard, although onboard Wi-Fi is not available.

The Pathfinder still comes with a foot-operated parking brake. This is kind of old fashioned. A push-button electronic parking brake has become common at this price point.

Seven-passenger seating is standard, and third-row access is easy once you push a section of the second-row seat forward. Second-row captain’s chairs are not available, although the Nissan’s second-row bench reclines and can slide forward to increase third-row legroom. Interior storage includes a large console bin, big door pockets that have slots for water bottles, and two big well-placed cupholders next to the shifter. There’s also a sizeable bin ahead of the shifter for your phone and house keys.

The boot has a generous space! The Pathfinder offers a standard 16 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seat. This opens up to 47.8 cubic feet, when the seats are folded and 79.8 cubic feet when the second row seats are also folded flat. The Pathfinder can comfortably take a trim body side-by-side refrigerator. These numbers are strong for the class. Most Pathfinders include a power-operated liftgate, it can also tow a whooping 2,721kg, which is class-leading capability.

Off-Road Compromise While Chasing Domestication

Nissan Pathfinder of the previous three generations were a formidable off-road plaything within the class, but newer models aren’t. The 2018 model though is available with all-wheel drive, its system does not offer a low range. The Pathfinder lacks vital off-road hardware requirements, like a locking differential and skid plates to protect its undercarriage. The model also has poor wheel articulation in its suspension, and also has ground clearance problem.

To improve aerodynamics and fuel economy, Nissan features a deep chin spoiler, which looks great, but it’s vulnerable to damages by off-road obstacles like rocks or steep incline. The Pathfinder is rugged enough for a basic rough, can efficiently park in muddy terrain. But for off-road ride you should probably check out Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Tahoe Z71, and Land Rover Discovery.

Four Trim Levels to Choose From

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. Each is available with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available across the range for an additional ₦608,400. All 2018 Pathfinders are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 cranking out 284 horsepower, which is strong for the class. Unlike many of the Pathfinder’s competitors, there is no four-cylinder engine option. Every Pathfinder also gets a continuously variable automatic transmission, or CVT.

Base prices start at ₦11,255,400 and range up to almost ₦16,200,000 for a top-of-the-line Pathfinder Platinum. Add options, including a ₦612,000 rear seat entertainment system with two 8-inch screens. Kindly note that the costings are direct conversions from US dollars.

Around town, the Pathfinder’s CVT is extremely smooth and the big SUV feels smaller than it is. It’s easily maneuvered and easy to park, thanks to its short front overhang and tight turning circle. It also rides comfortably, even with massive 20-inch wheels, but the suspension also keeps body roll to a minimum. It handles well for this class.

Overall: Best Value, Best & Worst Things, Suitable for?

For three generations, the Nissan Pathfinder was a rugged, off-road-ready people hauler. But in its fourth generation, which debuted in 2013, Nissan changed convention and turned the Pathfinder into a comfy crossover.

Though the base S trim comes with plenty of features, the best value comes one step up in the SV trim. This version takes all the standard trim’s features and adds automatic emergency braking, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, remote start, and rear parking sensors.

On top of this list of features, the SV trim opens buyers up to popular and value-packed options, like the Tech Package, which adds navigation, SiriusXM, adaptive cruise, and more.

The 2018 Pathfinder has plenty of room for adults and children in its second row, as it boasts 41.7 inches of leg room back there. Not only is there lots of room, but the seats are also quite comfortable, even on long journeys. What’s more, with the tiny third row folded, cargo room grows to a massive 47.4 cubic feet.

Looking for a simple and roomy crossover that can haul the entire family and still have room for luggage? The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is the vehicle for you.

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