Nissan introduced the fourth-generation of the Pathfinder last year, so it’s pretty much the same seven-passenger SUV for 2014. There is, however, a major change in power options with the first-ever Pathfinder Hybrid.
Powered by a supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor mated to a compact Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, the Pathfinder Hybrid has the same seating capacity, second- or third-row legroom and cargo space of non-Hybrid models.The hybrid system uses a Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch System (one motor/two clutch parallel system) that efficiently manages power from both the electric motor and the gas engine. The 15 kW electric motor and gas engine work in tandem to provide performance equivalent to the non-hybrid Pathfinder’s gasoline engine.
The hybrid system is rated at 250 net hp and 243 pound-feet of torque (versus the gas engine ratings of 260 hp and 240 pound-feet of torque). The Pathfinder Hybrid will be available in showrooms in early fall.
The non-hybrid Pathfinder continues with a 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine mated to a nextgeneration Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), delivering fuel economy rated at 20/26/22 (city/highway/combined) in the 2WD model and only slightly less for the 4WD version. The power combination delivers responsive acceleration in a variety of conditions. The CVT holds the engine at the ideal rpm for existing conditions, offering responsive power for passing or towing when needed and quiet, efficient running at cruising speeds or around town.
With the available intuitive four-wheel drive, Pathfinder is an excellent vehicle for bad-weather driving conditions with the selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes for its available intuitive ALL-MODE 4×4-i system. The system lets you choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when you need full-time 4WD.
Also, standard on Pathfinder is Hill Start Assist for better control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models) and it has a standard 5,000-pound towing capacity, perfect for hauling boats, jet skis, trailers and other recreational gear.
As for styling, Pathfinder has an upper body with an open cabin, a low beltline and thin A- and D-pillars that flow smoothly into the rugged, durable-looking lower body. The new generation unibody weighs almost 500 pounds less than the previous generation Pathfinder’s body-on-frame design, which contributes to the better fuel economy.
Up front, there is a wide chrome grille and large aerodynamic headlights, recessed front windshield wipers, chrome door handles, with large combination lights to the rear. Also new is the SL Tech Package with a Bose 13-speaker Premium Audio and Nissan Navigation System.
Pricing on the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder ranges from $28,700 to $41,200.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com