Nissan’s 2015 Pathfinder SUV is one of the sleekest, most refined and fuel-efficient 3-row crossover SUVs around. As if delivering excellent driving dynamics, a comfortable ride and a roomy interior isn’t good enough, Nissan also offers some of the best fuel-economy figures in the midsize-crossover-SUV class.
You'll Like The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder If...
If you’re looking for a 7-passenger midsize SUV with a slightly exotic look, a plush interior and great driving dynamics, put the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder on your shopping list. The Pathfinder’s 5,000-pound tow rating should satisfy most needs.
You May Not Like The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder If...
Nissan’s Pathfinder for 2015 isn’t the rough and rugged vehicle that introduced the Pathfinder name to America. If you need an off-road-ready SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Nissan Xterra make better choices.
What’s new on the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder starts with its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that receives D-Step Shift Logic, a program that allows the CVT to feel like a traditional transmission changing gears. Hill Descent Control is added to AWD models, while the SL and Platinum trims gain Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Nissan’s Pathfinder crossover SUV for 2015 can seat up to seven passengers across three rows. Legroom is generous in the first two rows, but the last row is tight for adults. We like the charcoal coloring of the seating surfaces, contrasted by white stitching. Thankfully, Nissan passed on the finicky, all-touch infotainment systems used by others. Here, you can easily tune the radio or adjust the volume by twisting a dial. The same goes for setting the temperature and fan speed. Other features we like include a hidden storage bin aft of the third row, built-in tie-downs and flip-out coat hooks.
No longer the squared-off utility vehicle it used to be, the 2015 Pathfinder is all windswept curves and rounded edges. A large, upward sloping grille and two large headlight housings convey toughness, but for the most part the latest Pathfinder projects a friendly image. Roof racks can add functionality to the Pathfinder, and an available dual-panel moonroof does a great job of opening up the cabin, even for 3rd-row passengers. With just 6.5 inches of ground clearance, today's Pathfinder isn't meant for hard-core off-roading.
If refinement and car-like handling are more important than off-road and towing ability, we think Nissan’s 2015 Pathfinder crossover SUV should be at the top of your shopping list. Thanks to its unit body, the 7-passenger Pathfinder can accommodate a modern suspension that returns a stable, smooth ride and excellent road manners. Body roll is minimal even under hard cornering, and the nicely weighted steering feels responsive and on-center. Last year’s CVT automatic didn’t thrill us, but the addition of D-Step Shift Logic makes the 2015 Pathfinder much more enjoyable to drive. We have nothing but praise for the Pathfinder’s V6 engine, which offers both impressive power and fuel economy. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the standard setup for the Pathfinder, but an All-Mode 4x4-i intelligent all-wheel-drive system is available. The system enhances traction and offers a full-lock setting for use on rough terrain.
The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder crossover SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that spans from just under $30,400 for a base S model with front-wheel drive to around $45,000 for a loaded, all-wheel-drive Platinum version. The Pathfinder's starting price is similar to those of the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and Dodge Durango, making this a very competitive segment. If you're looking for an inexpensive way to carry a big family in an SUV, the Dodge Journey AVP and its $21,000 starting price is tempting. The smaller Kia Sorento, meanwhile, starts around $25,000 and also has three rows of seats. To make sure you're getting the best deal, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price before buying. On the resale front, the Nissan Pathfinder is expected to hold its value very well, though not quite match the lofty residuals of the Toyota Highlander.
The Pathfinder is available in four trims: S, SV, SL and Platinum. Spend the least on a base S model, and you still won't feel like a pauper with features such as 3-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, in-dash 6-disc AM/FM audio and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Climbing trims brings amenities such as leather seating, a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, Bluetooth streaming audio, navigation and a power liftgate. Top trims bring a 13-speaker Bose premium audio system, the Around View Monitor, 20-inch wheels and a panoramic moonroof.
Aside from the option of all-wheel drive, most other extras for Nissan’s 2015 Pathfinder crossover SUV come as packages, which themselves are limited since many of the trims bundle the features. Among the offerings are a tri-zone entertainment system, a panoramic moonroof, Bose audio and navigation. A tow hitch receiver is also available for those who plan to haul their toys.
AROUND VIEW MONITOR
Nissan’s clever Around View monitor places four cameras at various positions outside the Pathfinder to create a bird’s-eye 360-degree image. The cameras also show individual images of what is ahead and behind the Pathfinder.
EZ FLEX LATCH & GLIDE SYSTEM
Another innovative Nissan feature, the EZ Flex & Glide System found on the 2015 Pathfinder SUV allows a child seat latched in the second row to remain attached when the seats are slid forward, typically to allow access to the 3rd-row seat.
Under the Hood
The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder SUV uses a V6 engine that has a good balance of power and fuel economy. It can tow up to 5,000 pounds and returns up to 27 mpg. The sole transmission is a continuously variable automatic. Enhanced for 2015 with Nissan's D-Step Shift Logic, the CVT feels more like a traditional automatic with stepped gears. All Pathfinders come in front-wheel drive (FWD), and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional for those desiring the extra traction it provides.
260 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)
Once known for its rugged body-on-frame design, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder has morphed into a much more family-friendly crossover SUV, with a roomy, modern interior, good ride and handling characteristics and impressive power. Although still available with all-wheel drive (AWD), the Pathfinder is no longer the choice for those who need to venture off-road or tow heavy loads. It can, however, manage a gaggle of teenaged soccer players and their gear, or double as a light-duty truck for those weekend runs to Home Depot. Up against such heavyweights as the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango and Toyota Highlander, the Pathfinder holds its own, offering a full complement of technology and creature comforts. The Pathfinder Hybrid doesn't appear to be returning for 2015.