For model year 2017 the Nissan Pathfinder underwent what the company describes as a “major redesign,” which brought to the crossover design cues (e.g., boomerang-shaped headlights, V-motion grille) that Nissan started using to unify its vehicle designs. Of course, they also added a new engine under the hood—a 284-hp V6—in order to boost the ability to perform towing (get the towing package and pull up to 6,000 pounds. (The full redesign of the vehicle—now in its fourth generation—had occurred for MY 2013).
The Pathfinder is a three-row vehicle, but like other vehicles in its category (e.g., Toyota Highlander), that third row is more for occasional use by small individuals. But it is there in a pinch. (It should be noted that Nissan has what it calls the “EZ Flex Seating System,” which does make moving the second row quite simple and accessibility to that third space all the easier.)
The experience that Nissan has had with the vehicle, which it produces in its plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, has resulted in something that is both well-assembled and nicely equipped, as in the case of this SL trim having such features as heated driver, passenger and second-row seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob; rear sonar; around-view camera monitor; front door step lamp; stainless steel front kick plates; and a navigation system with an 8-inch color touch screen, just to hit some of them.
One of the things that OEMs are finding is that as there is a proliferation of competitive models, even vehicles that aren’t, historically speaking, all that old are now seemingly vintage. Obviously, for economic reasons, it isn’t like they can suddenly create a whole bunch of new tooling and cause some significant transformations. But they can, and do, find clever ways of making a difference.
So earlier this year Nissan launched the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition, and it really is a well-done way to make the vehicle all the more appealing.
Yes, this is largely a cosmetic change. As in dark 18-inch wheels with 255/60R18 all-season tires, black mesh grille, black roof rails, black door handles and outside rearview mirrors, black front and rear fascia accents, black molded overfenders and “Rock Creek” badging on the front doors. (See a theme here regarding the color black?) Inside there are Edition two-tone seating surfaces and badging, high contrast stitching on seats, door, console lid and steering wheel, and metallic interior trim.
The exterior color of the vehicle in question is called “Midnight Pine,” a dark, rich green that works exceedingly well with all of the black bits. While a number of vehicles of late are using black for something of what’s known as a “murdered-out” look, in this case the black and the green work together to make the exterior look purposeful yet sophisticated.
And the vehicle comes with a standard tow hitch and harness, so that aforementioned 6,000 pounds can be towed.
The only real quibble I have with the Pathfinder is that it, like an array of other Nissans, is equipped with a continuously variable transmission. While I am not among those who have a visceral dislike of CVTs, I must say that in this application a step-gear transmission would be more effective as the curb weight of this 4WD vehicle is 4,489 pounds, and the mechanical advantage of gears would make for a better push when accelerating from low speeds.
The Rock Creek Edition of the Pathfinder is really well executed.
Here’s a look at how Johnson Controls creates leading interiors as well as cool ideas for clever products.
While you are probably familiar with origami, the classic art of paper folding that results in things like birds that flap their wings when you pull the tail, or plot devices in one of the Blade Runner films.
The mid-size 2005 Pathfinder, Nissan's largest design and development program to date, involved three technical centers, and took 36 months and countless trans-Pacific trips to complete. Though it borrows major components from the full-size Titan pickup and Armada SUV, it's not just a downsized clone.