With its stylish cabin and high fuel economy ratings (particularly on the hybrid version), the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is a solid choice for a seven-passenger crossover SUV. But you might find some competitors more appealing overall.
Premium interior design with high-quality materials; ample passenger room in all three rows; good fuel economy; user-friendly electronics interface.
Noisy and sluggish engine; unrefined hybrid powertrain with disappointing fuel economy; competitors offer better handling and more cargo capacity.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder lineup grows with the addition of the new Pathfinder Hybrid model.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
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What's New for 2014
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder lineup grows with the addition of the new Pathfinder Hybrid model.
Over the past few years, automakers have been transforming their old-school truck-based SUVs into kinder, gentler, car-based crossovers. Last year the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder became the latest example of this trend and, by almost all measures, it has emerged the better for it.
Although this seven-passenger Pathfinder lost some of its predecessors' off-road and towing capabilities in the transition, the majority of buyers will find Nissan's largest crossover SUV infinitely more useful as a result. This latest Pathfinder gained a spacious new interior with adult-size seating in both the second and third rows, along with superior ride and handling qualities that are better suited for carpool duty and shopping trips to Target.
For power, the current Nissan Pathfinder also uses a 3.5-liter V6 and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that drives either the front wheels or, on all-wheel-drive models, all four. The CVT helps the 2014 Pathfinder achieve EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models and 21 combined with all-wheel drive. While those numbers might not sound spectacular on their own, in context they make this Pathfinder among the most fuel-efficient seven-seat crossovers on the road.
If those mpg numbers just aren't good enough for you, this year marks the introduction of the new Pathfinder Hybrid model. With a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 15-kilowatt electric motor under the hood and a compact lithium-ion battery pack packaged underneath the third-row seat, the hybrid Pathfinder promises a significant improvement in fuel economy with no loss of passenger and cargo room. There aren't many hybrid seven-passenger SUVs on the market, so the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid gives you an alternative to the slightly more fuel-efficient 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which is really the only other option in this price range.
Even with the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder's strong points, there are a few other midsize-to-large three-row crossovers worth considering. Among the dozen or so entries in this category, we'd recommend looking at the 2014 GMC Acadia if maximum interior room is a priority, while the 2014 Mazda CX-9 also offers a bit more room than the Nissan, along with the best ride and handling dynamics of any large crossover SUV. The 2014 Toyota Highlander is the most well-rounded entry in the segment, offering a blend of virtues that earns it an Edmunds.com A rating.
Any of these utility vehicles may work better if you need three rows of seating, but with the Pathfinder's strengths in interior design, fuel economy and general ease of use, it's still a solid pick for families.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize seven-passenger crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum. The Pathfinder Hybrid is offered in SV, SL and Platinum trim levels with the same features as the gasoline-powered models.
Standard equipment on the entry-level S includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat (with two-way lumbar adjustment), 60/40-split-folding second-row seats (with slide and recline), a 50/50-split third-row seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer.
The SV model adds automatic headlights, a roof rack, keyless ignition and entry, rear parking sensors, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 7-inch color multi-information display, a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system with a single-CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.
Stepping up to the SL trim level gets you foglights, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, driver memory settings, a four-way power passenger seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Opting for the SL Tech package further gets you a 120-volt household-style power outlet, a larger 8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with Bluetooth audio connectivity. The SL Premium package gets you the Bose audio system, the 8-inch touchscreen (without navigation), the 120-volt power outlet, a large dual panoramic sunroof and towing preparation.
The top-of-the-line Platinum model comes standard with the above features and further adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a towing package (optional on SV and SL), a 360-degree parking camera, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats. The optional Platinum Premium package includes the dual panoramic sunroof and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with dual displays. A different dual-screen entertainment system is available as an accessory on all Pathfinders; it differs from the factory system in that each display has its own DVD player and A/V hook-ups.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by two different drivetrains, one for the standard gasoline-only version and one for the Hybrid. The conventional gasoline Pathfinder uses a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid uses a supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine along with a 15kW electric motor (fed by a lithium-ion battery pack) that put out a combined 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque.
Both engines use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and can be paired with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (which Nissan calls four-wheel drive). The AWD system includes a switch that allows the driver to lock power distribution in a 50/50 front-to-rear ratio, which is useful on dirt roads and in the snow.
In Edmunds performance testing, a gasoline-powered AWD Pathfinder went from zero to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, which is a little better than average. Shockingly, a Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x2 we also tested needed just 7.2 seconds.
For the non-hybrid Pathfinder, EPA fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city/26 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive and 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city/25 mpg highway) with all-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the Pathfinder can tow 5,000 pounds.
Towing capacity drops to 3,500 pounds on the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid, but the EPA estimates it will return an estimated 26 mpg combined (25 city/28 highway) with front-wheel drive. The AWD version is rated the same aside from a 1-mpg drop in highway mileage. While these are great fuel economy estimates for a three-row crossover, our real-world results were not as optimistic. After a 120-mile evaluation loop that favors highway economy, we earned just 23 mpg in our Pathfinder Hybrid 4x2 test vehicle.
Standard safety features on the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seats. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are standard on all Pathfinders except the base S, which can't get these items even as an option. The Platinum comes with a more deluxe surround-view camera system.
In Edmunds brake testing, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder AWD came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, a little better than average for this segment, while a FWD Hybrid required 2 fewer feet. In government crash tests, the Pathfinder earned an overall score of five stars (out of a possible five) for crash safety, with four stars for total frontal-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Pathfinder earned a top rating of "Good" in both the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact categories.
Interior Design and Special Features
nside, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder offers an attractive cabin with high-quality materials that give it a decidedly premium look, especially in the top Platinum trim level. Even with its long list of features, gauges and controls are easy to see and operate. We're especially fond of the touchscreen electronics interface. There's nothing particularly flashy about it, but it's very easy to use and offers helpful redundant controls.
Both front- and second-row occupants will find their seats comfortable and supportive. The second-row seat excels here by virtue of its ability to slide fore and aft and recline for greater comfort or to create more room for those in the back. Those seats also slide forward even with a child's car seat in place, eliminating the need to uninstall these seats every time you need to get people into the third row. And unlike the third-row seats in some competitors, the Nissan Pathfinder's rearmost seat has enough headroom to accommodate adults up to 6 feet tall. Legroom's a bit tight, though, so only kids will be happy back here on longer trips.
Both the standard Nissan Pathfinder and the Pathfinder Hybrid have 19 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row of seats, which can be expanded to 79.8 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seats folded flat. It's a useful amount, but other models like the Highlander, Acadia or CX-9 are roomier still.
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder feels right at home in its role as suburban runabout. The 3.5-liter V6 and CVT deliver respectable acceleration in most situations. The V6 can feel a little sluggish during passing maneuvers, and the efficiency-oriented CVT can be slow to respond if you get aggressive with the gas pedal. In time, you get used to both of these traits, but we've never really made peace with the engine's noisy soundtrack: This V6 simply doesn't sound as good as competitors' six-cylinders.
There's a similar disconnected feeling in the Hybrid too. Adding to the already sluggish response, the powertrain blends power from the engine and motor in a manner that is less than seamless. Also, we experienced unusual brake behavior in the hybrid including poor pedal response, and found it required far more pedal stroke and pressure to maintain a full stop at a stop light than the non-hybrid Pathfinder did.
On pavement, the Pathfinder's suspension does a good job soaking up bumps and road irregularities to create a smooth, stable ride. However, if you choose a Platinum model, which has 20-inch wheels, the ride is noticeably stiff over bumps and ruts. Although the Pathfinder's steering is light and precise, handling is not a strong suit and it feels large from behind the wheel. Consumers looking for sportier handling will likely prefer the Mazda CX-9 or Ford Flex, although we suspect most Pathfinder buyers won't find this to be a significant weakness.
by KC on Apr 3, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
I bought this car in anticipation of a cross country road trip for my family last night - Atlanta to Los Angeles - in order to travel to see my father after he required emergency brain surgery. Platinum series, fully loaded, only 25k miles, but $35,000 worth of heartache. Roughly 120 miles into our trip, the car began shuttering at low speeds. When we stopped to refuel 400 miles into our trip, the transmission wouldn't engage when my husband put the car in "Drive." After repeated attempts he finally got the transmission to engage and we were able to "limp it" to the nearest Auto Nation dealer and sit and wait 4 hours for them to open. However, because it is Sunday, the service department is closed. The Atlanta location offered to reimburse me for either a modest (not comparable) rental or a hotel while we wait for an indefinite period of time for our vehicle to be looked at and a determination to be made from there - a kind gesture but hardly the consideration I'd expect given the circumstances and the capabilities of a multimillion dollar netting corporation. After an unexpected 9 hour delay in Memphis (with an 11, 6, 5 year old and 2 month old) we are now back on the road in a rental vehicle that I had to incur the upfront out of pocket cost for (with no idea of when/if a reimbursement will actually occur in addition to the $4k I have the dealership for a down payment). I will also have to modify my trip to be by my father's side in order to coordinate the issue of driving back to Memphis to retrieve my vehicle (which I no longer want) and return the rental vehicle during the company's business hours. All of this is a nightmare in addition to the nightmare that I am already dealing with. As a consumer (and previous Nissan owner) I just expected better. Polite but unhelpful (especially when Nissan is already clearly aware of the issue after reading endless consumer reviews which highlight a week established history of an issue requiring a recall or buyer warning) is not only immoral, but also shameful. My excitement of purchasing my Roadster this summer after so many years of pining for it has now gone out the window. I'll never buy another Nissan and I will caution anyone who will listen to me to avoid doing the same for as long as I have breath and the faculties to communicate. I'm both devastated and disheartened and at less than 24 hours into my purchase, the issue is likely only beginning...
Cvt transmission is junk 2 in less than 1 1/2 year
by firstname.lastname@example.org on Feb 16, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Bought my 2015 PF in Nov 2014, Have various problems including needed new driver seat leather was bad. But the real trouble started at 15k about 9 months into my ownership of this brand new vehicle, started shuddering real bad needed new cvt. Than fast forward a few months and 5k and the cvt is doing the same thing shuddering so I am needing a new cvt again. I wouldn't recommend this vehicle to anyone Nissan has to fix this issue as I am sure that lots and lots of people are having these issue's.
by Al on Jan 19, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
Do not buy this Pathfinder. Just as I got past 60,000 mile warranty the transmission went bad. Car is less than two years old. All warranty work done on time as recommended by a Nissan dealer. Looking on line it appears to be a widespread problem
by Kathy T on Dec 26, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder S 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
My 2014 pathfinder needed a new transmission 6 weeks after i purchased it. 9 months later during routine servici g they found that bolts in the brake system were missing they say from the factory. Wouldnt let me drive it because it was so dangerous. Cant wait for my lease to end! I bought a nissan for peace of mind..little did i know!
by MandersonSTL on Dec 13, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)
I purchased my 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SL, 4WD, in June 2014 for my wife who drives it on a daily basis. On November 25, 2015, "I borrowed" the Pathfinder from my wife and while driving it, I noticed the vehicle started shuddering. At first I thought I went over a few potholes or a rough patch in the road. It was definitely noticeable, but I didn't know what it was, or think anything of it. Then it happened again on a perfectly good road and I wasn't going fast. That's when I started paying attention. Well, it happened again. I was driving under 20-MPH at about 1000 RPM...That seemed to be the sweet/sour spot. I was able to replicate the problem a few times on the November 25th. There is no telling how long the vehicle has been doing this, because my wife could drive over a cow and not notice the violent bump. At 27,000 miles, my brand new 2014 Nissan Pathfinder was having transmission problems. WHAT!!! REALLY!!! I drive a 2005 Lexus IS 300 with 128,000 miles and it purrs like a kitten (I love my Toyota). I started researching and looking at different reviews. I pulled the Consumer Report and I even called my friend who bought her 2014 Nissan Pathfinder SV a few months after, me only to find out she already replaced her transmission at 19,000 miles, but started having problems around 3,500 miles. It took her that long to get a replacement, because the dealership kept giving her the run around. They told her "there is nothing they can do about it." To make matters worse, she is now trying to get her transmission replaced again at 22,900 miles, from the same Nissan Service Center. You've got to be kidding me!!! Well, my Pathfinder is currently at Suntrup Nissan, St. Louis, MO and we will see what they say. Note to everyone reading this, keep a record of everything from start to finish and get everything in writing. If they call you, send an email memorializing the conversation. Update to follow.
I have a 2014 pathfinder with 15 months left on a three year lease. I have a good monthly payment that I am happy about. The other day i got the usual call from the dealer that my vehicle is in grea...
I test drove both a Nissan Pathfinder and a Toyota Highlander and I enjoyed the ride and drive in the Pathfinder more than the Highlander. I did some more research and I am noticing multiple articles...
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