"We have moved the Pathfinder more to where the market expectation is," said Mike Drongowski, Pathfinder chief product specialist, in an interview with Edmunds at the Detroit unveiling of the SUV. "The key message is that the 2017 Pathfinder is very capable."
Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date.
The changes are the first significant modifications since the seven-passenger Pathfinder was redesigned for the 2013 model year.
They include a new 3.5-liter V6 engine that delivers 284 horsepower, up from the previous 260 hp in the 2016 model. Torque is now rated at 259 pound-feet, up from 240 lb-ft.
Maximum towing capacity has increased from 5,000 pounds in 2016 to 6,000 pounds.
The EPA has not released official fuel economy numbers on the 2017 Pathfinder.
The 2017 Pathfinder features a restyled hood, new grille, bumpers and new 18-inch and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs.
Drongowski said the exterior changes give the Pathfinder a "more traditional, truck-based SUV look," something that SUV shoppers have been demanding.
A motion-activated rear liftgate is standard on Pathfinder SL and Platinum. A wave of the foot under the center of the tailgate activates the opening function.
Three new advanced safety technologies on the 2017 Pathfinder include forward emergency braking, intelligent cruise control and an around-view monitor with moving object detection.
In the cabin, a redesigned center console gets a standard 8-inch touchscreen monitor.
Edmunds says: The changes to the 2017 Pathfinder should punch all the right buttons for lots of buyers in this competitive segment.