2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony
The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid is a three-row seven-seat crossover SUV based on the regular Pathfinder, but with an entirely unique hybrid powertrain. Although technically a mid-size vehicle (Nissan offers the even larger Armada!), it is still quite long at 5,008 mm and its 2,900-mm wheelbase offers plenty of interior room.
After a couple generations of tough-looking, broad-shouldered Pathfinders, the new Pathfinder launched last year on the Murano’s unibody platform with softer, rounder edges, but a distinctive and quite shiny grille. It blends in with the more urban minivan stand-ins common in the segment, focusing on more refined driving experience and interior accommodations. Clearly Nissan knows what their customers and shoppers in this segment were looking for, as sales have simply taken off, doubling in the US and more than tripling here in Canada.
This hybrid edition is indistinguishable from the standard Pathfinder aside from a subtle badge on the door and LED taillights. Top-trim Pathfinders add sophistication with chrome body accents, foglights and 20-inch wheels, while roof rails and a tow hitch receiver add utility.
Our fully loaded Platinum trim came packed with technology and an impressive list of creature comforts. The stereo is a 13-speaker Bose system that delivered good sound quality and plenty of bass, and notable features include push-button ignition with proximity entry, navigation, heated and cooled seats, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with two-position memory, LED taillights, 20-inch wheels and a selectable 4WD system (FWD, auto 4WD or permanent 4WD).
The Premium package adds two headrest-mounted screens and two sets of wireless headphones for viewing DVDs or media uploaded to the hard drive and a panoramic sunroof for rear passengers. Rear passengers also have separate temperature controls and second row offers heated seats.
The interior is elegant, with the eight-inch touchscreen (Hybrid SV models still have a touchscreen, but only seven inches wide) well integrated with the centre stack and convenient controls for audio and navigation functions below, an easy system to master. The Gauges are bright and clear and there is a wealth of trip and vehicle information to be had from the screen between the gauges and the main screen. Oh, and the Around View Monitor that shows a top-down 360° view when reversing and a rearward view is simply outstanding, making parking an easy task despite the vehicle’s size.
The materials were pleasingly soft, with rich leather lining the seats and steering wheel, and tight, contrasting stitching. It’s a pleasing cabin that promises comfort and conveniences to keep everyone happy even on long road trips.
2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid sunroof, dashboard, gauges. Click image to enlarge
The front seats were supportive and comfortable, though the second row seats were a bit flat and low. However, car seats for my kids were easy to install and there was plenty of room between them for a third passenger in the second row.
Nissan likes to highlight their clever second row seat that can slide forward and tilt even with a child seat installed, but note that it is not very effective with a reverse-facing child seat or any of the larger designs with prominent bolstering. With a more compact car seat, it’s a neat convenience. And without a child seat, the opening is wide — note how the seat bottom flips up to offer greater space and allows plenty of room to access the third row. The third row has decent legroom, but the seat bottom is very close to the floor, so it is not accommodating for adults.
2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid seating. Click image to enlarge
Cargo space is decent even with all rows in use, measuring 453 L and plenty for the week’s groceries. On more serious cargo runs, the third row can be split 50/50, and folded down increases cargo space to 1,201 L, and full capacity with even the 60/40 second row down is 2,260 L. The Hybrid’s towing capacity is reduced to 1,588 kg (from the V6’s 2,268 kg).
The Pathfinder Hybrid replaces Nissan’s tried and tested V6 for a supercharged 2.5L four-cylinder paired with 15-kW electric motor. The engine contributes 230 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque and Nissan rates the combined output at 250 hp. Nissan has saved space and weight by using a lithium-ion battery, and regenerative brakes help keep it topped up in addition to the charging provided by the engine.