For the family that spends time at Lake Tahoe – taking winter trips with the snowmobile or summer vacations with the all-terrain vehicle or boat, complete with all the accompanying gear – there really isn’t a better choice than a midsize crossover. The Nissan Pathfinder, refreshed in 2016 and now in its last year with this current model, is a good choice for such tasks.
The impressive aspects of this vehicle are the full safety and convenience systems (standard at the Platinum trim level), including its new automatic emergency braking feature, intelligent around-view 360-degree monitor, intelligent cruise control, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. The Pathfinder also has received a five-star (best possible) crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In addition, Nissan’s new rear-door warning system alerts the driver to check the rear seat (for children, pets or other precious loads) if the rear door was opened at the beginning of the drive and not opened again when the car is shut down at the end of the trip.
Also new for 2018: a more flexible interior configuration. It comes with back-and-forth sliding second seats – allowing entry into the third row even with baby seats installed in the second row – and a more comfortable reclining third row.
Cargo capacity is only average, but in this midsize crossover that still includes 16 cubic feet behind the third row, 48 cubic feet behind the second row and 80 cubic feet with both rows folded.
The only disadvantage we could see was that the vehicle, coming to the end of its model run and due to be completely restyled next year, is bland by comparison with competitors. However, with a price well under $50,000, it is a good value, and dealers may be prepared to negotiate in anticipation of the new models coming in soon.
What we drove: Nissan Pathfinder crossover in top-of-the-line Platinum trim with four-wheel drive and three-row, seven-passenger interior.
What’s under the hood: 3.5-liter V-6 engine producing 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque, in flexible four-wheel drive through continuously variable transmission, capable of towing 6,000 pounds.
What it gets per mile: 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined.
What it costs: Price as tested, including destination charges, is $47,840, which includes rear-seat mobile entertainment system, along with Platinum-standard full safety and convenience systems.