2018 Nissan Pathfinder

Family adventure-ready

"New 3.5-liter V6 engine adds direct injection system, horsepower increases to 271, with towing capacity of 1,500 KG."

"Major redesign includes bold new front end with signature boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights and available LED headlights."

"Enhanced user friendliness features range from motion-activated liftgate to a new touchscreen monitor to be added for the first time in the Nissan lineup in the Middle East."

"Steering has been sharpened so less input is required to turn the wheels, permitting the Pathfinder to move effortlessly," said Issam.

The seven-passenger Pathfinder, one of Nissan's most popular nameplates has been revamped for the 2018 model year with more adventure capability, a freshened exterior look and enhanced safety and technology - pure Pathfinder taken to a higher level of performance and style. Nissan Middle East hosted an event against the dramatic backdrop of the majestic Al Hajar Mountains in Fujairah, UAE.

It's the 30th birthday of the Pathfinder this year and it's been a long time since the first Pathfinder was introduced to the public. Many improvements were made in those three decades, making the Pathfinder one of the icons in the off-road segment. The new Pathfinder will bring many improvements over the previous model, such as the redesigned exterior, improved driving dynamics, overhauled powertrain and increased overall performance, as well as new safety and technology features. The model will come in three trim levels, just like before, so we should be able to see the S, SV and SL. The fuel economy has also been improved even more, due to the reduction in drag coefficient from the already proper number of 0.34.

Exterior
For 2018, the refreshed exterior goes even farther, adding a stronger sense of adventure, character and presence and continued fine-tuning of aero efficiency.

The updated appearance incorporates the latest Nissan signature design elements introduced on the award-winning Maxima sport sedan and Murano crossover - including the new "V-Motion" grille and boomerang-shaped headlights with LED daytime running lights. New LED headlights are standard on the Pathfinder SL grade.

Other exterior enhancements include a new, more aggressive hood, front bumper and fog lights. The outside rearview mirrors now include standard integrated turn signals. In the rear, changes include new taillights and a stronger bumper design.

In addition, aerodynamic optimization efforts include a new grille design, which enhances cooling performance and negates the need for an active grille shutter, and a new front chin spoiler design that has been moved forward and directs air downward - without compromising the approach angle for off-road driving. These changes help optimize airflow around and below the exterior, with the coefficient of drag reduced to 0.326 (from the previous 0.34).

Another significant addition for 2018 is the available Motion-Activated liftgate. A simple wave of the foot under the center of the liftgate activates the power opening function. It is standard on SV and SL grade.

Other exterior details include recessed front windshield wipers, roof rails and chrome door handles. An available Dual Panorama Moonroof is standard from SV grade. It includes a sliding opening front panel and fixed rear glass panel, which extends over the second and third rows.

Also updated in the 2018 model is the design of the alloy wheels that are available as 18-inch in S grade and 20-inch in SV and SL grades.

Completing the exterior makeover is one new exterior color, which is Caspian Blue. Other available colors are Silver, Gun Metallic, Magnetic Black, Pearl White.

Interior
The enhancements to the Pathfinder interior for 2018 focus on convenience and connectivity. For example, the cup holders have been reshaped to accommodate mug handles and an illuminated front storage bin. There are now two USB ports inside the console versus the previous single port.

The biggest change, however, is the adoption of new-generation information technology. The standard Advanced Drive-Assistâ„¢ Display (ADAD), located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, features additional infotainment and driver assistance displays (versus the previous Pathfinder design). Voice recognition has been enhanced with a new HD microphone.

As in previous years, the 2018 Pathfinder's three-row/seven-passenger interior combines comfortable seating with the cargo capacity that families need every day. It offers the benefits of a mid-size crossover with the comfort of a larger SUV, including a flat floor for enhanced interior packaging flexibility and ample space. Overall interior roominess is 173.8 cubic feet (passenger and cargo areas combined).

Every 2018 Pathfinder interior is anchored by Nissan's innovative EZ Flex Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE, a second row tilt and glide seat that allows easy third row access with a child safety seat remaining securely in place in the second row.

A wide range of seating and cargo carrying combinations are available with the second row 60/40-split seat with manual slide/recline/fold flat and third row 50/50-split seat with manual recline/flat fold. New cloth seat fabric is added for S grade, and leather-appointed with new wood finish interior on the SV and SL grades.

Pathfinder's quiet, comfortable interior also includes a wide range of available features, including two rows of rich leather-appointed seating surfaces, climate controlled front seats in SL grade, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start, multiple user memory settings and an advanced Bose Audio System with 12 speakers.

Pathfinder also offers available class-exclusive*** Intelligent Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD). Other available technology includes Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System and iPod integration. The tri-zone Family Entertainment system includes front seats head restraint-mounted DVD display screens. The rear displays are now eight-inch QHD designs (versus the previous seven-inch WVGA) and include auto brightness control and USB and HDMI rear source inputs. The rear display can be easily controlled from the front with a more user-friendly display.

An available remote engine start function allows the climate control system to warm up or cool down the interior prior to driving (standard on SV and SL).

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), available with individual tire pressure display, comes with standard Easy-Fill Tire Alert that provides both visual and audible signals to help owners conveniently maintain correct tire pressures without the use of a gauge.

Drivetrain
In a major step up of its already highly capable adventure credentials, Pathfinder's new 3.5-liter V6 engine features more power and torque. It utilizes more than 50 percent new or new-to-Pathfinder engine parts and components - including combustion chamber design, pistons, intake manifold and e-VTC (fully electronic on intake).

The engine's new Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) system, which is also utilized on the all-new flagship Nissan Patrol full-size SUV, provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non-direct-injection system). The switch to mirror bore cylinder coating reduces engine weight by around three pounds and reduces friction between the piston ring and the cylinder wall. The technology eliminates the need for a heavy cast iron cylinder liner.

All 2018 Pathfinder models are equipped with Nissan's third-generation Xtronic transmission (similar to that utilized in the sporty Nissan Maxima). The Xtronic transmission includes DStep Logic Control, which simulates shifts, giving a more natural acceleration feeling.

The new Pathfinder powertrain helps provide real world driving benefits of more responsive acceleration and re-acceleration, such as when entering highways or passing.

As in previous years, Pathfinder also features selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes from the available intuitive ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. With the available intuitive four-wheel drive, Pathfinder continues to serve as an excellent vehicle for inclement weather driving conditions.

Pathfinder is the only vehicle in class with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes for its available intuitive ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. The system lets the driver choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when full-time 4WD is desired.

In addition, standard Hill Start Assist helps prevent loss of control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models), while standard Hill Descent Control (4WD only) helps by adjusting speed and brake pressure when traveling slowly down steep, rough terrain grades.

Safety features
Standard safety and security features include Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant classification sensor), three-point seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, curtain and side airbags for side impact and rollover head protection for outboard passengers in all three rows (includes rollover sensor), three-point seat belts for rear seat occupants, including second row center position, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) - second row outboard seating positions only, child safety rear door locks, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

Driving impressions
When it comes to the first drive impressions on asphalt road I can feel the improvement by the weight of the steering wheel (which is not too light versus the 2017 model). On bumpy roads and even roads the Pathfinder felt much more comfortable versus the outgoing model. Still my concern is about its extreme off-road capabilities. It can surely be taken to nearly every sport you'd like to. But bear in mind it is a crossover and not a hard-core SUV as you don't want to get stuck in the deep dunes with your family!

Verdict
It is surely the family vehicle since the 80s. The changes made on the 2018 model are quite visible from the exterior and interior. But my concern is that the Pathfinder was a body-on-frame pickup-based true off-roader which was rough, energetic and a terror in any off-road condition. Now it's much more mainstream - long gone are the golden days of the original Pathfinder! It is now available across all Nissan showrooms in the Middle East. The two-wheel drive is priced between USD 32,450 and USD 44,240, while the four-wheel drive model between USD 34,360 and USD 46,090.

Rivals: Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia
Pros: Improved exterior design, enhanced interior cabin, easy-to-use, and fast infotainment system, better driving experience versus the previous model
Cons: CVT gearbox, only one engine choice, not the definitive seven-seater off-roader
one word: family's transporter
3.5 stars

Specs
3.5L V6, 271 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 340 Nm @ 4,800 rpm
2WD/4WD, X-Tronic CVT
0-100 km/h: N/A, top speed: 190 km/h, fuel consumption: 8.77 L/100 km
Weight: 2,048 Kg

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