The added bit of value is what may really seal the deal when family priorities top the list of priorities.
The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD is large and in charge, has seating for seven, and has comparable fuel economy with its rivals; making it a strong contender in the mid-size crossover category. Even though it’s able to seat seven, the third row seats are low to the floor, making it best suited for children – also right on par for the segment. Platinum is the top tier trim, aside from the “Midnight Edition”, which is a black appearance package including wheels, exterior trim, roof rails, spoiler, grille, and mirrors. One notable mention is that automatic emergency braking now comes standard on all Pathfinder trim levels.
There is only one powertrain option on the 2018 Pathfinder; all trim levels are only offered a 3.5 liter V6 with 284 horse power and 256 pound feet of torque, exclusively paired with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Pathfinder is one of the only applications left of the old Nissan VQ V6. Nissan suggests an average rating of 11L/100km running on 87-octane fuel. Our time spent with the Pathfinder was predominantly highway driving in two-wheel-drive mode, and we saw an average of 12.5L/100km, with some city driving thrown into the mix.
The Platinum trim is essentially fully loaded, leaving it with no other options to add. Being fully jammed, the Platinum includes things like heated and entilated front seats, heated second row seating, power tilt and telescoping steering column, intelligent adaptive cruise control, intelligent key with push button ignition, Bose audio system with 13 speakers, dual 8” headrest DVD screens, and remote start to name a few.
The heated seats are merely lukewarm, and could stand to get hotter for adequate comfort. I quite dislike the method Nissan used for turning on and off the heated seats; it’s a knob that is turned clock wise for hot, and counter clockwise for cooled seats. With the “off” position falling in the middle position, making you have to take your eyes off the road to be able to turn off the heated seat without accidentally turning the seats to the cooled position by accident.
Convenience entry is also standard on the Platinum, which is a feature that moves the driver’s seat back and the steering wheel tilt all the way up for ease of getting into and out of the vehicle. The intelligent key illuminates the cabin when the vehicle senses the key within close proximity. The CVT tries its best to make the ride as smooth as possible while accelerating; I say it tries its best because it does a decent job, but it’s not flawless.
The transmission seems to behave in whichever way it wants, sometimes maintaining a steady RPM while still accelerating, and other times it seems to change simulated gears like traditional automatic transmissions. It also kicks a little more than necessary between “gears”, making for a slightly jerky acceleration. Under hard acceleration, the 3.5L V6 tends to whine louder than one would expect. That being said, overall engine response is quite good; there is very little road and wind noise, and ride quality is also quite smooth.
The driving position and overall comfort is excellent, in part to the well-bolstered eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment. The cabin is also very spacious, so much that your passengers will be hard pressed to complain about headroom or legroom in both the first and second rows. As mentioned previously, the third row is best left for occasional use or small passengers, and cargo room is maximized with it folded down.
The Nissan Pathfinder sells really well for two main reasons; size and space, both of which are some of its strongest qualities. Coming in at $51,000, the price for the Pathfinder Platinum is slightly lower than comparable Honda Pilot (reviewed here) and Mazda CX-9 (reviewed here). The base price for the Pathfinder is $32,998 for the two-wheel drive model, and $35,998 with four-wheel-drive. All 4WD models get hill start assist, which holds the brakes for a few seconds giving you time to transfer your foot from the brake to the accelerator, preventing you from rolling back on hills. Hill descent control automatically controls your speed and brake pressure to make a make your descent maximally controlled.
One feature we find very useful is the rear door alert. When you turn off the engine, an audible and visual notification pop up on the instrument cluster, reminding you to check the rear seat before you leave the vehicle so you don’t accidently forget something (read: children) in the vehicle. The Pathfinder also features a tri-zone automatic climate control system. Lastly, a cargo area under the rear floor gives an extra spot to tuck away some belongings out of sight when the vehicle is parked at the local little league game.
The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD tends to be a little bit cheaper than its competitors, and that added bit of value is what may really seal the deal when family priorities top the list of priorities regarding a new vehicle purchase. While the Pathfinder may lack some of the technology and refinement that its rivals have, it’s still a very spacious vehicle that is fairly comfortable, and more than capable of swallowing all of the cargo you may throw into it.