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2015 Nissan Pathfinder

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/25/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder adds five new exterior colors, a revised continuously variable transmission (CVT), a new Family Entertainment Package with dual seven-inch screens mounted on the headrests, and Hill Descent Control on four-wheel drive models. SV trim levels add fog lights, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and heated side mirrors with the SL grade adds a 120V power outlet. Packages have also been revised with the SL Tech Package now adding the Around View Monitor multi-camera parking system, and tow hitch and harness. The SL Premium Package adds navigation and the Around View Monitor.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder is a seven-passenger crossover slotting below the full-size Armada and below the smaller Rogue. It is available in four grades and in front- or four-wheel-drive configurations. A hybrid variant is also available for all trims except the base S model.


The 2015 Pathfinder is available with a 3.5-liter V-6 making 265 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque or a supercharged 2.5-liter hybrid I-4 rated at 250 hp and 243 lb-ft paired to a CVT. Fuel economy is good, with front-drive V-6 models achieving 20/26 mpg city highway and four-wheel-drive models at 19/25 mpg. Hybrid variants are the most efficient at 25/28 mpg in front-drive guise and 25/27 with four-wheel drive. Driving dynamics is excellent for a crossover, tracking straight on the highway but gets rough on ill-maintained surfaces. Acceleration is adequate with either engine due to the CVT being "burdened with moving with a 4200-pounds."

Interior space in the 2015 Pathfinder is generous with seating for up to seven and space for up to 79.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows folded. Nissan's impressive Around View Monitor is available in higher trims and helps owners fit into tight parking spaces. Additionally, the cabin feels luxurious with many convenience features such as available heated second row seats, ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. However, the infotainment system is a hassle to use with many buttons in the center stack and is slow to pair with mobile devices.

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder has not yet been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS.

What We Think

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder is a viable choice as a family vehicle with its roomy cabin, all-weather capability, and long list of convenience and tech features. In our 2013 Long Term Verdict, we said that the crossover had a spacious interior, and benefitted from "smart packaging from the first row to the third," making loading/unloading gear and passengers easy. Functionality is the 2015 Pathfinder's strong suit and pairs it with a long list of available convenience and tech features. Seating position in the second row, however, is awkward due to a high floor. While it drives well for its size, we noted during a comparison test that the ride quality is "smooth and controlled in well-maintained roads" but gets rough on ones that aren't as well-kept. In a 2014 Three-Row Crossover Comparison Test, we said that the powertrain struggles to move the Pathfinder, causing the CVT to groan under acceleration.

You'll Like

  • Luxurious-feeling interior
  • Hybrid fuel economy
  • Roomy cabin

You Won't Like

  • Noisy CVT during acceleration
  • Awkward seating position in the second row
  • Finicky infotainment system

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Highlander
  • Ford Explorer
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sorento
  • Mazda CX-9


3 star


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