Nissan has been trying to prove to the world that electric cars are the vehicles of the future. Now it seems the company has finally given in to public demand and come up with a hybrid. Nissan has followed in the footsteps of its luxury brand, Infiniti, which revealed its own hybrid QX60 earlier this year. Hopefully, going hybrid will generate more interest and help boost sales for Nissan. The company has likely been disappointed with sales from its electric car – the Leaf.
Nissan just introduced their 4th generation Pathfinder for 2013 and now they have announced plans to offer it with a hybrid powertrain beginning in 2014.
Affordable and Economical – Easy on the Pocket
Before getting to the features and specs, it is prudent to look at the biggest factor going in the Pathfinder Hybrid’s favor: the price. The official price has not been revealed so far but speculation has it that the car will cost around $32,000. This means that a $3,000 premium has been added to the price of the gas-based Pathfinder model. When compared with other SUV hybrids on the market, the extra cost is relatively low and could make the Pathfinder Hybrid one of the more affordable hybrid sport utilities.
Moreover, the affordability and economy doesn’t end there. The SUV may be one of the most fuel-efficient models ever produced by Nissan. According to the company, the fuel economy is a whopping 24% better than the standard fuel-based model of the Pathfinder. The estimated fuel rating is 27 miles per gallon on the highway, 25 in the city and 26 combined.
Powerful And Reliable – All’s Good under the Hood
A supercharged 4-cylinder engine and the top-of-the-line electric motor will likely propel the first production Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid to around 250 horsepower. That is slightly below what you can expect in the standard issue Pathfinder – but the hybrid should have better torque. The official release has the torque at 243 lb-ft which is comparatively higher than its fuel-based counterpart. All the extra weight of the hybrid technology adds around 500 pounds to the car and reduces its towing capacity by around 1,500 pounds (still at 3,500 though). Nissan will offer the hybrid-electric SUV with the option of front wheel drive or four wheel drive.
Even with the battery added inside the truck, the space in the interior has not been reduced. On a side note, the Pathfinder Hybrid won’t offer an electric-only mode when driving at low speeds. That is one feature missing from this hybrid (which is fairly standard on other hybrids – but seldom practical outside of designated school zones). Nonetheless, the gas engine has been programmed to shut down when decelerating or coasting which adds to the overall fuel economy.
Roomy and Comfortable – Enjoy the Ride
As mentioned above, the lithium-ion battery will be placed inside the car but won’t take up any additional space. You will get as much space and room as you currently do in the standard Pathfinder, making this one comfortable for your whole family (with seating for seven passengers).
Even the cargo space is the same so you can pack all the gear and stuff you need for the trip. The fuel economy makes the car ideal for longer trips and you needn’t worry about having to leave Fido home for lack of kennel space. Unlike some hybrid models, Nissan plans to offer three trim level options (SV, SL, and Platinum) in the 2014 Hybrid Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder Hybrid – Nissan Set to Capture the Market
Few hybrids are able to go a full 526 miles on a tank of gas, and the Pathfinder has a big one – 19.5 gallons. Even the conventional Prius (with a much small tank) can’t go as far without stopping for gas. This may be a good selling point for buyers who plan to travel the country with their entire family, but 26 MPG is far less than I had hoped for in a 2014 hybrid SUV model.
Besides that minor disappointment, the features are great, the engine powerful, the price is fairly reasonable and the comfort should be top notch. Expected to see your first green Pathfinder this fall, and I for one am hoping that Nissan’s hybrid bet pays off.
Learn more about this Nissan hybrid here!
As a huge fan of hybrid SUVs, I’m excited to see a new one coming sooner than expected. What are your thoughts on this one? Do you drive a Pathfinder now?Pathfinder Hybrid SUV Preview