Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

Nissan’s Pathfinder Goes Green

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The Nissan Pathfinder was introduced in 1985 as a rugged sport utility vehicle that could go anywhere. Add to that, plenty of cargo space and room for 5 and it’s easy to see why it quickly became one of America’s favorite SUVs. However, over the last two decades consumers have become less concerned with off-roading and more concerned with fuel efficiency as well as passenger comfort. That’s why Nissan wisely decided to completely overhaul the Pathfinder in 2012 and turn it into a car-based crossover. They also added the Pathfinder hybrid to their lineup, filling a space in a very limited market of non-luxury three-row hybrid crossovers.

Under the Hood




The Pathfinder hybrid is available in either a 4-wheel drive or 2-wheel configuration, and it uses a supercharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that is paired with a 15kW electric motor and a compact Lithium-ion battery. One of the unique features of the Pathfinder hybrid is that the Lithium-ion battery fits nicely under the third row seat so there is no negative effect on cargo or passenger space.

The hybrid system also uses Nissan’s Intelligent Dual Clutch System, which is a one motor two clutch parallel system, that manages power from both the gas engine and electric motor. The motor is mounted between the engine and the continuously variable transmission (CVT). One clutch sits between the gas and electric engines and the other is situated between the electric motor and the CVT. The pair of clutches works to connect and disconnect the electric motor from the system when needed. This particular hybrid system produces 250 horsepower and 243 pounds feet of torque. Compare those figures to that of the regular Pathfinder, which boasts 10 more horsepower but 3 lb.-ft. less torque, and you’ll see just how well this hybrid stacks up.

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For a hybrid vehicle, the Pathfinder also has a decent towing capacity at 3500 pounds when properly equipped. Likewise, every hybrid’s claim to fame is its fuel economy, and the Pathfinder hybrid seems to deliver. It gets an EPA estimated 25 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway, compared to the non-hybrid version which is rated at 2o mpg city and 26 on the highway. Both versions rank highly in their class. Although some critics have complained that the Pathfinder Hybrid’s acceleration is a little sluggish, its overall performance is great.

Interior and Safety

With the exception of the hybrid gear under the hood and the lower tow rating, the Pathfinder hybrid is about the same as its gas-powered sibling. The hybrid version also comes with LED taillights, a few hybrid badges on the exterior, as well as special hybrid-information screens in the gauge cluster. Three of the four Pathfinder trim levels can be upgraded with hybrid equipment; the SV, SL, and Platinum trims.

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Cloth upholstery comes standard, but upper trim levels offer heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, and heated middle-row outboard seats. Critics have applauded the seating space, specifically noting the EZ Flex Seating System that is designed so you can slide one of the second row seats forward in order to access the third row even if a child safety seat is installed. Also, consumers who are looking for lots of cargo space will find just that in the Pathfinder Hybrid. It offers 16 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 47.8 cubic feet behind the second, and 79.8 cubic feet behind the first row.

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The Pathfinder Hybrid’s standard features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, a six-speaker stereo system, and a 7-inch display screen with an auxiliary input. An eight-way power driver’s seat, rearview camera. Nissan’s Intelligent Key with pushbutton starting are also standard on all Pathfinder hybrids. Satellite radio, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a rear-seat entertainment system are all options that can be added if the buyer chooses. Nissan’s Around View Monitor, a system of multiple cameras that give the driver a 360-degree view around the vehicle, is also optional.

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Standard safety features include:

• Driver, passenger, side and rear head, and side air bags
• 4-wheel ABS
• Brake assist
• 4-wheel disc brakes
• Electronic stability control
• Child safety locks
• Traction control
• Front tow hooks

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Pathfinder hybrid a 5-star overall safety rating, a 5-star side crash test rating, and a 4-star rating for both frontal-crash and rollover safety.

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With a price tag just $3,000 over the cost of a traditional Pathfinder, it’s no wonder this hybrid is so popular. Coming in at $35,300 for the SV model, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder gives buyers a lot to think about when choosing between the hybrid and its slightly more gas-guzzling counterpart. The SL model is closer to $38,000 and the top of the line SL Premium runs $41,000 or so. This greener vehicle fills a niche between the tiny barely-SUVs and the gargantuan body-on-frame beasts that have crowded the hybrid SUV market for several years. The Pathfinder hybrid offers the 7-passenger space that a lot of families need but it’s still small enough that driver’s don’t feel like they’re steering a bus. Add decent fuel-efficiency and plenty of amenities and it’s easy to see that the Pathfinder hybrid is worth the price.

Official website is here.

 

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