$18,486 - $29,194

2016 Nissan Pathfinder Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2016 Nissan Pathfinder provides a pleasant ride and absorbs uneven roads with ease, according to critics. The engine is sufficiently powerful but the transmission can be noisy at high speeds. As a city and suburban hauler, the Pathfinder is a good bet, but don’t expect to go rock-crawling. The Pathfinder gets very good fuel economy for the class.

  • As a suburban runabout, the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder gets the job done." -- Edmunds
  • "If refinement and car-like handling are more important than off-road and towing ability, we think Nissan's 2015 Pathfinder crossover SUV should be at the top of your shopping list." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Unless rock-crawling ability is a must, you'll probably find the 2014 Pathfinder a very likable crossover SUV." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "The driving experience can be summed up as mature. Suspension tuning is firm enough to keep cornering attitudes level, without compromising the comfort quotient, and there's enough power to minimize drama in passing on two-lane highways." -- Road and Track (2013)

Acceleration and Power

A 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 260 horsepower propels the 2016 Nissan Pathfinder. The engine is paired with a continuously variable transmission, which acts like an automatic. The Pathfinder gets very good fuel economy for the class; front-wheel drive models return 20/27 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA.

Critics praise the V6 engine for its power and fuel-sipping qualities, but some find that the CVT whines as the tachometer rises. Overall, however, the transmission does an admirable job.

  • The 3.5-liter V6 and CVT are responsive enough in most situations, and the gearless CVT's simulated upshifts take some of the monotonous droning out of maximum acceleration. It's still an unconventional experience, however, so we recommend a thorough test-drive to make sure you've got a feel for how the transmission operates." -- Edmunds
  • All Pathfinder models shift through a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that plays a big part in the 'ute's fuel-thrifty ways. It can, however, induce prolonged bouts of high-rpm engine droning under medium-to-heavy acceleration." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "Last year's CVT automatic didn't thrill us, but the addition of D-Step Shift Logic makes the 2015 Pathfinder much more enjoyable to drive. We have nothing but praise for the Pathfinder's V6 engine, which offers both impressive power and fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Handling and Braking

The Pathfinder is not built for those who enjoy a dynamic driving experience; rather, it’s made to provide a smooth ride over rough roads. And on this front, the Nissan Pathfinder generally provides an easy-going, bump-absorbing ride, though the 20-inch wheels on the Platinum trim reduce comfort. Steering is steady, and the 2016 Pathfinder has little body roll.

  • On pavement, the Pathfinder's suspension does a good job soaking up bumps and road irregularities to create a smooth, stable ride. However, if you choose a Platinum model, which has 20-inch wheels, the ride is noticeably stiffer. Although the steering is light and precise, handling is not a strong suit for the Pathfinder, and it feels large from behind the wheel. If you value driver engagement, we'd suggest looking elsewhere, but we suspect most Pathfinder buyers won't view this as a significant weakness." -- Edmunds
  • "Thanks to its unit body, the 7-passenger Pathfinder can accommodate a modern suspension that returns a stable, smooth ride and excellent road manners. Body roll is minimal even under hard cornering, and the nicely weighted steering feels responsive and on-center." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Not surprisingly, the handling is tuned more for safety than for smiles, but the new Pathfinder puts forth a reassuringly carlike stability at speed." -- AutoTrader (2014)

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