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2017 Nissan Pathfinder Review

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder ranks near the bottom of its class. Whether it's overall performance, passenger space, or interior quality, the Pathfinder fails to deliver.

Pros & Cons

  • Very low average prices
  • Strong V6 engine
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Rough ride quality
  • Lackluster interior design
  • Dull driving dynamics

New for 2017

  • Updated headlights, taillights, and exterior design
  • More powerful engine and improved suspension
  • 8-inch touch-screen display made standard
  • Increased towing capacity

Rankings & Research

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder's #16 ranking is based on its score within the 2017 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Nissan Pathfinder has a score of 7.5 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 47 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.3
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

Is the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder a Good Used Car?

Put simply, the Pathfinder isn't a good SUV. Its low ranking is a testament to its unimpressive handling and rough ride quality. While this Nissan saw an interior and exterior design refresh for 2017, the cabin appearance is still on the bland side.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 47 Nissan Pathfinder reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder?

Prices for the 2017 Pathfinder range from about $21,200 to about $35,700, with the average price landing at around $26,700. This data comes from more than 1,500 listings for the 2017 Pathfinder on our site. Exact prices will depend on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Cost to Own?

The 2017 Pathfinder tends to be slightly more affordable than some competitors when it comes to gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. You can expect to pay around $25,700 over five years for these expenses. By comparison, the 2017 Honda Pilot's five-year costs are expected to be about $2,000 more than the Pathfinder's. The 2017 Mazda CX-9 has comparable estimated expenses to the Pathfinder.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Pathfinder?

After extensive updates for the 2017 model year, Nissan made further changes to the 2018 Pathfinder. Automatic emergency braking and a rear door alert system are standard, and there's a new optional Midnight Edition appearance package. Those likely won’t be enough for most shoppers to purchase a more expensive 2018 model over a 2017 Pathfinder – especially when you can find select 2017 Pathfinders with automatic braking.

Read about the new Nissan Pathfinder »

In the midsize SUV class, several models have base prices that are lower than the average price of a used 2017 Pathfinder. The 2018 Dodge Journey (MSRP: $22,995) is the cheapest in the class, but it also ranks at the bottom. Instead, look to a model like the highly ranked 2018 Kia Sorento (MSRP: $25,900). With its combination of quality, value, and praise from automotive critics, we named the Sorento our 2018 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money.

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Which Model Year of the Nissan Pathfinder Is Best?

For 2017, the Pathfinder saw a pretty heavy refresh that could make it a better choice than prior models in this generation (which dates back to 2013). The headlights, taillights, and exterior design were updated, including a new V-Motion grille. The V6 engine saw a bump in horsepower (from 260 to 284), and towing capacity was increased from 5,000 pounds to 6,000 pounds. An 8-inch touch screen was made standard, and adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking were made available for the first time.

If those upgrades aren't that important to you, you may want to consider an older model in this generation to save money. There were few notable changes over the handful of model years between the 2013 full redesign and the 2017 refresh.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Pathfinder »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder?

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder has a predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power. A score of three is considered average across the industry.

Read more about Pathfinder reliability »

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are no open recalls for the 2017 Pathfinder.

See more information on Nissan Pathfinder safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Pathfinder Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trims: S, SV, SL, and the top-of-the-line Platinum. All Pathfinders come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The base trim has a pretty decent setup, with conveniences like an infotainment system, voice command recognition, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and satellite radio. The 2017 Pathfinder's standard features vastly outnumber those in the 2016 model, which only came with tri-zone automatic climate control and an auxiliary jack.

Still, buying an SL model may be worthwhile for the numerous additional features it brings. These include leather seats, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Some SL models also have navigation and a 13-speaker Bose premium sound system.

See 2017 Nissan Pathfinder trims and specs »

What Does Nissan's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years from the original sale date or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like rental car reimbursement, a three-month SiriusXM satellite radio trial subscription, a Security+Plus Extended protection plan, towing, and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Nissan’s CPO program is about average for an affordable auto manufacturer, according to our research. Mazda, Honda, and Chevrolet all have more robust programs.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Pathfinder?

The 2017 Pathfinder earned a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with four out of five stars in the frontal crash and rollover assessments. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Pathfinder the highest rating of Good in five individual tests. The Pathfinder was also named a 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick.  

A rearview camera is the only driver assistance or advanced safety feature that comes standard. Available active safety technologies include rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic emergency braking.

See Pathfinder safety scores »

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder or 2017 Mazda CX-9?

The 2017 Mazda CX-9 trounces nearly every other SUV in this class when it comes to performance. Like all Mazdas, the CX-9 boasts engaging driving dynamics – from lithe, carlike handling to a composed ride quality. It also gets better fuel economy than the Pathfinder. Under the hood, though, the Nissan has a more powerful engine and a higher towing capacity. The CX-9 boasts one of the nicest cabins in the segment, at an almost luxury level. Both of these SUVs offer comparable passenger and cargo space, but the Mazda is the better choice overall.

Which Is Better: 2017 Nissan Pathfinder or 2017 Honda Pilot?

The 2017 Honda Pilot is a much better SUV than the Pathfinder. This Honda gets an above-average predicted reliability rating, but it has some of the highest ownership costs in the class. For utility, it's hard to beat the Pilot. It offers seating for up to eight, while the Pathfinder holds seven. The Pilot has an adult-friendly third row and one of the best cargo volumes in the class. Higher trim levels come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which you can't get in the Pathfinder. Because of its combination of space, family-friendly features, and top-notch reviews from critics, we named the Pilot our 2017 Best 3-Row SUV for Families.

Compare the Pathfinder, CX-9, and Pilot »

2017 Pathfinder Performance

How Does the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Drive?

The lone engine available with the 2017 Pathfinder is a V6 that delivers 284 horsepower. That represents a 24-horsepower boost from the 2016 Pathfinder. This power plant delivers decent acceleration from a stop or at highway passing speeds. The engine is paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is one of the best on the market. While delayed power delivery and a loud whirring sound are common complaints about CVTs in other cars, the Pathfinder stifles those concerns.

When it comes to steering and handling, the Pathfinder is only adequate at best. Nissan made several tweaks to the suspension for 2017, but test drivers’ reviews of these changes were split. Some said the Pathfinder’s ride quality was harsh, noting bumps in the road could be felt in the cabin. Still, others found the Pathfinder to be a perfectly comfortable family hauler. From the driver’s seat, it’s also a mixed bag; some reviewers touted competent steering and stability around turns, while others felt the Pathfinder lacked precision. Both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available.

Does the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2017 Pathfinder gets pretty decent fuel economy for the class. Front-wheel-drive models get up to 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while 4WD models get 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. The 2017 Honda Pilot earns nearly identical estimates to the Pathfinder, but you can get slightly better mileage with the 2017 Mazda CX-9 (up to 22/28 mpg city/highway).

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Capacity

The 2017 Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds. That’s among the highest capacities in the class – and an increase from the 2016 model's 5,000-pound tow rating. With the Pathfinder, you can tow a pontoon boat with all its fuel and gear on a trailer, or many moderately sized camping or moving trailers. The 2017 Honda Pilot has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, and the 2017 Mazda CX-5 can only haul up to 3,500 pounds.

Read more about Pathfinder performance »

2017 Pathfinder Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Pathfinder Seat?

The Nissan Pathfinder seats seven people in three rows, with a second-row bench seat and two third-row seats. Many other similarly equipped 3-row SUVs can only fit small children comfortably in the back, but the Pathfinder offers a little more utility – teenagers or smaller adults can fit with only slightly cramped legroom. The Pathfinder's third row is also easy to access. Passengers in other seats should find enough space to be comfortable, but some rivals tend to offer more space to stretch out. Cloth upholstery comes standard; available seating upgrades include first- and second-row leather seats, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder?

There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the second-row outboard seats, and two seats with only a top tether anchor (the second-row middle seat and the third-row passenger side seat). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system a rating of Acceptable (the second-highest score) for ease of use. All of the tether anchors are easy to find, but the attachment on the rearmost seat could be confused for other hardware, as it's near the bottom of the seatback. Both sets of lower anchors are set deep in the seat cushions, but it's easy to maneuver your hands around there. Little force is required to attach car-seat straps to the anchors.

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Features

An infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen was made standard for all 2017 Pathfinders. The technology is easy to use, with familiar smartphone gestures like swiping and pinching to zoom. Other standard amenities include tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, a rearview camera, voice command recognition, and hands-free text messaging. Available features include a panoramic moonroof, a 13-speaker Bose premium sound system, proximity-key entry, remote start, navigation, and a rear-seat DVD player.

Nissan still employs physical knobs for common controls like volume, radio tuning, and climate, so you won’t have to use the touch screen to accomplish simple tasks. Despite a midcycle refresh, the 2017 Pathfinder lacks some modern tech features, like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

See 2017 Nissan Pathfinder specs »

Read more about Pathfinder interior »

2017 Nissan Pathfinder Dimensions

Nissan Pathfinder Cargo Space

With all three rows of the Pathfinder's seats up, you’ll get 16 cubic feet of cargo space. That's about average for 3-row midsize SUVs. With the last row folded, the Pathfinder offers 47.8 cubic feet. This amount compares well to most 2-row midsize SUVs. With all the rear seats folded, you’ll enjoy 79.8 cubic feet of space, which is a little above average for vehicles in this class. A motion-activated power liftgate is available.

2017 Pathfinder Length and Weight

The 2017 Pathfinder is 16.6 feet long. It ranges in curb weight from 4,292 pounds to 4,660 pounds, depending on the trim level and powertrain.

Where Was the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Built?

Nissan built the 2017 Pathfinder in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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