In my family, I’m the pudgy city boy, and my brother is the fit outdoorsy type. My garage contains an immaculate Nissan Murano. His garage holds a beat-up Nissan Pathfinder. Despite their advancing ages, neither SUV has required a major repair. And yet, neither of us wants to replace our respective vehicles with a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder.
My wife, drawn to the first-generation Murano’s avant-garde styling, has her eye on the unusual Ford Flex. His wife, drawn to the previous-generation Pathfinder’s rugged styling, wants a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. I’d bet this is not the reaction Nissan intended with the Pathfinder’s latest redesign, and at the same time it is clear that the rest of America doesn’t feel the same way as my family members do.
The current iteration of the Pathfinder went on sale for the 2013 model year, transforming it from an off-road-ready SUV easily worthy of its name, into a bigger, plusher, 7-passenger crossover most adept at finding paths to local malls and school pick-up lines. What happened? Pathfinder sales doubled in the first year.
Having now spent a week driving a 2014 Pathfinder SL with all-wheel drive, I totally understand why most people prefer this to the cramped, harsh-riding, gas-slurping Pathfinder my brother owns. Going from that to this is like upgrading from a Nissan Sentra to an Infiniti Q50. In other words, there’s plenty to like about this big Nissan, but glaring omissions could be deal-breakers, especially considering the Pathfinder’s new family-friendly mission.