How does the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder TI-L drive?
Despite being a 2-tonne large SUV, the Nissan Pathfinder handles surprisingly well! It doesn’t feel anything like the Toyota Kluger we recently reviewed, which had very floaty suspension, but it didn’t feel harsh either. My only complaint would be that the ride felt a little jittery - especially at high speeds. The same can not be said for the road noise, the Pathfinder has improved NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) over the previous version and I can attest that it does feel quite refined.
No doubt the replacement of that old CVT helps with the refinement, the new 9-speed torque converter is a big improvement; it doesn’t search for gears or feel vague, and it is smooth and responsive in stop/start traffic.
The 4WD system is similar to a “Haldex” system in that it primarily delivers power to the front wheels, but intelligently sends power to the rear wheels if it feels traction slipping, this gives the Pathfinder the driving characteristics of a front-wheel drive, with the inclusion of several off-road drive modes. This is not a bad setup for most use cases, as a permanent AWD system would most likely be less economical.
In terms of fuel consumption, our real-world testing revealed it to be around 13L/100km on a combination of highway and city driving, which is pretty far from class-leading. Frankly, a 202kW naturally aspirated V6 engine has to work pretty hard to shift such a heavy car.
With that said though, the engine does feel quite peppy, and our 0-100km/h launch clocked in at 7.85 seconds, which is surprisingly good! This was also our experience taking it on some back roads, the engine and new transmission working in tandem to deliver a silly amount of fun, with the mid-range torque providing plenty of pulling power out of corners. That stiffer suspension tune also allows for a “sportier” feel - if you can call it that. The engine also has a really satisfying exhaust note.
Driving assistance is excellent with Nissan’s ProPilot adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assist, so the Pathfinder will practically drive itself on the highway.