The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is the first of the company's vehicles to adopt a new hybrid system that combines a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor-generator to provide power equivalent to a V-6, with better fuel economy. The Pathfinder Hybrid, which debuts at the New York auto show, will eventually be followed by hybrid versions of the Altima and Murano.
The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid's powertrain consists of a supercharged 2.5-liter inline-four engine, a 15-kW electric motor, and a continuously variable transmission. The unit produces a combined 250 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque, which is close to the 260 hp and 240 lb-ft output ratings of the standard Pathfinder's 3.5-liter V-6. Acceleration is said to be on par with the non-hybrid model.
More important, Nissan predicts fuel economy of up to 25/27 mpg (city/highway). That's a leap from the non-hybrid Pathfinder's ratings of 20/26 mpg for front-wheel-drive models. The hybrid has a claimed driving range of 526 miles on a full tank of gas.
What's most remarkable is that opting for the hybrid drivetrain entails no significant compromises. The lithium-ion battery pack is small enough to fit beneath the third row of seats, so it doesn't affect passenger or cargo room, or the operation of Nissan's folding rear seats. Like the normal Pathfinder, the hybrid comes with a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive. The Pathfinder Hybrid can also tow up to 3500 pounds, an impressive figure even if it's less than the standard model's 5000-pound rating.
Trim And Equipment
The Pathfinder Hybrid will be offered in SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels, skipping the entry-level S that is available with the V-6 engine. Nissan says the hybrid will be approximately $3000 more expensive than an equivalent non-hybrid model. That likely means a sticker around $36,000 given the 2013 Pathfinder S starts at $32,755. The only visual differences between hybrid models and standard Pathfinders are LED taillights, "Puredrive" badges, and a hybrid badge.
Otherwise, equipment matches that of the normal Nissan Pathfinder. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard with 20-inchers optional. The crossover comes standard with Bluetooth, push-button start, a backup camera, a power driver's seat, and three-zone climate control. Options include leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, the 360-degree AroundView Camera, and an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system. As on the standard Pathfinder, the so-called EZ Flex second-row seats slide forward to allow access to the third row, and the passenger-side seat has a feature called Latch-and-Glide that allows a child seat to remain locked in place while the seat moves.
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid goes on sale in late summer.