- - Monday, May 25, 2015

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder offers a variety of standout qualities for the consumer looking for the perfect midsize seven-passenger crossover vehicle. Inside the cabin is charming with style and comfort and for driving the fuel economy also gets high marks.

Even better, the passengers in this Nissan Pathfinder will find plenty of room in the second and third rows and new for 2015 safety additions have been included on several trims as well as a few standard equipment tweaks.

Competition for the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder includes Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Dodge Durango, Ford Flex and the Chevrolet Traverse.

There are four trim levels to choose from when choosing a Nissan Pathfinder, the S, SV, SL and Platinum. On the S standard trim, you get 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rack, rear privacy glass, cruise control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control, a 60/40-split-folding second-row seats that also slide and recline as well as a reclining 50/50-split third-row seat and six speakers with a CD player.

The next trim level called the SV adds automatic headlights, front tow hook, rear parking sensors, remote start, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, eight-way power driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The technology that comes on this trim includes Bluetooth phone connectivity as well as a seven-inch display and satellite radio with a USB/iPod interface.

On the SL trim, there is the addition of fog lights, heated mirrors, power liftgate, leather upholstery on the first and second rows, heated front and second-row seats, driver memory settings and safety extras like a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert. If you add the Tech package on this trim, there is an eight-inch touchscreen display, 360-degree parking camera, 120-volt power outlet, towing and a navigation system with voice controls and 13-speaker on a Bose sound system. You can also add a panoramic sunroof to the mix as an extra.

For the Pathfinder Platinum trim, all the features from the lower level trims are included as well as the addition of 20-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats. For an extra, there is the Family Entertainment package offered on this trim only, and with that you get the addition of a DVD entertainment system with dual displays in the rear seats.

Under the hood, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder has a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque and a CVT that can be combined with either the front-wheel drive or the all-wheel drive, which in Nissan lingo means four-wheel drive. There is also an AWD system that gives you the luxury of hill-descent control and with the mere push of a button the driver is able to lock power distribution in a 50/50 front-to-rear scenario.

For safety, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder comes with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side and full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows and there is also the rear parking sensors and a rearview camera that comes as standard features except on the entry level trim, S. For the SL and Platinum trims there is also a blind-spot warning system and rear cross-traffic alert and the Platinum offers the surround-view camera system, which can also be had as an add-on with the SL.

The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder really shines in a variety of areas, but the interior is a top standout since the materials used inside is high-end and classy. When navigating the gauges and controls, these are uncomplicated to use and that includes the easy-to-use touchscreen interface — all said the entire system is extremely user-friendly.

No matter the row, the passenger seats are comfortable with the ability to slide up and back in the second row and even recline in the second and third rows too. Legroom and headroom is ample throughout. For longer hauls, however, the third row might be too much for an adult, but even taller individuals will find the legroom to their liking.

For hauling cargo, the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder only has 16 cubic feet when all the rows are in use. But if you flatten the second- and third-row seats, there is 79.6 cubic feet of space for use.

Behind the wheel of this Nissan, there is plenty of spunk and power to get on and off the highway or to just enjoy cruising around town. With the CVT, a replicated upshift, this feature offers a different feel overall, but it’s easy to get used to and use.

The bumps and curves are nary a problem when driving since the suspension is on high alert and you can expect a stable ride with easy steering and an overall great get around town ride. Taking the road with such enthusiasm, as a driver or passenger, you will be hard pressed to remember that this SUV was actually built for a lot tougher times than its classy demeanor suggest, overall it’s rough and ready meets grace and charm extraordinaire.

Should You Need to Know: When the 2015 Nissan Pathfinder is properly equipped it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4 X 4 I drove had 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2015 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4 X 4 I drove had a price tag of $39,160.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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