Why The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Could Give Toyota Trouble

Front 3/4 view of 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
2014 Nissan Pathfinder.

There are times when all it takes to win is to be in second place when the leader stumbles.

If you have read Michael's review of the 2014 Toyota Highlander, you have read the prologue to this review.  And if you have read his review of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder from last August, you know the Pathfinder, in his view, improved greatly as a result of its redesign.

That test vehicle was an SL Premium.  This time, Nissan sent the top-of-the line, a front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is available) Platinum Premium.  As with most vehicles above $30,000 today, the list of standard equipment is simply too long to list, so click here to read it.

The "Premium" part is actually an option package consisting of a rear seat entertainment system with DVD player, 7-inch monitors in the backs of the front headrests, two wireless headphones, a remote, and a dual panorama moonroof.  It adds $2,300 to the base price of $39,950.  Carpeted floor mats were the only other option at $210, making the as-tested price with $860 destination charges $43,320.

2014 Nissan Pathfinder
2014 Nissan Pathfinder.
There are those who dislike Continuously Variable Transmissions, but Nissan makes very good ones, and employing one in the Pathfinder allows its 260-horsepower 3.5-liter engine to return 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 on the highway in the EPA fuel economy test. That beats the Toyota Highlander by 2 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving.

Interior view of 2014 Nissan Pathfinder
2014 Nissan Pathfinder interior.

The ride and handling feel a bit more refined in the Pathfinder, and the interior, especially in Almond, as our tester was, is a much more inviting place to be. Best of all, the controls are within reach, which can't be said for the Highlander.

There is not a lot of glamour or glory in the 7-seat crossover market.  But there is a lot of money.  Pathfinder sales doubled last year.  Do not be the least bit surprised if Nissan begins to take more of Toyota's share because of their different approaches to redesigning their entries.