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Nissan updates 2017 Pathfinder with new looks, more power

The Nissan Pathfinder is getting an update for the 2017 model year.

Nissan has unveiled its revised 2017 Pathfinder SUV. The new Pathfinder includes fresh styling, as well as a significant powertrain upgrade.

Following in the footsteps of its up-scale brother, the Infiniti QX60, the Nissan Pathfinder receives a light nip and tuck for the new model year. Styling changes for the 2017 Pathfinder include a new front end treatment that is sleeker than the design it replaces. Headlights are a new boomerang design and the 2017 Pathfinder adopts Nissan's signature "V-Motion” front grille. A reshaped hood adds a little muscle to the Pathfinder's lines. All in Nissan says the changes drop the Pathfinder's coefficient of drag from 0.34 to 0.326.

Other design tweaks include new side mirrors with integrated turn signals, new taillights and a reshaped rear bumper. There are also two new exterior colors available for 2017 — Sandstone and Caspian Blue.

The interior of the Pathfinder largely carries over for the new model year, but the SUV does receive some new convince and safety features.

In order to make a life a little easier, the 2017 Pathfinder gets a foot-activated rear lift-gate, an additional console-mounted USB port, an HD microphone and an updated Advanced Drive-Assist Display located in the vehicle's gauge cluster. All Pathfinder models get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system -- up from 7-inches -- as standard. Optional rear entertainment screens have also been bumped from 7-inches to 8.

On the safety front the 2017 Pathfinder gains Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control and Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection.

The 2017 Pathfinder retains its 3.5L V6, but Nissan has updated the motor with 50 percent new parts (including direct-injection), resulting in more power and improved towing. Horsepower is up 24 to 284 while torque has grown from 240 lb-ft to 259 lb-ft. As a result, the 2017 Pathfinder is capable of towing up to 6,000 pounds, besting the old model by 1,000 pounds.

Despite that bump in power, Nissan says fuel economy remains unchanged.

"As part of Nissan's ongoing, extensive research into consumers' real-world towing activities, we've found that mid-size SUV owners really want the ability to tow two-axle recreational trailers, whether for watercraft, flatbeds or campers," said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. "The 2017 Pathfinder now fits most of those needs with the added confidence of its standard 6,000-pound towing rating.”

Nissan also addressed the Pathfinder's handling by adding a stiffer suspension, updated rebound springs and a faster steering rack. "Fine tuning of the spring rates and the addition of front strut rebound springs has allowed better control of typical body motions such as roll and pitch and bounce. The result is the Pathfinder remains flatter while cornering and road vibrations are well controlled, especially on rough roads and during off-road driving," said Bunce.

The 2017 Pathfinder will land in Nissan showrooms later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the SUV's on sale date.

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