2014 Nissan Pathfinder Fuel Economy

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Fuel Economy

There are two versions of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder that offer quite different fuel economy. The standard V-6 model is rated at 22 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway) with front-wheel drive, but specifying all-wheel drive knocks that down to 21 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway).

Nissan says that's a best-in-class figure for three-row V-6 mid-size crossovers. Among mid-size crossovers with a third seat overall, only one does better, both with front-wheel drive: the base Ford Explorer, fitted with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, at 23 mpg combined (20 mpg city, 28 mpg highway). Ratings have not yet been issued, however, for the redesigned 2014 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid.

The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is the most fuel-efficient three-row mid-size crossover with a V-6; the Hybrid model boosts that to 26 mpg combined.

The other alternative is the Pathfinder Hybrid, new this year, which is projected to earn ratings of 26 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 27 mpg highway). That's more than a 20-percent increase, but it comes at a price: the Pathfinder Hybrid can feel underpowered in some circumstances.

The hybrid Pathfinder still gets a lower fuel-economy rating than last year's Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which comes standard with all-wheel drive (the Nissan hybrid can be ordered either way). Moreover, the Pathfinder Hybrid has virtually no ability to run in all-electric mode as the Highlander does; the electric motor is just there to assist the gasoline engine. On the other hand, the price increase will likely be much lower than for Toyota's mid-size crossover. Last year's Highlander Hybrid, a high-end model, started at around $40,000--which will get you a fairly fully loaded Pathfinder.

Other contenders, conceivably, would include the version of the Mercedes-Benz GL 350 BlueTEC diesel, which has all-wheel drive standard and is rated at 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway) against the V-6 Pathfinder. Or the five-seat Lexus RX 450h hybrid crossover could be compared to the Pathfinder Hybrid; it's rated at 30 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, or 29 mpg with all-wheel drive.

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