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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Five stars overall
'Good,' frontal impact, 'good,' side impact
sonar technologies that kept us from hitting our Siberian Husky when backing up
Car and Driver
Oddly, other common safety items like blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems aren't available
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder earns good but not spectacular ratings for crash safety, and it's missing a few optional features that are increasingly common in competing vehicles.
Specifically, an imperfect array of test results in federal ratings, along with an incomplete set of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, keep the Pathfinder from doing better than an '8' on our scale at this time.
Nissan's seven-seat mid-size crossover is rated at five out of five stars overall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), including excellent five-star ratings for side impact and all its subcategories. It earns four-star ratings for frontal impact and rollover, however. The overall rating is one star higher than the Pathfinder earned in 2013, the first model year of its latest design.
The IIHS has only partially rated the new Pathfinder, giving it the highest rating of "Good" for moderate-overlap front crash and side crash safety.
The predictable list of safety features for a new passenger vehicle shows up on the Pathfinder, including six standard airbags, with the side-curtain airbags offering a rollover sensor and covering outboard positions in all three rows. Then there's stability control, a traction control system, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, and Brake Assist. A useful feature unique to Nissans is the standard Easy Fill Tire Alert, which sounds the horn when you've inflated the tires to the recommended pressure.
A rearview camera and rear sonar parking sensors are standard are most versions of the Pathfinder, but the multi-view camera system--which displays a 360-degree view of the car's surroundings--is only included on the top Platinum trim level. That system can make a big difference, whether you're backing out of a crowded driveway or navigating a narrow alley.
The missing features on the Pathfinder--neither standard nor optional--include active-safety systems like blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning, plus traction assists for more rugged off-road use, such as hill descent control. They're far from standard on all competitors, but they're increasingly common.
The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't get the highest safety ratings, and it lacks some increasingly common electronic safety systems.