In its second year, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder fits seamlessly into the new Nissan styling idiom of softly flowing lines and large chrome grille surrounds. In appearance, it's more of a long, tall wagon than the slab-sided tough truck it was up through 2012. And it's relatively graceful for a long utility vehicle with three rows of seats--a vehicle type that's not always an easy job to keep coherent.
The stance is swept back, with a fairly long hood and a steeply raked windshield. Its metamorphosis into a family-focused crossover with seven seats already seems entirely natural. But it will be sold in more than 70 countries, and it's obviously a Nissan product when you stack it up against the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot it competes with in the U.S. The side accents, upswept third window, and chrome-trimmed grille all echo the themes found in passenger cars, the smaller, higher-volume Nissan crossovers--including the fresh-for-2014 Rogue--and even the truly large Armada SUV.
Those contour lines appear to "flow" up around the fenders in the front, then dip below the window line, and flare again to arch up over the wheel wells at the rear. The aggressive creases on the hood and over the front wheel wells actually start at the thick chrome bars on either side of the grille, giving the Pathfinder a bolder look than the same effect on some of Nissan's smaller sedans. It gives the Pathfinder "pop," as the fashion shows say. The only missing element would be either high-intensity discharge headlamps or LED running lights.
Inside, the 2014 Pathfinder is sadly less distinctive. The hard, smooth, textured plastic surfaces of the interior will no doubt clean easily and prove durable. But a glossier dashboard top surface meets semi-matte, soft-touch door panel material in a way that just doesn't feel quite right--and catches the driver's eye time and again. While buyers can choose from several paint colors, there are just two interior tones: the inevitable Charcoal, and then the lighter Almond.