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Nissan makes the Pathfinder more user-friendly for the 2017 model year

Nissan has given the Pathfinder SUV comprehensive updates inside, outside, and under the hood for the 2017 model year.

The Pathfinder’s front end receives a minor nip-and-tuck that brings it in line with the company’s latest design language. The updates include redesigned headlights with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, a V-motion grille, and a more sculpted hood. Out back, the changes are more minor and largely limited to new-look tail lamps and a revamped bumper.

The seven-seater cabin is more tech-focused than ever before. Notably, the Pathfinder benefits from an eight-inch touchscreen that runs the latest generation of Nissan’s NissanConnect infotainment system, which features a smartphone-like interface and voice recognition technology. A new, configurable screen wedged between the speedometer and the tachometer provides vital information about the crossover and its surroundings. Finally, Remote Access technology lets Pathfinder owners lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, and flash the lights using a tablet or a smartphone.

The Pathfinder carries on with a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine, but it now relies on direct fuel-injection to generate 284 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 259 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. The extra power gives the SUV a 6,000-pound towing capacity, a 1,000-pound increase over the outgoing model. Surprisingly, fuel economy for the two-wheel drive model remains pegged at 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined.

The six-cylinder is bolted to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s programmed to simulate shifts in order to avoid the rubber-band-like acceleration often associated with gear-less transmissions. Nissan’s optional 4×4-i system allows the driver to select one of three driving modes called 2WD, Auto, and 4WD Lock, respectively.

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The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder will land on dealer lots later this year. Pricing information will published closer to its on-sale date.