Adventures Goes Green with the All-New 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid
Source: Nissan Image Library

Today we’re reporting on one of the most exciting additions to the 2014 Nissan model line-up. By the year’s end, dealerships across the nation will be able to offer car buyers the first-ever Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid!

This Pathfinder Hybrid offers drivers a variety of model configurations—14 to be exact—meant to help buyers build the optimal Pathfinder that suits their lifestyle needs. The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid also offers the benefit of enhanced fuel economy (as Hybrids are meant to do!) and a reduction in output of CO2 emissions—sure to relieve our eco-conscious drivers.

The Pathfinder Hybrid is available in three trims—SV, SL, and Platinum, and is the only vehicle in its class to offer selectable 2WD, Auto, or 4WD Lock modes (incidentally, 4WD is excellent for inclement weather driving!). MSRP ranges from $35,110 – $44,350.

This is just a glimpse into the variety of options that are available with the Pathfinder Hybrid. To really understand what makes this new HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle, in layman’s terms) stand out, let’s look a little more closely at this new model.

So what exactly makes this new Pathfinder hybrid-capable? A glance into the engine of the Pathfinder Hybrid will reveal a combination of both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Nissan explains,

“At the heart of the new 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid…is its supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor paired to a compact Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. The Li-ion battery fits under the 3rd row seat so there is no compromise of passenger seating capacity, 2nd or 3rd row legroom or cargo space.”

To keep your Hybrid humming, Nissan has employed the Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch system that manages power from both the electric motor and the gas engine. And here’s something that’s cool—there’s also an advanced, next-generation Xtronic CVT that uses the driver’s braking to regenerate power to the battery! During braking, the battery automatically charges by converting the vehicles’ kinetic energy otherwise lost in braking.

As you can tell, there’s a lot of sophisticated technology at work to power your Hybrid. But hey, these are the models of the future, so why expect anything less?

Now that you understand a little bit more about the Hybrid technology, let’s look at some of the other admirable features of this all-new Pathfinder.

Exterior

The Pathfinder Hybrid may be suitable for “rough and tumble” adventures, but its exterior is far from that. Graced with LED headlights, aerodynamic lines, and an available dual panorama moonroof and large windows which combined provide a relaxed openness, its look is sophisticated despite the Pathfinder’s “adventure-ready” reputation; a term Nissan likes to use to describe this Hybrid SUV. There’s also been a reduction in weight but no reduction in power. Nissan assures,

“Hybrid-equipped Pathfinders also retain the ability to tow boats, jet skis, trailers and a variety of other recreational gear with standard towing capacity of 3,500 pounds (when properly equipped).”

Additional exterior features are:

[source: Nissan]

  • Fresh interpretation of Nissan’s “power strut” grille design
  • Chrome grille, front and rear door handles and front and rear fascia accents
  • Body color bumpers and dual power remote-controlled outside mirrors (manual fold)
  • Available heated outside mirrors and mirror reverse synch
  • UV-reducing solar glass, rear privacy glass
  • Standard auto on/off headlights with auto hazard system
  • Available fog lights
  • Available power liftgate with closure assist, liftgate position memory
  • Available painted roof rails and cross bars
  • Seven available exterior colors – Mocha Stone, Brilliant Silver, Dark Slate, Super Black, Cayenne Red, Moonlight White and Artic Blue Metallic

Interior

Not to be outdone by the vast features of the exterior, the Hybrid’s interior offers many options to create an ease and comfort while inside the vehicle. Three rows of seating provide capacity for up to 7 passengers. Smart Nissan technology such as the EZ Flex® Seating System and LATCH AND GLIDE™ features help create versatility in comfort, allowing passengers to fold down seats for ease of access within the vehicle, and adjust for preferred cargo capacity.

One item of note that is especially cool in the Hybrid is the reclining 3rd row—an option not offered with other SUVs in its class!

Here’s a glance at some of the many interior features of the Pathfinder Hybrid:

[source: Nissan]

  • 8-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar support, available 4-way power front passenger seat, available 2-way power driver’s seat lumbar support
  • Available Heated and Cooled front seats
  • Standard 2nd row 60/40-split seat with manual slide/recline/fold flat
  • Standard 3rd row 50/50-split seat with manual recline/flat fold
  • Segment unique EZ Flex® Seating System with 3rd row access from 2nd row walk-in function and LATCH AND GLIDE™ child safety seat slide functionality (on passenger side seat)
  • Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display with Hybrid power usage and charge regeneration information displays
  • Two available interior colors – Almond and Charcoal
  • Storage compartment under cargo floor, cargo area light

Technology

Technology is also an important factor for today’s modern drivers and we feel Nissan has continued to cater to those demands. For example, not only are there available features such as the Nissan Navigation System with NavTraffic and NavWeather for the traveling driver, but for those of you that love to be adventurous in your dining experiences, there’s even an available Zagat Survey® restaurant guide! And for the music lover who loves to rock out on the road, there’s an advanced Bose® Audio System with 13 speakers. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is standard (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately). So there’s a little bit (well, actually a lot!) of something for everyone.

Additional available technology features include:

[source: Nissan]

  • Standard 7-inch color multi-information display with RearView Monitor
  • Available 8-inch color monitor with VGA touch display
  • Available heated steering wheel (standard on Platinum model)
  • Available Nissan Navigation System with Voice Recognition, NavTraffic and NavWeather (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Zagat Survey® Restaurant Guide, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio
  • Nissan Intelligent Key® with Push Button Ignition
  • Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System
  • Available 13-speaker Bose® audio system with Acoustic Waveguide Subwoofer
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately)
  • Available leather-appointed 1st, 2nd and 3rd row and 1st row power memory seats
  • Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, rear air conditioning
  • Class-exclusive*** available Around View® Monitor

Fuel Economy

Last, but not least, let’s look at what drivers can expect when taking the Hybrid to the road.

The Pathfinder Hybrid is rated at 26 mpg combined, an increase of 24 percent over the standard Pathfinder (city 25 mpg, highway 28 mpg/27 mpg 4WD). We love to hear about increased fuel efficiency, don’t we?!

It’s estimated that the Hybrid driving range is around 546 miles. For anyone wondering, “Yeah, but how can you be sure?” After all, no one wants to be stuck without battery power and no gas station in sight. While you could use your Tischer Automotive app to help you find a nearby gas station, you don’t even have to do that. To help ease the concerns of the driver, special Hybrid system information screens have been added to the instrument panel’s Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display. This system will show Hybrid drivers the power output readings from the electric motor and the gas engine, along with how much power is being regenerated back to the battery. (Remember what we said earlier about the brake-recharging feature.) So there you go!

And of course, the all-new Pathfinder Hybrid wouldn’t be a true hybrid without the official stamp: the Nissan PUREDRIVE™  badge. If you aren’t familiar with the significance of this, the badge signifies Nissan’s commitment to achieve lower, eco-friendly levels of CO2 emissions.

As we stated before, we couldn’t be more thrilled about the rollout of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid. If you’re as excited about it as us, and you’d like a bit more information, feel free to check out extensive details and specs about this new model from the Nissan press release. The Pathfinder Hybrid will be a special-order model for our dealership. So please contact us if you are interested in a test drive by calling 301-498-3322 and ask for Lee Ray.

Don’t forget to use the comments area below to leave any questions you may have or for any further information you are seeking. If you prefer, you can also get in touch with us on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing you at the dealership!

Hybrid vs. Electric Vehicles – How do the Costs Compare?

hybrid vehicle

Today, nearly every auto manufacturer offers some version of a hybrid vehicle that combines an electric engine with a traditional gasoline-powered engine. There’s little question that the future of the automobile industry includes some measure of electrification. But pricing is one of the bigger questions floating around on that topic.

Hybrid vehicles allow consumers to use much less gasoline than standard combustion (gasoline-powered) engines and emit a lesser amount of CO2 into the environment, while still relying on the combustion of fossil fuels for their motivation.*

Although the options for greener cars have increased over the years – providing not only standard economy cars, but larger SUVs as well – carting around two powertrains (no matter how well integrated they are) will never be the most efficient solution. While these vehicles have lower emissions and require less frequent trips to the gas station, they still have maintenance and gasoline costs. Although you won’t spend as much as the average person, you will still be paying something.

The demand for hybrids has brought the average cost for each vehicle down, which allows more individuals the opportunity to purchase one and essentially save money in the long run due to reduced trips to the pump. Hybrid vehicles typically run in the $30,000-$45,000 range, depending on the make and model you desire.

Some pundits believe that the hybrid vehicle is just a stepping-stone toward an electric car that doesn’t depend on combustion. That being said, electric vehicles are not really a futuristic concept. Some of the first automobile prototypes only used electricity to run their engines. The only problem was that they didn’t run very fast, nor did they run for very long without a need for recharging. That’s why the traditional engine using petroleum replaced all electronic forms of transportation.

With the rising cost of fuel and the depletion of natural fossil fuels, this concept has been revisited frequently in the last decade.  Unfortunately, manufacturers have found that to produce anything that would be remotely suitable for transit, would cost the consumer a small fortune once completed and ready for market. When the first marketable electric car hit the market, it was priced at nearly $110,000. The upside to paying this kind of cash is that there wouldn’t be any fuel costs at all for the life of the vehicle.

Today, there are more reasonable fully-electric vehicles on the market – like the Nissan LEAF. Starting from $21,300 after federal tax savings, this baby gets 129 city and 102 hwy MPGe**  It is completely gasoline and oil free and will travel, based on conditions, up to 100 miles before recharging!

Another moderately-priced offering is the Model S from Tesla Motor Company at just under $50,000. It is a sleek, quiet vehicle that never needs refueling and will travel up to 300 miles without having to recharge, which really only takes 45 minutes total to complete. The Tesla model S is the first in its kind to be an electric car and go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.6 seconds, as well as being able to hold up to seven passengers.

Both the hybrid and the electric car are economical forms of transportation once the initial cost has been paid for, but when electric cars like the LEAF and the Tesla become the norm, the cost benefits will be unchallenged.

*A supplementary electrical system takes some of the energy that would be wasted or otherwise lost under braking, stores it in a battery, and then uses it to help power the vehicle at some later point.

**Based on EPA formula of 33.7 kW/hour equal to one gallon of gasoline energy, EPA rated the LEAF equivalent to 129 MPG measured as gasoline fuel efficiency in city driving, and 102 MPG in highway driving. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions – use for comparison only.

image courtesy of Auto Kiosk Groen Mobiel

A Chat with a Nissan LEAF Owner – Chris Sasiela

Nissan Leaf

Last week, we posted an interview with Dave, an owner of the 100% Electric Nissan LEAF, and got some insight into what it’s like to own this vehicle. Again, we were recently fortunate enough to be able to talk to another LEAF owner about her experience from a different perspective on the same set of questions.

Chris is a 45-year-old woman from Laurel, Maryland, who has had an interest in green technologies for some time and she recently took the time to tell us all about her experience.

Tischer Nissan (TN): What are the main reasons you decided to buy a Nissan LEAF?

Chris: I wanted to be gas free. I absolutely LOVE the fact that I have no idea how much a gallon of gas costs [laughs].

TN: How long have you owned your Nissan LEAF?

Chris: I purchased my LEAF back in November of 2011. I’ve noticed a huge savings annually with driving the electric car, and the cost to charge it at home was only $10 for the first 8 months!

TN: Were you interested in environmental issues, energy efficiency, and other green living initiatives before buying the LEAF?

Chris:  Yes. I’ve been interested in energy-efficient and green living for a while now. I think that all nations should be moving toward more environmentally-friendly ways to manage their energy needs and support developing technologies that work toward that end.

TN: Have you had to make any behavioral changes to your driving habits, commute, or travel routine as a result of owning your LEAF?

Chris: Yes. The fact that I now have to keep mileage and charge level in the back of my mind before I plan a trip took some getting used to. Although I’ve never had the battery die on me, I have gotten the “out of charge” warning a few times. Thankfully, I was close to home to recharge! Also, one the cool things about the LEAF that I didn’t know before buying mine was that it could take a charge from a normal household electric outlet. It takes a little longer to charge that way, but you don’t have to have any special equipment installed to own one!

TN: Does owning a LEAF lock you into a set of choices regarding where you live, work, shop, travel, etc.?

Chris: Yes. The range limitation is a real thing and does affect my choices about when and where I will engage in activities. Also, one thing that is a challenge for me is having other people drive the car (such as a valet). People tend freak out and don’t know how to turn it off or on. So oftentimes, they just leave it on.

TN: How many miles do you put on your LEAF in an average week? Are those miles consumed mostly by a commute or several small trips around town?

Chris: It varies depending on the week, but I’m putting about 850 miles a month on the car. Most of that is commuting, but also some errands on the way to and from work, as I tend to bundle my errands into my commute.  I did this before owning my LEAF, too.

TN: Do you, or does someone in your household have a second conventionally- powered vehicle?

Chris: Yes, my partner does have a gas-powered vehicle that we drive when we need to go a longer distance. As I said before, the miles-per-charge is definitely something we have to keep in mind in planning any kind of long driving duration.

TN: In the future, would you consider buying another electric/hybrid vehicle?

Chris: Yes, definitely! I look forward to more infrastructure development on the East Coast like Tesla has done along the West Coast. This has been my only real disappointment with the LEAF thus far – most grocery stores and shopping malls have not yet installed charging stations, and when a valet does leave the vehicle running, it puts a serious damper on traveling.

TN: Have you had any issues with your LEAF as far as normal operation and maintenance are concerned? If so, please explain.

Chris: No, not really. There is supposed to be a tire pressure assist mechanism where the car beeps at you when the pressure is correct and I have tried several times to figure this out – it has never worked for me. Also, I get the Nissan LEAF owner’s newsletter and in there it was reported that the battery on the LEAF was dying much faster than expected. Because of this, Nissan is offering a replacement battery for owners who battery dies within a certain mileage limit. This is really quite nice of Nissan!

TN: What would you say to other people contemplating buying a Nissan LEAF or other electric/hybrid vehicle?

Chris: I would just tell them to keep in mind that you may need another car in your family for longer trips, and be prepared to be approached by random strangers asking about your spiffy car, and trust no valets – they have no idea how to turn an all-electric car on or off!

TN: Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with your Nissan LEAF with our readers, Chris.

So, there you have it – the Nissan LEAF is making energy efficient, green lifestyles affordable for everyone. If you’re interested in test driving the 100% Electric Nissan LEAF, be sure to click the link below to schedule a test, and be sure to let us know what your thoughts/opinions on the LEAF are in the comments below. We always appreciate your feedback!

*image courtesy of The Digitel Myrtle Beach on Flickr.com

Owners Tell Us All About the 100% Electric Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

A few months ago, we wrote a piece about the LEAF – the 100% electric vehicle from Nissan – and we were recently fortunate enough to be able to talk to two LEAF owners about their experience moving away from gasoline dependence and into a greener lifestyle!

Dave is a 55-year-old astrophysicist from Ellicott City, MD, with a strong interest in planet-friendly technology. Over the past year-and-a-half, he and his wife have taken great strides to switch their lifestyle over to renewable energies, including a geothermal heating and air conditioning system, installing solar panels on the roof of their home and, of course, purchasing a Nissan LEAF.

Tischer Nissan (TN): What are the main reasons you decided to buy a Nissan LEAF?

Dave:  The LEAF is eco-friendly, quiet and comfortable, technically simple and easy to maintain. I love the fact that I don’t have to wait in gas lines. I’m often asked about the car’s acceleration and ability to drive at highway speeds. No problem! In fact, the acceleration is impressive. The car handles well and easily keeps up with other cars on the highway.

TN: How long have you owned your Nissan LEAF?

Dave: I purchased my LEAF back in February of 2012.

TN: Were you interested in environmental issues, energy efficiency and other green living initiatives before buying the LEAF?

Dave: Yes. I’ve been interested in energy-efficient technology for a long time, and I’m concerned about global climate change. We installed a geothermal heating and air conditioning system in October 2011, when our conventional HVAC system was approaching the end of its life expectancy. I’ve wanted to own an electric car for many years, but it only just became affordable with current tax incentives and the price-point of the LEAF.

TN: Have you had to make any behavioral changes to your driving habits, commute or travel routine as a result of owning your LEAF?

Dave: Driving an all-electric car forces one to plan ahead before hopping in the car. My daily commute to work is routine and did not have to be altered. However, when I tack on an errand or drive to an unfamiliar place, I find it necessary to calculate the mileage before I drive. We’re a two-car family, and my wife’s car – a hybrid – is used for long trips. I’ve chosen not to rely on public charging stations, but over time I may find them convenient. I charge the car each night in my garage, and the battery capacity is sufficient for a typical workday.

TN: Does owning a LEAF lock you into a set of choices regarding where you live, work, shop, travel, etc.?

Dave: I wouldn’t have purchased the car if it would have forced me to compromise on my typical daily driving, and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone if it would force a lifestyle change. The LEAF works for me, but it’s clearly not suitable for everyone. I’m looking forward to better and cheaper batteries, a proliferation of public charging stations, and quick charging that doesn’t degrade battery lifetime. On rare occasions, I’ve found it necessary to forego a trip to the mall or an extra errand, but advance planning has kept these inconveniences to a minimum.

TN: How many miles do you put on your LEAF in an average week? Are those miles consumed mostly by a commute or several small trips around town?

Dave: In an average week, I usually put about 200 miles on the car. Most of the mileage is for commuting, but I also use the car to run planned errands and take my son and his friends to extracurricular events.

TN: Do you, or does someone in your household have a second conventionally-powered vehicle?

Dave: Yes, we also own a fuel-efficient, hybrid gas-electric Toyota Camry. We use the second car for long trips, my wife’s commute, and relatively-long local drives. Unfortunately, we just can’t get by with only a LEAF in our family.

TN: In the future, would you consider buying another electric/hybrid vehicle?

Dave: Yes, the LEAF has met or surpassed all of my expectations. I’d definitely buy another electric vehicle someday, but I’m hoping that day will be a long way off [laughs].

TN: Have you had any issues with your LEAF as far as normal operation and maintenance are concerned? If so, please explain.

Dave: The only maintenance required so far (12,000 miles) has been a tire rotation. I’ll soon take the car in for a 15,000 checkup. I have only one significant concern, and that is poor visibility to the left from the driver’s seat at an intersection.

TN: What would you say to other people contemplating buying a Nissan LEAF or other electric/hybrid vehicle?

Dave: I would highly recommend an electric vehicle to anyone whose lifestyle would not be significantly compromised if they were to buy one. It works well in a two-car family if at least one of the commuters can make the round trip on a single charge with about 20 miles to spare at the end of the day. Be aware that the Li-ion (lithium ion) batteries are happiest when they’re charged to 80% of their capacity, not 100%. At 80% charge, the capacity can be as low as 65 miles in cold weather.

TN: Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with your Nissan LEAF with our readers, Dave.

Come back next week for our second interview on the impact the Nissan LEAF is having on owners looking to be, and save, a little more green!

If you’re interested in test driving the 100% electric Nissan LEAF for yourself, be sure to click the link below to schedule a test drive, and be sure to let us know what your thoughts/opinions on the LEAF are in the comments below. We always appreciate your feedback!

Schedule Your Test-drive Today!

*image courtesy of safercar.gov