In an effort to speak knowledgeably about the cars we sell, we at Tischer continue to receive training sessions on the current Nissan models. Yes, even as adults, we still “go to school.” During our most recent session led by our favorite trainer, Kevin Minné, we gathered around to discuss the features of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder as compared to the 2014 Toyota Highlander.
Here are the top advantages the Pathfinder holds over the Highlander:
1. SUV vs. Crossover. The Pathfinder is an SUV—not a crossover like the Highlander. This is deliberate on the part of Nissan as many customers still want towing and off-road capabilities typically seen in an SUV, while still maintaining the family-friendly appeal of a crossover.
2. Towing capacity. As per Ward’s Large Cross/Utility Market segmentation, the Pathfinder has several best-in-class features that make this model a standout among the competition. One of those features is standard maximum towing of 5000 lbs.
3. Interior comfort. The Pathfinder and Highlander both offer seating for 7. With the choice of a 2nd-row beach seat or captain’s chairs, the Highlander can even offer seating for up to 8. Both vehicles also have 3 rows. However, the Pathfinder has best-in-class front head room, front leg room, passenger room and best-in-class roominess. Also, class-exclusive reclining 3rd-row seats are standard on the Pathfinder. And while your guests are nestled comfortably inside the Pathfinder, there’s still a bit more cargo space behind the 3rd row compared to the Highlander.
4. EZ Flex™ Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE Technology. As we mentioned above, the Pathfinder offers reclining 3rd-row seats. The spacious 2nd-row moves forward and backward up to 5½ inches for excellent access to the 3rd-row even with a CRS (child safety seat) in place.
5. Driving modes. While the Highlander offers 2WD and Dynamic Torque Control All-Wheel Drive (AWD), the Pathfinder offers a more versatile 4WD system. Pathfinder drivers can choose their drive mode (2WD, 4WD, or Auto Mode/4x4i) depending on terrain and conditions with the easy turn of a dial.No other SUV in this class gives you these types of choices.
6. Smoother ride. According to Joe Bruzek of Cars.com, “An adverse effect of the Highlander’s newfound dynamics is a choppier ride over rough roads. After driving 2013 and 2014 models, I could tell the 2014 transmits more road imperfections through the chassis and into seats…”. Thanks to the Pathfinder’s class-exclusive Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), the metal drive chain (which eliminates gears) transfers power from the engine to the wheels far more effectively and smoothly while also improving fuel economy!
7. Safety features. If you do any research on the Highlander, you’ll learn that it offers 8 standard airbags (compared to the Pathfinder’s 6) and has Toyota’s Star Safety System. However, the Pathfinder has all the same standard safety features included in Highlander’s Star Safety System as well as a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with available individual tire locations and pressures and standard Easy-Fill Tire Alert (another class-exclusive feature). Plus, just like the Highlander, the Pathfinder received a 5-star safety rating from IIHS.
8. Monitors. The Highlander has RearView Monitor, but the Pathfinder offers available RearView Monitor and an available class-exclusive Around View® Monitor. Using four cameras, AVM creates a composite image of the 2014 Pathfinder from above and displays it on the touch-screen monitor. This helps visually confirm the vehicle’s position relative to the lines around parking spaces and adjacent objects, allowing the driver to maneuver into parking spots with more ease.
9. Climate control. The Highlander and Pathfinder both offer climate control features. However, the Highlander’s system is ventilated; there’s simply a fan that circulates ambient air. The Pathfinder’s system can actually adjust the interior temperature.
10. Little details. We see many customers checking out what might be considered seemingly insignificant details that actually impact their day-to-day car activities in a big way. These “little things” hold tremendous influence for the customer when making a car purchase. For example:
- The Pathfinder has a roomier glove box than the Highlander.
- Both models have storage space in the console area, yet the Highlander offers a top tray that must be removed to access deep lower storage compared to the Pathfinder’s integrated dual-level tray and shallower lower storage compartment.
- The Highlander’s rear liftgate glass can open, but when closing it must align the rear wiper motor pin with its plug, compared to the Pathfinder’s power liftgate.
- Both models offer Intelligent Key, but the Pathfinder keyfob has a more upscale appearance and a remote start button.
- Both models have under-floor cargo storage. However, the lid to this compartment must be pinned back on the Highlander compared to the Pathfinder’s lid that stays open or shut as needed.
Of course, you might be thinking that we’re a little biased towards the Pathfinder—and you would be right! So if you don’t want to take our word for it, allow these Pathfinder accolades (as seen below) to speak for themselves.
“The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is squarely in the sweet spot of the mid-size crossover world: a large three-row vehicle that can carry seven people, with car-like ride and handling, optimized for use on suburban pavement and—to a lesser degree—curvy back roads and muddy athletic fields or graveled parking lots…Travelers will find the Pathfinder’s ride smooth and refined, even on long trips.” John Voelcker, thecarconnection.com
“Inside, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder offers an attractive cabin with high-quality materials that giv it a decidedly premium look, especially in the top Platinum trim level. Even with its long list of feeatures, gauges and controls are easy to see and operate. We’re especially fond of the touchscreen electronics interface. There’s nothing particularly flashy about it, but it’s very easy to use and offers helpful redundant controls.
Both front- and second-row occupants will find their seats comfortable and supportive…And unlike the third-row seats in some competitors, the Nissan Pathfinder’s rearmost seat has enough headroom to accommodate adults up to 6-feet tall.” Edmunds.com
If you’re in the market for a new car and the qualities of the Pathfinder are appealing to you, we invite you to come on over and check out the Pathfinder in person. Click on the button below to schedule a test drive. Thanks for stopping by our blog, and we hope you’ll stop by our dealership next!
*Pathfinder images courtesy of NissanUSA