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The Nissan Pathfinder seven-seater unibody SUV has been updated for the 2017 model year, and leading the changes is the significantly-revised VQ35DD 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine which now gains electromagnetic valve timing control (e-VTC) and direct injection – resulting in output increases to 284 hp and 351 Nm of torque, up 24 hp and 26 Nm from before.

Despite the increased power and torque, fuel economy is unchanged from before, rated at 11.7 litres per 100 km in the city, 8.7 litres per 100 km highway, and 10.7 litres per 100 km combined for the front-wheel-drive model. Maximum towing capacity grows from 2,270 kg to 2,724 kg, making it the best-in-class by that measure, claims Nissan.

Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive is optional, matched to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). The front and rear dampers are stiffer by 11% and 7% respectively, and rebound springs have been added to the front suspension struts. The electrically-assisted power steering setup has been quickened by 11%.

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New to the Pathfinder is a motion-activated tailgate, which allows hands-free operation by the user waving their foot beneath the rear bumper. Inside, the EZ Flex seating system is carried over, which helps the second row of seats tilt and slide forward for access to the third row of seats.

On the exterior, the Pathfinder has received visual updates front and rear, including a more angular V-motion grille, new LED headlights with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights, redesigned front and rear bumpers, revised tail lights, wing mirror-mounted indicators and new 18- and 20-inch alloy wheel designs. The interior also gains a redesigned transmission tunnel, new fabric seat materials and trim finishers.

Meanwhile, the new standard-fit eight-inch touchscreen receives the latest NissanConnect infotainment software, while the Advanced Drive-Assist Display (ADAD) multi-info display in the instrument cluster features additional infotainment and driver assistance displays. The Family Entertainment System at the rear also gains new twin eight-inch QHD monitors and HDMI and USB inputs.

The 2017 update also adds Moving Object Detection to the Around View Monitor (AVM), as well as blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert. The new NissanConnect Navigation with voice control is standard on the range-topping Platinum variant, and optional on the SV and SL variants – as are the NissanConnect Services range of emergency and concierge features.

Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, vehicle dynamic control (VDC) and traction control. New to the 2017 model is the optional Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) and Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC) systems. Four trim levels are available – S, SV, SL and Platinum, with all-wheel-drive available as an option on each one. Prices will be released closer to when the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder later this year.