If you won't settle for anything but five-star safety in your family vehicle, you now have another option: the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder.
The Pathfinder was tested this past month by the federal government, and it steps up its safety ratings in the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)--from an overall four stars for the 2013 Pathfinder up to five stars for the 2014 model.
Does that mean the 2014 Pathfinder is safer than the 2013 model? Our short answer is probably not; that's because results for the freshly redesigned 2013 Pathfinder had been extended from the 2013 Infiniti JX35 (now called the Infiniti QX60 for 2014), a vehicle that's closely related structurally but might be somewhat different in protection due to weight differences and subtleties like interior trim and panels.
Up close, the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder earned excellent five-star results for side-impact occupant protection—and in all side-impact subcategories, like the side pole test. In frontal impact, the driver rating (based on cash-test-dummy force measurements) for the Pathfinder is four stars (versus five for the JX), while the Pathfinder gets a better five stars for the passenger.
The current-generation Pathfinder carries over with incomplete ratings so far from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—including top 'good' ratings, although only in the moderate overlap frontal and side impact tests.
As we say in our full review of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, its imperfect array of test results in federal ratings and incomplete set of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests keep the Pathfinder from doing better than an '8' on our scale at this time. If it can earn a Top Safety Pick+ accolade from the IIHS, we'd then be likely to call this vehicle out as one of the safest picks in its class.
As always we encourage anyone looking for a safe family vehicle to thoroughly check available safety ratings, both from the federal government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). You'll find this information and more in our full review pages, including those on the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder.
(c) 2014, High Gear Media.