Ancira Nissan Compares 2017 Nissan Pathfinder VS 2016 Lexus GX460 Near San Antonio, TX

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder

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VS

2016 Lexus GX460

Safety Comparison

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the Pathfinder uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the Pathfinder and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pathfinder the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 96 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GX460 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 5 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pathfinder’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the Pathfinder’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The GX460’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the GX460’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Pathfinder has a standard 150-amp alternator. The GX460’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Pathfinder 4x4 gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (19 city/26 hwy vs. 15 city/20 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Pathfinder uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GX460 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pathfinder stops much shorter than the GX460:

Pathfinder

GX460

70 to 0 MPH

170 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

117 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Pathfinder Platinum’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pathfinder Platinum has standard 20-inch wheels. The GX460’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Pathfinder has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GX460 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Nissan Pathfinder has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pathfinder’s wheelbase is 4.4 inches longer than on the GX460 (114.2 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pathfinder is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than on the GX460.

The Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 handles at .76 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Pathfinder’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the GX460’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Nissan Pathfinder may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 850 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction makes the Pathfinder’s chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The GX460 doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

The design of the Nissan Pathfinder amounts to more than styling. The Pathfinder has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .326 Cd. That is lower than the GX460 (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Pathfinder get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pathfinder has 28.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GX460 (157.8 vs. 129.7).

The Pathfinder has 4.2 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more front hip room, 5.3 inches more front shoulder room, 7.6 inches more rear legroom, .9 inches more rear hip room, 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.6 inches more third row headroom, 1.4 inches more third row legroom and 2.6 inches more third row shoulder room than the GX460.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pathfinder’s middle and third row seats recline. The GX460’s third row seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Pathfinder is 2.8 inches lower than the GX460 (18.9” vs. 21.7”). The Pathfinder’s rear step up height is 2.5 inches lower than the GX460’s (19.5” vs. 22”).

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Pathfinder’s cargo area provides more volume than the GX460.

Pathfinder

GX460

Behind Third Seat

16 cubic feet

11.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

79.8 cubic feet

64.7 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Pathfinder easier. The Pathfinder’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.5 inches, while the GX460’s liftover is 33.8 inches.

The Pathfinder’s cargo area is larger than the GX460’s in almost every dimension:

Pathfinder

GX460

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

9.8”/39”/75”

Min Width

45.4”

43.4”

The Pathfinder’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The GX460’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Pathfinder’s cargo door can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Pathfinder also SL/Platinum has a standard power cargo door, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Ergonomics Comparison

If the front windows are left down on the Pathfinder the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the GX460 can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pathfinder’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GX460’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pathfinder is less expensive to operate than the GX460 because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pathfinder than the GX460, including $106 less for a water pump, $431 less for a starter, $37 less for fuel injection, $115 less for a fuel pump, $191 less for a timing belt/chain and $86 less for a power steering pump.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Pathfinder will be $12317 to $14757 less than for the Lexus GX460.

Recommendations Comparison

The Nissan Pathfinder won three awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Lexus GX460 didn't win any award.

The Nissan Pathfinder outsold the Lexus GX460 by over three to one during 2015.

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