Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Missing In Action, Or Just Slow-Selling?

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2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, Irvine, CA, Aug 2013

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, Irvine, CA, Aug 2013

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The Nissan Pathfinder crossover utility vehicle seems to be doing well for Nissan, following its 2013 reinvention as a seven-seat family vehicle rather than the tough truck-based 4x4 that had previously defined the Pathfinder name.

There's one model of the Pathfinder, however, that seems to be missing in action.

DON'T MISS: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Gas Mileage Test Disappointing (Feb 2014)

That's the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid, launched for the 2014 model year.

It replaces the standard Pathfinder's 3.5-liter V-6 with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 25-kilowatt (34-horsepower) electric motor.

The resulting mild hybrid can't move away from a stop under electric power alone, but the hybrid system is meant to recapture energy and use it to supplement the output of the smaller gasoline engine.

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

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While the conventional Pathfinder is now offered as a 2015 model, the company's website still lists the Pathfinder Hybrid as a 2014.

So we asked Nissan whether the model was continuing, whether it would be updated for the 2015 model year, or whether perhaps it was being dropped from the lineup.

Nissan's senior manager for corporate communications, Brian Brockman, responded: "The 2014 model is still available at Nissan dealers. We have made no announcements on availability for 2015 model year."

ALSO SEE: Five Used Hybrid Cars To Consider Steering Clear Of (Jul 2012)

That rather begged a further question: How well has the Pathfinder Hybrid sold to date?

Brockman responded, "We don't release sales figures of that model separately."

So there you have it: The Pathfinder Hybrid is still on sale, but as last year's model, and Nissan won't say how many the company has sold.

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

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We drove the Pathfinder Hybrid over a long holiday weekend slightly more than a year ago, and came away less than impressed.

Its fuel economy failed to reach the EPA combined rating of 26 mpg--we were fully 25 percent lower at 19.5 mpg--although our test was conducted in cold Northeastern winter weather.

When we asked last summer to retest the Pathfinder Hybrid in more temperate weather, Nissan no longer had any of the vehicles in its media fleets.

MORE: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Is It Hybrid Enough To Matter? (Nov 2013)

The Patfhinder Hybrid's sibling, the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid (nee JX) also seems to be at best a minor presence as well.

Nissan's luxury brand doesn't break out its sales either, although at least a 2015 QX60 Hybrid is offered on the company's website.

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013

Enlarge Photo

Meanwhile, we'll be curious to see if a 2015 Pathfinder Hybrid ever arrives, or the company offers a 2016 model--or none at all.

Stay tuned.

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