Four months ago, we inquired about the fate of the Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid.
That version of the popular seven-seat family SUV, with a 2.5-liter four and a mild-hybrid system replacing the usual 3.5-liter V-6, had launched as a 2014 model.
We weren't impressed with the car, either in prototype form or on the road, and we noticed it didn't reappear for the 2015 model year.
DON'T MISS: Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Missing In Action, Or Just Slow-Selling? (Feb 2015)
Now we have our answer: The Pathfinder Hybrid "is no longer available," according to the Nissan website--nor is its Infiniti QX60 Hybrid sibling.
[UPDATE: We received more information on the Infiniti hybrid; see page 2 of this article.]
Instead, the site goes on to note, "The legendary gas-fuelled [sic] Pathfinder still offers everything you are looking for: style, spaciousness, performance, and efficiency."
And, it adds, "The revolutionary Nissan Leaf, the best-selling electric vehicle in history, is also available if ultra-efficiency is your goal."
2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Platinum 4x4, upstate New York, Dec 2013
We're skeptical that anyone would cross-shop a seven-seat family SUV and a four- to five-passenger battery-electric hatchback with 84 miles of range, but it's nice to see Nissan promoting its most advanced vehicle.
Still, the departure of Pathfinder Hybrid after a single model year is unusual--even if Green Car Reports, among others, found that the vehicle failed to meet its 26-mpg combined EPA rating during a lengthy real-world winter test. (The V-6 Pathfinder comes in at 21 mpg combined with all-wheel drive, 22 mpg with front-wheel drive.)
We asked Nissan for a Pathfinder Hybrid last summer to repeat the test in warmer weather, which is usually kinder to hybrid fuel efficiency, but the company declined to make one available.
ALSO SEE: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Gas Mileage Test Disappointing (Feb 2014)
We reached out to Nissan to ask why the Pathfinder Hybrid had been withdrawn, and how many had been delivered in its single year on sale.
Dan Passe, senior communications manager at Nissan North America, responded with the following statement:
Pathfinder Hybrid is no longer on sale at Nissan dealers. Nissan is focusing its manufacturing, marketing, and dealer resources on the 3.5-liter V6-powered Pathfinder, which achieves up to 27 highway miles per gallon.
2015 Nissan Pathfinder
2015 Nissan Pathfinder
The 3.5-liter V6-powered Pathfinder delivers the balance of fuel economy and performance expected by customers in this segment – and [that] contributed to the Nissan Group being named as the most fuel efficient full-line automaker in the United States, according to the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "Trends" Report.
He also noted that Nissan does not break out hybrid sales from the Pathfinder total (at least for public consumption, we surmise). So, he said, the number of Pathfinder Hybrids actually sold was "unfortunately" not available.
MORE: 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid: Is It Hybrid Enough To Matter? (Nov 2013)
As for the Pathfinder Hybrid's sibling, the Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, it too seems to be a one-year-only model.
The 2015 Infiniti QX60 website shows only two powertrain configurations, both with the same 3.5-liter V-6 and CVT that are used in the 2015 Pathfinder.
All mention of the 2014 QX60 Hybrid, in fact, has now been scrubbed from Infiniti's online marketing.
2014 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid - Driven, August 2014
UPDATE: After this article was published on July 1st, we received the following additional information from Infiniti USA:
We base our production upon retailer orders and consumer demand worldwide. The Infiniti QX60 remains in production for several global markets, including China and Mexico.
For the United States, while the QX60 Hybrid continues to be available at some retailers across the country, our production is currently focused on the QX60 3.5 model. If consumer interest for the QX60 Hybrid increases with fuel prices in this market, we have the manufacturing ability to make them available.
While we are currently not producing them for the U.S. market–due to consumer demand–the vehicle has not been cancelled or discontinued, and is still being built, for other markets. There is inventory still available at some Infiniti retailers here in the States.
Assessing the rare SUV pair, we suggest that buyers approach purchase of either a hybrid Pathfinder or a hybrid QX60 with caution.
Hybrids sold in low numbers, especially those available only for a single year, may be unfamiliar to dealers and service departments in some areas.
Down the road, they could present service challenges--as with some of the other vehicles we cited three years ago in an article on used hybrids to consider steering clear of.
CHECK OUT: Five Used Hybrid Cars To Consider Steering Clear Of (Jul 2012)
We look forward, however, to Nissan's upcoming plug-in hybrid system, which is said to be based on the much stronger and more electric powertrain of the Leaf.
That system seems likely to provide the all-electric running that the two mild-hybrid SUVs so conspicuously lacked.