Class: Midsize Crossover
Miles driven: 308
Fuel used: 14.7 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||284-hp 3.5-liter|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Real-world fuel economy: 20.9 mpg
Driving mix: 20% city, 80% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/26/22 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular
Base price: $35,960 (not including $1045 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Roof-rack cross bars ($395), premium paint ($395), Rock Creek Edition appearance package ($995), carpeted floor mats ($300), SV Rock Creek Edition Tech Package ($980)
Price as tested: $40,070
The great: Ride quality, value
The good: Room and comfort
The not so good: Fuel economy
With its latest update being a freshening for 2017, Nissan’s midsize Pathfinder may seem to be behind the times, as many of its chief rivals have been fully redesigned that year or in the years since. But that doesn’t mean the Pathfinder is antiquated. Or at least, not in a bad way.
One recent industry trend we can’t sign on to is the move away from traditional knobs and buttons for most infotainment and climate controls. While the sheer volume of them required with today’s expanding technologies encourages at least some to be in layers on a touchscreen, many companies have taken it too far, moving to nearly all-encompassing touchscreen controls that mimic those of a smartphone. But have you ever watched someone using a smartphone? Their eyes never leave the thing. Which is fine unless they’re also trying to do something else. Like … oh … driving.
Such is not a problem with the Pathfinder, which has gloriously old-fashioned buttons and knobs in abundance, plus the ability to select 36 “favorite” presets of mixed bands with virtual screen buttons. So let’s mark that as a positive.
It also has fairly good visibility all around, with third-row headrests that fold down to clear the view straight back.
And you really can’t complain about passenger, cabin-storage, or cargo space, all of which at least match if not top the class norm. We found the front “Zero Gravity” seats to be particularly comfortable, and the rear seat offered ample legroom even with the seat ahead fully rearward along with a flat floor (great for center-passenger foot space), climate controls, and USB/USB-c ports. Furthermore, the third row was easy to access via a large portal created by easily sliding the second-row seat forward, and my 5’9 frame fit quite nicely. Cabin storage included a large glovebox, a decent-size console box with 12-volt/Aux/video/2 USB/SD card plug-ins, a forward console tray under 12-volt/USB/USB-c plugs, and slim side-console bins. Cargo room in back was good, and it augmented with a huge underfloor bin.
Although there’s nothing really “high-tech” about the 284-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, it’s potent enough and very well behaved. The CVT automatic transmission may seem to be more modern, and it works better in this union than in many others, with good off-the-line snap and quick kickdown response. Our test Pathfinder averaged 7.82 seconds in the 0-60 dash – nothing special but not bad, either – though the 20.9 mpg it returned in 80 percent highway driving was a just a bit disappointing. Included with the all-wheel -drive system is a Lock setting that helps in deep snow, a nice — and unusual — touch. The suspension favored ride over handling, absorbing bumps well but with a touch of wallow over swells.
The Pathfinder is also not lacking in feature availability. Our test Rock Creek Edition – a new $995 trim package for 2020 that brings unique wheels, trim, and a tow hitch for 6000-lb towing capacity – included 8-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, heated front seats/steering wheel/ouside mirrors, keyless access and starting, adaptive cruise control, individual tire-pressure readouts with Easy Fill Tire Alert (sounds a beep while inflating tires when proper pressure is reached), and auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink transmitter. On the safety front, it offered forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot and rear-cross-traffic alert, and rear obstacle detection. As many of the options were of the dress-up variety, our tester proved that a very well-equipped Pathfinder could be had for well under $40,000 — kind of a bargain these days.
Sometimes perfectly good vehicles get lost in the haze of “New and Improved!” proclamations. Pathfinder seems to be one of them. So if you’re focused on 3-row midsize crossovers, this is one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
2019 Nissan Pathfinder