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2019 Nissan Pathfinder

$31,530 - $44,560
Price Range (MSRP)
Nissan Pathfinder

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Review: Average At Best

by Gabe Beita Kiser

While the original Nissan Pathfinder was a rugged and competent body-on-frame SUV, the 2019 Pathfinder has been more closely refined for city living. Capable of seating seven, the unibody crossover SUV offers adequate, but unremarkable, performance with its 284 horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. It sacrifices its hardy, athletic heritage in exchange for more comfort and daily usability, boasting a more cultured continuously variable transmission. With a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS under its belt, this SUV is a great family car with a competitive $31,530 starting price tag; but this isn't really enough to compete with more modern rivals like the Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot. Even with its 2017 refurbishments, the Nissan Pathfinder feels dated in almost every regard, lacking the features that many have come to expect from modern SUVs, especially family-oriented vehicles.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Pathfinder?

Last reworked in 2017, the Pathfinder only receives minor changes for 2019. Rear parking sensors have become standard, along with the addition of two type-C USB ports. The SV trim is now equipped with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, while the SL and Platinum trims come with upgraded LED headlamps. Mocha Almond Pearl body paint has also been added to the color palette for this year.

Pros and Cons

  • Flush with standard features
  • Well-designed, well-built interior
  • Excellent towing capacity for the segment
  • Very high safety ratings
  • Affordable
  • Subpar performance and handling
  • Doesn't live up to EPA estimates
  • Rear seats are cramped
  • Less cargo capacity than rivals

Pathfinder Exterior

A unibody design gives the Pathfinder more contemporary crossover styling than the old truck-based variants, making it more stylish and less rugged. It rides on 18-inch alloy wheels, with 20-inch alloys available on higher trims. The Nissan grille and metal V-frame take up most of the front fascia, with compact halogen headlights - fog lights and LED headlights are equipped to higher trim levels. LED daytime running lights are standard, while a moonroof is installed on higher trim levels. Dual power mirrors with LED turning indicators and a roof rail are also equipped standard.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Front Angle View
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Front View
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Front Angle View
See All 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Pathfinder features body dimensions that are entirely average for the crossover segment, measuring in at 198.5 inches long, 77.3 inches wide, and 70.6 inches tall, closely matching rivals like the Highlander or Pilot. Its wheelbase, however, is slightly longer than average at 114.2 inches. With a curb weight of 4,293 lbs on the base S trim, the Pathfinder is on the heavier side of things compared to its rivals, while the Platinum trim maxes out at a hefty 4,525 lbs. With a low-riding chassis, the SUV only clears the ground by seven inches, meaning it won't handle rocky off-road terrain as well as some of the segment leaders or Pathfinders of years gone by.

Exterior Colors

The color palette for the Nissan Pathfinder is adequate, though not extensive. The standard choices for the base S model comprise Magnetic Black Pearl, Brilliant Silver Metallic, Gun Metallic, Glacier White, and Caspian Blue Metallic. The SV adds Midnight Pine Metallic to the standard offering, while Scarlet Ember Tintcoat and Pearl White Tricoat make up the $395 premium choices. The new color addition of Mocha Almond Pearl is limited to the SL and Platinum trims but fortunately doesn't cost extra.

  • Mocha Almond Pearl
  • Midnight Pine Metallic
  • Magnetic Black Pearl
  • Caspian Blue Metallic
  • Brilliant Silver Metallic
  • Gun Metallic
  • Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
  • Pearl White Tricoat
  • Glacier White

Pathfinder Performance

The Pathfinder offers middling performance, not disappointing in any particular area, but not excelling either. The torquey V6 engine gives the SUV adequate acceleration and passing power, despite the vehicle's bulk. This is largely thanks to the car's well-refined CVT gearbox. While the Honda Pilot may achieve faster 0 to 60 times, the four-wheel-drive Pathfinder's 7.4 seconds isn't that far behind, and it's on par with Toyota's Highlander. Where Nissan's offering does excel, however, is its towing capacity, with an admirable 6,000 lbs max capacity. This is a fair amount more than most rivals in the segment. While front-wheel-drive is standard across the range, four-wheel-drive is available on even the base model, and improves performance figures slightly, even though it increases the SUV's already hefty weight.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Front Angle View
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rear View Driving
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Engine Bay

Engine and Transmission

Only one engine is offered with the Pathfinder range, a 24-valve V6 that displaces 3.5 liters to produce 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. This is paired with a sophisticated CVT gearbox and a front-wheel drivetrain. Four-wheel-drive is offered on every model.

Although this V6 engine offers high output figures, it doesn't seem to perform that well in the Pathfinder, providing acceleration that pales in comparison to the similarly powered Honda Pilot. This isn't to say that the Pathfinder is slow, but it isn't on par with segment leaders either. On the plus side, the CVT equipped to this SUV is one of the best on the market, offering intuitive and smooth shifts that really help this lumbering vehicle feel more agile on the road. Passing on the highway is possible, but the engine will drone loudly when pushed into a high power band. It's quite a pity that the entire powertrain doesn't match up to the level of refinement evident in the transmission.

  • Engine
    3.5-liter V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Nissan Pathfinder is not designed for an athletic driving experience. Its inability to capitalize on its powerful engine, and its excessive weight, make it feel a little sluggish on the road. Driving around town, by comparison, is a breeze with adequate acceleration and good low-speed handling. Despite its size, the Pathfinder is easy to steer thanks to a high level of steering assistance, but this reduces communication significantly, and the resistance caused by the wheel aggressively re-centering itself can be annoying. The brakes are talkative, at least, and provide impressive stopping power for a vehicle of this size, bringing it to a halt from 60 mph in just 124 ft.

At higher speeds, the mediocre handling becomes much more noticeable, with the enormous SUV significantly leaning into turns. The light steering only exacerbates this, although the stability control kicks in early as the exaggerated body roll easily threatens to pull things off course. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder rides a bit on the stiff side, especially if you opt for the 20-inch wheels, meaning that anything other than a smooth surface can quickly ruin ride quality. At least the cabin is predominantly comfortable, and it does a good job of dampening noise.

Overall, the Nissan Pathfinder doesn't handle poorly, offering decent daily driving dynamics, but it doesn't outshine its rivals by any stretch of the imagination. Many other SUVs provide similar or better performance while improving comfort and offering superior handling characteristics.

Pathfinder Gas Mileage

As is typical with SUVs, the Pathfinder boasts a large gas tank, capable of storing 19.5 gallons of regular gasoline. It also has pretty good city/highway/combined EPA estimates of 20/27/23 mpg on the front-wheel-drive, while the four-wheel-drive has slightly lower estimates of 19/26/22 mpg. In theory, this makes the Pathfinder one of the segment leaders in terms of fuel economy, with an estimated range of 448 miles before needing to refuel. However, real-world testing has proven that the Pathfinder does not live up to these promises. Its actual fuel economy is estimated to be on par with most rivals, which leaves it somewhere in between good and bad.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/27 mpg
* 2019 Nissan Pathfinder S FWD

Pathfinder Interior

The Nissan Pathfinder offers an interior that certainly looks good - at least at first. Upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that it lacks in quality. The seats are not as comfortable as one would expect from this comfort-focused segment, and there is no power-adjustability on the base trim. At higher trim levels, ventilated front seats become available while heating is offered for the front and middle rows. The accessory controls are easy to use, but they do feel a bit cluttered on the dash and steering wheel. The infotainment screen is responsive; sadly, it looks somewhat old-fashioned, and navigating the menus can get complicated. The lack of smartphone integration in the form of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay is a big drawback and a glaring oversight for this segment.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Dashboard
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Central Console
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Screens
See All 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Pathfinder can technically seat seven, but taller adults will struggle to fit in the middle row, while the third row can barely fit smaller children. Headroom from front to middle to rear is 42.2 inches, 39.4 inches, and 37.8 inches, respectively. Similarly, the legroom is 42.2 inches, 41.7 inches, and only 30.7 inches for the third-row seats, with the rearmost seats not at all suitable for adult occupants. Making matters worse is the contortion act needed to access them- vastly more difficult than the effort required in rival seven-seaters. While the front seats can seat the more vertically-advantaged users, the driving position is not easily adjustable for particularly tall or short drivers, despite the standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power-adjustability on the higher trim levels. Luckily, a rearview camera is standard, with a surround-view camera available on the upper trims, so that visibility can be maintained despite poor seating or a fully laden cargo area.

  • Seating capacity
    7-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

On the S and SV trims, Charcoal cloth upholstery comes standard, paired with a Piano Black trim. The SL upgrades the upholstery to leather, offering Charcoal or Almond color palettes paired with metallic trim. Rock Creek leather is available with the Rock Creek Package. Charcoal or Almond perforated leather upholstery comes standard with the Platinum trim, paired with wood-tone highlights. The cabin feels well-built and looks good, but there is still a lot of hard plastic used throughout, most prevalent in the rear.

Pathfinder Trunk and Cargo Space

Cargo capacity in the Pathfinder is a mixed bag. With all the seats raised, 16.2 cubic feet of space is available behind the third row. This is enough space to fit all your grocery shopping comfortably, and is on par with some rivals, while larger than others. The second-row seats fold down in a 60/40 split, and the third row in a 50/50 split, to increase total cargo capacity to 78.9 cubic feet. This is smaller than top rivals like the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.

Small-item storage is pretty typical for the segment, with plenty of nooks and crannies around the cabin for sunglasses, cell phones, and the like in the form of trays, a glove compartment, cupholders, and door pockets. The second row offers both cup holders and door pockets with bottle holders, while the third row provides only cup holders.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Maximum Cargo Space
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Trunk Floor Storage
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rear Angle View

Pathfinder Infotainment and Features

Features

The Nissan Pathfinder offers a fair number of features, even in its base model, but many of these feel dated compared to rivals. Standard on every model is keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, rear door alert, and an advanced drive-assist display. The SV improves this offering to adaptive cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and a 120-volt power outlet. The SL offers heated seats and exterior mirrors, as well as a heated steering wheel. A motion-activated liftgate is also equipped to the trunk for convenience. The top-tier Platinum trim installs a dual-panel moonroof and adds climate control to the front seats. The manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel is also upgraded to power-adjustability.

Driver aids comprise a rearview camera, hill start assist, and hill descent control on the front-wheel-drive as standard. The SV adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the SL adds a surround-view camera.

Infotainment

The infotainment in the Pathfinder is functional, though a bit dated. An eight-inch NissanConnect touchscreen display takes center stage, and the system provides for AM/FM Radio, HD Radio, SiriusXM, a six-speaker sound system, an auxiliary audio input jack, and six USB ports in total. Bluetooth calling and audio stream are standard features. Nissan Navigation, NissanConnect Services, SiriusXM traffic, and a Homelink transceiver are added with the SL trim, while the Platinum trim upgrades the sound system to a 13-speaker Bose audio setup. The available Nissan Mobile Entertainment System Package installs eight-inch displays with DVD playback on the front seat headrests for second-row passengers.

Pathfinder Problems and Reliability

Although the 2019 Pathfinder has not yet been rated, J.D. Power awarded the 2018 variant a dependability rating of 80 out of 100, and the model is mechanically unchanged for 2019. The Pathfinder was subject to moderately serious recall in 2018 for faulty brake fluid pipes, and an extremely serious recall in 2016 for defective airbags. Aside from these issues, the SUV has not received any real complaints. Nissan offers a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, but notably, no maintenance schedule.

Pathfinder Safety

The NHTSA rated the Pathfinder five stars out of five for crash tests performed. Similarly, the IIHS gave the SUV its top rating of Good for overall safety. When equipped with non-standard headlights, the Pathfinder gets the IIHS' title of 2019 Top Safety Pick.

Key Safety Features

Standard safety features on the Nissan Pathfinder comprise vehicle dynamic control with traction control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and six airbags – dual front, front side, and side curtain. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are available on higher trim levels only. LATCH anchors are present on the second-row seats and are quite easy to use, furthering the concept of this vehicle being family-oriented.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder a good SUV?

The Nissan Pathfinder certainly has a lot going right for it, but the problem is that it has just as much going wrong. It offers a torquey engine that should give it great performance, but it is unrefined and can't push the hefty SUV with any real degree of haste. Similarly, the handling is adequate, and even good, at regular driving speeds, but falls short after you get up to higher speeds.

In terms of infotainment, it offers the bare minimum you would expect in a family-sized SUV, but the tech is a bit dated and it lacks more modern staples like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It does offer a fair number of safety features and driving aids, at least. Unfortunately, these are more necessary than one might prefer, as the Pathfinder doesn't offer great visibility and the size of the vehicle is deceptive from the inside. It's also aimed at family-carrying and city driving, which implies that safety should be highly prioritized.

For the most part, the crossover SUV provides a comfortable ride, but some may find it a bit stiff. As the model moves more into the urban environment and loses its off-road heritage, it is becoming more reliant on well-maintained roads to ensure a comfortable ride. This is compounded by a cabin that isn't as comfortable as it looks.

Ultimately, the Pathfinder offers performance and driveability that is truly average, with tech features that leave you feeling unfulfilled. It may seem affordable, but there are other options out there that won't break the bank while still offering better all-round value for your money.

What's the Price of the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder?

Depending on the choice of trim and drivetrain, the Pathfinder's price can vary significantly. The basic S trim has a starting MSRP of $31,530, with the SV trim adds $2,840 to the invoice price. While the SL trim comes in a bit pricier at $38,020, the top-tier Platinum trim maxes out at $42,870. Opting for the four-wheel drivetrain will set you back an additional $1,690. These prices do not include tax, registration, licensing, or Nissan's $1,045 destination fee.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Models

The Nissan Pathfinder range comprises four models – the S, SV, SL, and Platinum – all of which are powered by the 284 hp, V6 engine mated to a CVT gearbox. A front-wheel drivetrain comes standard, with four-wheel-drive as an option.

The base S trim isn't lacking in features and comes equipped with 18-inch alloys, a rearview camera, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, satellite and HD radio with six-speakers, an eight-inch NissanConnect infotainment screen, Bluetooth calling and audio streaming. 60/40 split fold-down second-row seats and 50/50 split fold-down third-row seats are standard inclusions as well.

The SV models add to this offering with intelligent automatic headlights, fog lights, adaptive cruise control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with a memory system, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 120-volt power outlet.

The SL trim upgrades the standard halogen headlights to LED, and the exterior mirrors get heating functionality. The liftgate gains a motion sensor for hands-free access, and the driver's seat is upgraded with ten-way power adjustability and two-way lumbar setting. Leather seats become standard and the first and second row of seats gain heating, as does the steering wheel. Perhaps the most useful and impressive addition is the surround-view camera.

The top-tier Platinum trim upgrades the wheels to 20-inch alloys and installs a dual-panel moonroof. The steering column is equipped with power tilt-and-telescoping functionality. Front seats are climate-controlled, and an upgraded 13-speaker Bose audio system is added to the infotainment repertoire.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
S
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$31,530
SV
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$34,370
SL
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$38,020
Platinum
3.5-liter V6 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$42,870
See All 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

A number of packages are available depending on the trim level, with a variety of standalone add-ons on offer as well. The Tech Package ($850) for the SV adds Nissan Navigation, NissanConnect Services, SiriusXM traffic, and a tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness. Also for the SV, the All-weather Package ($400) adds heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, and a heated steering wheel.

Available on the SL trim is the Premium Package, costing $2,650, which adds 20-inch alloy wheels, a dual-panel moonroof, a 13-speaker Bose audio system, and a tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness. The Nissan Mobile Entertainment System Package, which comprises a tri-zone entertainment system with dual head-restraint-mounted eight-inch screens, a remote control, two wireless headphone sets, DVD playback capability, and a rear HDMI input and USB port, can be added for an additional $1,700.

What Nissan Pathfinder Model Should I Buy?

With four trims to choose from, and multiple packages, deciding which model to purchase all comes down to budget and personal taste. There is little reason to go for the Platinum unless you have the money to spare (in which case aiming for more expensive rivals should also be an option). By the same token though, there is no reason to choose the base model either, if you can afford better. We suggest opting for either the SV or the SL, which offer better safety features and driver aids, particularly the surround-view camera on the SL. If you choose the SL with no packages and only front-wheel-drive, you can get away with paying around $38,000, which is still quite competitive in the segment.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Comparisons

2019 Nissan Pathfinder
2019 Nissan Pathfinder

2019 Nissan Pathfinder vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot does everything the Nissan Pathfinder does and, for the most part, it does it better. Sporting a similarly powerful 280 hp, V6 engine, the Pilot achieves better overall performance thanks to a more refined powertrain, all while staying competitive in terms of fuel economy. However, the Pathfinder has a more polished transmission, offering extremely smooth management of power. And while the Pilot may have similar output figures, the Nissan SUV manages to tow a little more. In terms of safety and tech features, the Honda Pilot offers more, with a newly updated infotainment display that feels much better to use than the Pathfinder's old-school interface; the Pilot also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Honda SUV offers more driver assistance features as standard, including the SUV-prerequisite lane-departure warning. These safety features, combined with the spacious and well-appointed interior, make the Honda Pilot an excellent family vehicle. Overall, it places ahead of the Pathfinder in almost all the key points that a discerning SUV buyer should be considering.

See Honda Pilot Review

2019 Nissan Pathfinder vs Toyota Highlander

While the Toyota Highlander's base 2.5-liter four-cylinder leaves much to be desired, its 295 hp V6 is certainly up to par. It offers competitive acceleration and sounds impressive, all while maintaining efficient fuel economy estimates. Additionally, the Highlander manages its power better than the Pathfinder does, offering a greater sense of control at higher speeds. Still, it doesn't handle sharp turns well at even a slower pace.

Toyota has put a lot more care into the interior design of its SUV compared to Nissan, and it shows. The cabin feels upscale and offers plenty of cargo space with the seats folded down. The Highlander also provides better safety features, like rain-sensing wipers and lane-departure warning, as standard. The Pathfinder can still tow more, so if that's a key factor for you, this Toyota will disappoint. But, if you're looking for an SUV that is safe, has a plush interior, and still feels satisfying to drive, the Highlander ticks more boxes than the Pathfinder does.

See Toyota Highlander Review

Nissan Pathfinder Popular Comparisons

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2019 Nissan Pathfinder Video Reviews