Unlike the models of the '90s and 2000s, the last two generations of the Nissan Pathfinder are no longer body-on-frame designs but road-biased FWD crossovers hardly meant for finding new paths. The previous one failed to inspire with its soft lines, but the latest redesign that went on sale in the USA as a 2022 model represents a return to form - it's eye-catching and purposeful. Other mid-size three-row rivals, such as the Mazda CX-90 and Toyota Highlander, employ downsized turbocharged engines, but the Pathfinder still follows the old-school approach of the Kia Telluride by offering a naturally aspirated V6 engine. The powertrain is improved in the latest generation by getting rid of the CVT and replacing it with a nine-speed automatic, though. With 284 horsepower on tap (295 hp in the Rock Creek), performance is sprightly, while its ride, handling, on-road refinement, and spacious, well-built interior make it a much better car than before. It's now above the class average, but that isn't enough to elevate it above its excellent competitors, so it seems the Nissan is still playing catch-up.
Nothing changes for the 2024 Pathfinder, and the entire range of trims will continue with the exact same features and specifications they had last year, including the Rock Creek off-road trim that was introduced for the 2023 model year. The only difference is that the price of the 2024 Nissan Pathfinder starts a little higher, but it's a small increase of around $490 per trim.
The price of a new Nissan Pathfinder starts at $35,810 for the S base trim before any options. From there, you get the SV at $38,630, the SL at $42,230, the Rock Creek at $43,630, and the Platinum at $48,780. This pricing is for each trim its its most basic configuration, which means front-wheel drive for all but the Rock Creek, which is all-wheel drive exclusively. Adding AWD to any of the other trims will cost you $1,900. These prices are MSRP and exclude Nissan's $1,335 destination charge.
The base trims are well-equipped, but it all comes together in the SL. For a reasonable price of $42,230, it comes with desirable features such as leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a larger touchscreen, navigation, and a wireless charging pad. It also benefits from several additional driver aids, notably a surround-view camera. The Rock Creek isn't a true off-roader, and the Platinum breaches $50k in AWD format, which is simply too expensive. You can add several of the Platinum's features, such as the glass roof, second-row captain's chairs, and premium audio system, to the SL via the SL Premium package, and still pay significantly less than for the flagship trim.
Only the S feels a little spartan in terms of materials and ambiance, with the interior generally well-equipped and solid. Top trims get leather and contrast stitching.
The cabin is a pleasant space to spend time. The interior space isn't great, especially in the third row, but the design is attractive, the quality of the materials is good, and the dashboard is solid, even if it can't quite match the upscale ambiance of a Telluride. Ergonomics are sound, and there are physical controls for the HVAC system. The infotainment system's knobs are easy to use, and everything is laid out logically. A compact shift lever frees up some space in the center console. The base trims get ordinary cloth on the seats, but further up in the range, leatherette and leather become available. The commanding driving position makes it easy to see out of the Pathfinder, and the sightlines are largely unobstructed, with few blind spots to speak of. Backing up and parking are eased by the backup camera and rear parking sensors with automatic braking. Upper trims get front parking sensors and a surround-view camera, too.
The Pathfinder seats either seven or eight passengers, depending on whether the second row is a three-seater bench or two captain's chairs. The captain's chairs are standard on the Rock Creek and optional on all the other trims except for the S. There's enough leg- and headroom for adults in the first two rows, but the third row is only suitable for children and requires some clambering to get into. That means, with the captain's chairs fitted, there is essentially only room for four adults inside the Pathfinder. The second-row seats can be moved for and aft, but even with them moved all the way forward, the third row is cramped.
Even with all three rows in use, the Pathfinder's trunk space is a decent 16.6 cubic feet, which is ahead of the CX-90 and Highlander but behind the Telluride. With the third row folded, you get access to 45 cubes, while the total trunk volume up to the first row works out to 80.5 cubic feet - a figure that's a little short of most rivals, with the Telluride offering the most commodious cargo space of 87 cubic feet. The cargo area has four tie-down hooks, and some additional under-floor storage can be used to hide smaller items.
Cabin storage is sufficient and well thought out, with no fewer than ten cupholders and six bottle holders in the S. All the other trims get 12 cupholders. Each Pathfinder also has a glovebox, four door pockets, and under-elbow center-console storage. The second-row captain's chairs are separated by a center console with storage and integrated cupholders. There's another small receptacle ahead of the front cupholders and an overhead sunglasses holder. All Pathfinders have a front-passenger seatback pocket, and from the SV and up, a driver's seatback pocket too.
|Nissan Pathfinder||Kia Telluride||Mazda CX-90|
|7/8 Seater||7/8 Seater||6/7/8 Seater|
|42.3 in. front|
39.6 in. 2nd row
37.8 in. 3rd row
|40.9 in. front|
40.2 in. 2nd row
38.1 in. 3rd row
|39.7 in. front |
39.3 in. 2nd row
36.9 in. 3rd row
|44.3 in. front|
35.5 in. 2nd row
28 in. 3rd row
|41.4 in. front|
42.4 in. 2nd row
31.4 in. 3rd row
|41.7 in. front |
39.4 in. 2md row
30.7 in. 3rd row
|16.6-80.5 ft³||21-87 ft³||14.9-75.2 ft³|
You don't get a choice of interior colors in the S, with your lot being Charcoal cloth upholstery and nothing else. The SV adds the option of Light Gray cloth. The SV-based Rock Creek has Charcoal leatherette on the seats with orange stitching extending to the seats of the first two rows, the center console, and front door cards, as well as orange Rock Creek script embroidered on the center console's lid and the front seatbacks. The SL gets leather upholstery for the first two seating rows and leatherette for the third, also in a choice of Charcoal or Light Gray. The Platinum gets premium semi-aniline leather upholstery in both color choices, with Chestnut added as a third.
From the SV and up, the steering wheel is trimmed in leather. The bottom two trims get piano-black interior trim, the Rock Creek and SL get Gun Metallic brushed trim, and the Platinum is the only trim with Bronze Metallic brushed trim and stainless-steel front kickplates.
Although the base trim has cloth upholstery, a urethane steering wheel, and lacks electric seat adjustment, it does get keyless entry and start, three-zone climate control with rear-seat vents, power accessories, a 12-V power outlet, a manually adjustable tilting/telescoping steering column, extendable sunvisors, and ten cupholders. As you move up the trim hierarchy, extra features such as heated and/or ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, dual second-row captain's chairs, power front seats, remote start, a wireless charging pad, and more are added.
The basic infotainment system in the S comes with an eight-inch touchscreen, voice recognition, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth audio streaming, an auxiliary input jack, four USB ports, SiriusXM, and a six-speaker audio system. The SV and Rock Creek additionally get a Wi-Fi hotspot, while the SL adds a larger nine-inch touchscreen, a wireless charging pad, navigation, more NissanConnect services, wireless Apple CarPlay, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, and an additional USB port. The Platinum gains a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system, the latter optional on the SL.
|Heated front seats|
|Apple CarPlay and Android Auto|
|13-speaker Bose audio system|
The Pathfinder is quick on paper but lacks the low-end torque of some turbocharged rivals and doesn't ride as softly on the 20-inch wheels.
The engine in the Nissan Pathfinder is still the same direct-injected naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 it's used for years, here developing 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. In the Rock Creek, it's slightly uprated to 295 hp and 270 lb-ft, but those outputs are only available on Premium gas. The drivetrain is front-wheel drive by default, with AWD available, except on the Rock Creek, which is exclusively all-wheel drive. A nine-speed automatic is the only transmission choice and is much better than the CVT used in the old car, giving the Nissan Pathfinder a 0-60 sprint of 6.6 seconds with AWD and 6.7 seconds with FWD - significantly better performance specs than before. Top speed is limited to 120 mph. Despite dropping the old CVT, trailering figures have not improved, and the Pathfinder has the same towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. With the towing package fitted to the SV, SL, and Platinum, the Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.
The Pathfinder returns a class-average performance on the road. The ride is quiet on the highway, and the suspension is absorbent enough, though we were somewhat surprised that some vibrations keep finding their way into the cabin on broken surfaces, especially on the 20-inch wheels. There's too much head toss as well, possibly as a result of using beefy stabilizer bars to curb body roll. The feather-light steering is effortless to use but lacks any feel, and the slow ratio means quite a bit of arm-twirling when parking. Body control is good, though, and it hangs on gamely around corners, though by no means feeling like it's cut out for that sort of thing.
The engine is refined and sounds lovely, but it's short on its turbocharged rivals' bottom-end torque and often feels flat-footed and out of its power band, especially when a quick burst of speed is needed. This is exacerbated by the sheer number of ratios, and it can take the transmission a while to figure out the right one to use. It pulls away in second most of the time to reduce hunting, but the sudden kick down to first can be abrupt. The Pathfinder is not meant to go off-road either; it's mediocre on rough terrain, even in Rock Creek format, and often scrabbles for grip where a Grand Cherokee would simply cruise on through.
Gas mileage is middling due to the large-capacity naturally aspirated V6 requiring more revs to get going, but it's no worse than the old model with its CVT. The regular FWD and RWD Nissan Pathfinder's mpg figures are 23 mpg combined and 27 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA, with the city figures being 20 and 21 mpg, respectively. For comparison's sake, that overall figure matches the Highlander's and beats the Telluride's but is noticeably worse than the AWD-only CX-90's 25 mpg. The Rock Creek, with its all-terrain tires, is worst at 20/23/21 mpg. With the same 18.5-gallon fuel capacity across the board, the total fuel range works out to between 388 and 425 miles, depending on the trim.
|3.5L V6 Gas|
|3.5L V6 Gas |
|284 hp||284hp |
295 hp - Rock Creek
|120 mph||120 mph|
|20/27/23 mpg||21/27/23 mpg |
20/23/21 mpg - Rock Creek
|6.7 seconds||6.6 seconds|
Safety is excellent, with mostly top-drawer crash results and a long list of driver assists, even on the base S trim, including lane and blind-spot sensing and automatic braking.
The NHTSA's safety review of the Nissan Pathfinder found it a safe SUV and gave it a five-star overall rating, but we were expecting a little more than the four-star result for the frontal impact. The 2024 model hasn't been tested by the IIHS yet, but the 2023 models fared well, although the headlights only received an Acceptable rating. The other 'Good' ratings still bagged it a 2023 Top Safety Pick+ award. The unchanged 2024 model should repeat these results.
The standard safety features include the usual suspects, such as ABS, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, and a backup camera, but besides these, the base Pathfinder has ten airbags and a suite of driver assists as well. These include forward-collision alert, forward and reverse automatic braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic LED headlights with auto high beams, hill-start assist, trailer-sway assist, driver-alertness monitoring, and rear parking sensors. The SV and Rock Creek get ProPILOT Assist adaptive cruise control with intelligent lane and blind-spot intervention additionally. The SL's ProPILOT Assist is navigation-assisted, and it also gets front parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a HomeLink transceiver, and a surround-view monitor. The Platinum is the only trim to get rain-sensing wipers and an additional center front airbag.
|Front and rear automatic braking|
|Blind-spot monitoring with lane-departure alert|
|Adaptive cruise control|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The 2024 model doesn't have a rating from JD Power yet, but the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder's quality and reliability rating is just average at 77 out of 100. During its launch year, the 2022 Pathfinder was also recalled five times for issues ranging from a detaching hood latch and an inoperative backup camera display to various issues with the seats, such as detaching headrests, separating welds, and missing bolts. The 2023 model was a lot better, with a single recall for another seat issue - an insecurely mounted driver's power seat. So far, the 2024 model is still recall-free.
The 2024 Nissan Pathfinder's warranty is just average as well. The standard limited warranty runs for three years/36,000 miles, and the powertrain warranty is for five years/60,000 miles.
The Pathfinder's eye-catching design is one of its best features. Gone are the previous generation's nondescript lines, now replaced with a distinctive Nissan family look with a new interpretation of the V-Motion grille and two sets of rectangular LED headlight clusters with DRL eyebrows. The design is boxier, but it does not feel dated and is relieved by balanced proportions and overhangs on either side of the class-average 114-odd-inch wheelbase. A few interesting design touches include the body-color C-pillar, the contrasting front and rear fascias, and the slim-line LED taillights.
All trims have rear privacy glass and a roof spoiler, but the S has black side mirrors and makes do without roof rails. Both it and the SV runs on 18-inch alloys, but the latter gains roof rails and color-coded mirrors, while the SV-based Rock Creek gets all kinds of off-road-typical features, such as a tubular roof rack, LED foglights, a tow hitch, increased ground clearance, different front and rear fascias, and black beadlock-style 18-inch alloys. The SL and Platinum lose the LED foglights, but both get a power liftgate, while on the Platinum, this item is motion-activated, and it regains the Rock Creek's tow hitch. It's also the only trim with a panoramic moonroof and 20-inch alloys.
The Pathfinder is a very good SUV, and highlights include its robustly stylish looks, comfortable cabin, strong performance, and decent fuel economy. But it doesn't lead the class and is let down by the mediocre driving experience, with a somewhat indecisive transmission that doesn't fit well with an engine that requires revs to get going. The touchscreen is on the small side, and it's curious that Android Auto does not connect wirelessly. Still, there aren't any deal-breakers, and most people would be happy with a Pathfinder and be reassured by its ample safety spec. The Pathfinder does enough to convince, as long as you don't test drive a CX-90 or Telluride beforehand.
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