The Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize, three-row crossover utility vehicle with room for up to eight. Its Nissan’s largest crossover, dwarfed only by the rugged Armada SUV. Even so, the Pathfinder holds its own, as it delivers ample interior room, decent storage space, and surprisingly generous towing capacity.
You’ll find a crowded field of competing models, as most manufacturers field their best vehicles. This shouldn’t be surprising as crossovers are the current family vehicle of choice.
Among the many competitors are the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Dodge Durango, Volkswagen Atlas, Buick Enclave, and the Honda Pilot. Not to be forgotten are the Subaru Ascent, Mazda CX-9, and the Hyundai Santa Fe XL.
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Overview
Nissan offers the 2019 Pathfinder in four trims: S ($31,530), SV ($34,370), SL ($38,020), and Platinum ($42,870). Add $1,045 for the destination charge. If you prefer all-wheel drive instead of the standard front-wheel drive, then you’ll add $1,690 to your beginning cost.
For 2019, the Pathfinder gains a pair of Rock Creek Edition models for the SV and SL trims. A $995 upgrade, the Rock Creek Editions bundle special badging, leather seats, with unique exterior and interior trim.
Our test model was the Pathfinder SV 4WD Rock Creek Edition. It came with Rock Creek Edition crossbars ($395) and carpeted floor mats ($300), and a special tech package ($980). The various bundled packages resulted in a $1,315 discount, which brought this model’s final price to $39,675. Typically, well-equipped models in this segment yield for at least $40,000. The most you’ll pay for any Pathfinder is $47,700, and that’s before any incentives are taken.
Nissan Pathfinder Highlights
As with any model in this class, there is a lot to consider. We’ll break it down and pay special attention to the Rock Creek package. Our driving impressions are in the section that follows.
1. One of six Nissan utility vehicles. The Pathfinder fits neatly into the utility vehicle universe. It is one of two midsize offerings — the Murano with its two rows and room for five is the other choice. At the top of the SUV universe is the Armada, a traditional SUV along the lines of a Chevrolet Tahoe or Toyota Sequoia. The other models include the Kicks, Rogue Sport, and Rogue, the latter now its most popular vehicle. If you like Nissan, this automaker makes it easy to stay within the brand.
2. Mainstream all the way. The Pathfinder’s four trims ensure everyone can find something they want, along with premium features on some models. Standard exterior features include LED daytime running lights and aluminum-alloy wheels. Inside, cloth seats, three-zone climate control, and easy-to-move seats are included. The list of upgrades includes automatic headlights, fog lamps, heated side mirrors, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, and an automatic liftgate. Interior upgrades include leather seats, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, and stainless steel kick plates.
3. Taking you to the Rock Creek. Nissan is no stranger to special editions, with the Midnight Edition gracing several 2018 models and still available for 2019 in the Frontier and Titan pickup trucks. Those models featured blacked-out trim, which gave them a sporty and aggressive look. This year we have the Rock Creek, which happens to be the name of a large urban park in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, DC. However, Nissan hasn’t tied this special edition with the park, so let’s move on. If you are considering the Rock Creek edition package, you’ll find various blacked-out touches on the grille, roof rails, door handles, and wheels. Inside, special two-tone seating surfaces and badging add distinctiveness. For the price point, the Rock Creek Edition offers cost-effective design embellishments. One final note: the Rock Creek isn’t any more off-road capable than other Pathfinder models.
4. Packages for your consideration. Besides the Rock Creek Edition, Nissan delivers packages with all but the base model. The Pathfinder SV offers a Technology Package ($980) which also requires selecting the Rock Creek Edition. Here, you’ll receive Nissan’s navigation system and connected services, a three-year satellite radio subscription, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and power-controlled and heated side mirrors. The SL trim offers a Premium Package ($980) which also builds on the Rock Creek Edition. Here, Nissan brings in the dual-panel panoramic moonroof and an exquisite 13-speaker Bose audio system. Finally, if you choose the top-of-the-line Platinum trim, you’ll find a Mobile Entertainment System Package ($1,700). This one adds a three-zone entertainment system, which is highlighted by dual 8-inch monitors mounted to the front head restraints.
5. Advanced driver-assist technologies for the taking. We want safety features and not simply airbags, traction and stability control, and safety cages. Today’s vehicles should offer cutting-edge driver-assist features. As for the Pathfinder, it offers most of the features we want. To begin, all trims are equipped with automatic emergency braking. Next, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert roll out with the SV. The SL trim adds an around-view monitor. The only things lacking are lane keep assist and active lane control, features found in most other Nissan models.
6. Tech and audio features available. Nissan equips the Pathfinder with a six-speaker audio system, which includes a CD player. You’ll also find trial satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and six USB ports. We mentioned the Bose system upgrade as well as the entertainment package earlier. If you want a wireless charger, it is a $250 accessory upgrade.
Behind the Wheel
All 2019 Pathfinders come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a continuously variable transmission. In fact, the Pathfinder is the only model in this segment with a CVT — the rest have automatic transmissions.
The Pathfinder’s engine is good for 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. That’s within the range of most competing models. Even so, a few competitors have upgraded engine choices, including the Dodge Durango with the segment-only V8. Importantly, the Pathfinder has one significant edge over most competitors and that comes in towing capacity, which registers a robust 6,000 pounds when properly equipped. Compare that with the 5,000-pound limit of the Subaru Ascent, Chevrolet Traverse, and the Toyota Highlander.
The Pathfinder’s engine is ideally suited for this sizable crossover. Indeed, it supplies ample step-off acceleration and passing power. The CVT acquits itself, tuned to “pull back” at select intervals in the power curve. Thus, it behaves more like an automatic, a gearless transmission that’s also more efficient. You should enjoy about a 2-3 mpg edge over most competing models because of it.
Steering is light and precise, supplying ample feedback. Here, you’re not driving a beastly SUV, rather one that supplies a soft ride and average handling. As such, models like the Pathfinder tend to roll while cornering, owing to this vehicle’s high profile and weight. If you’re looking for a performance edge, the Nissan Maxima sedan might do.
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We rarely recommend a base model and that holds true with the 2019 Pathfinder. Start your search with the SV trim, and Nissan adds such features as fog lights, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert.
If you tow or live where wintry conditions are prevalent than opt for all-wheel drive. Your cost is still around $37,000, which is a very competitive price point in this segment.
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Specifications
|Base Sticker Price||$32,575 (including a $1,045 destination charge)|
|Price as tested (estimated)||$39,675|
|Horsepower||284 @ 6,400 RPMs|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||259 @ 4,800 RPMs|
|Transmission||Continuously variable automatic|
|Seating||7 or 8|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,293 to 4,662|
|Headroom (f,m,r…inches)||42.2, 39.4, 37.8|
|Legroom (f,m,r…inches)||42.3, 41.7, 30.7|
|Shoulder room (f,m,r…inches)||60.9, 60.4, 57.1|
|Hip room (f,m,r…inches)||56.8, 56.0, 42.0|
|Storage (cubic feet)||21.0, 46.0, 87.0|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||5,985|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||19.5|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway)||20/27/23 (FWD); 19/26/22 (AWD) city/highway/combined|
|Manufacturing Plant||Smyrna, Tennessee|
See Also — 2019 Nissan Altima: Second Look
2019 Nissan Pathfinder photos copyright Auto Trends Magazine. All rights reserved.