2023 Nissan Pathfinder review by Caranddriver.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder
By Drew Dorian
What’s New for 2023?
Nissan is adding a rugged Rock Creek model to the Pathfinder lineup for 2023. It sports a slightly lifted suspension, 18-inch all-terrain tires on unique wheels, a revised front grille and lower bumper, and standard all-wheel drive. The V-6 gets a power boost in the Rock Creek model to 295 horsepower. The Rock Creek’s interior differs from the regular Pathfinder with special cloth and vinyl upholstery, orange stitching, and Rock Creek badges on the seats and center console.
Although Nissan is equipping the S and SV Pathfinders with desirable driver-assistance features, we’d recommend going for the more expensive SL trim if it fits your budget. Stepping up from the SV adds the larger 9.0-inch infotainment system, a 360-degree camera system, and wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity. Adding the SL Premium package for $2900 makes the Pathfinder downright luxurious with 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a Bose stereo system, heated rear seats, and wireless smartphone charging. That package also includes all the items needed to unlock the Pathfinder’s 6000-pound towing capacity.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
While the Pathfinder retains the 3.5-liter V-6 from the previous-generation model, it drops the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in favor of a new nine-speed automatic. The V-6 makes 284 horsepower in most models but is cranked up to 295 in the Rock Creek trim. Front-wheel drive is standard but all trims can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Upgrading to the all-wheel-drive system also adds a set of seven drive modes, including off-road-focused Sand and Mud/Rut model. At our test track, our front-wheel-drive Pathfinder SL test vehicle got to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds; the model with all-wheel drive managed it in 6.6 seconds. Those results mean the all-wheel-drive Pathfinder is quicker than the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander. Handling is utterly forgettable and not in the least entertaining, but the Pathfinder’s ride is fairly smooth, and Nissan’s attention to sound-deadening elements makes the cabin extra quiet when cruising.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the most efficient Pathfinder is actually the one with optional all-wheel drive, which earned ratings of 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined; the front-wheel-drive model earned the same city and combined ratings but only 26 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel economy test, our all-wheel-drive test vehicle beat its EPA rating and returned 28 mpg. For more information about the Pathfinder’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Pathfinder sports a modern and trucklike interior design with comfortable front seats and well-placed controls. Three rows of seating can accommodate up to eight riders, but buyers can choose to swap the standard second-row bench seat for captain’s chairs—a desirable feature in a family crossover—that reduce capacity to seven. Nissan has integrated storage cubbies throughout the cabin, including a large bin below the center console that’s accessible by the driver or front-seat passenger. Upper trim levels come appropriately decked out with luxuries such as semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard and runs the latest version of the NissanConnect software interface; a larger 9.0-inch display is standard on the SL and Platinum models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard and the former can be synced wirelessly on upper trims. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display, an onboard Wi-Fi hot spot, a wireless smartphone charging pad, SiriusXM satellite radio, a head-up display, and an in-dash navigation system are all optional features. A fairly basic six-speaker stereo is standard but a 13-speaker Bose system is optional.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
All Pathfinders come with a host of driver-assistance features as standard, including automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high-beam headlamps. A semi-autonomous driving mode that Nissan calls ProPilot Assist is standard on SV, SL, and Platinum trims. For more information about the Pathfinder’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
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