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2019 Nissan Pathfinder: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 1/31/2019 U.S. News & World Report
a car parked on the side of a road: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder© Nissan North America, Inc. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

Despite the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder’s brawny V6 engine and user-friendly infotainment system, it ranks near the bottom of the midsize SUV class, due in part to its jittery ride and bland cabin.

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is ranked:

Is the Nissan Pathfinder a Good SUV?

The Nissan Pathfinder is an OK choice among midsize SUV. Its V6 engine is strong enough for most driving scenarios, and its fuel efficiency is a hair above average for the class. However, its dull handling and bumpy ride reduce driver enjoyment. The interior is full of low-rent materials, and many other midsize crossovers have comfier rear seats and more cargo space.

Should I Buy the Nissan Pathfinder?

The Nissan Pathfinder is not a good purchase. Rivals such as the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse have smoother rides and more cargo room. If you don’t need the third-row seats, you might consider the Nissan Murano. It has a lavish cabin and tech features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Should I Buy a New or Used Nissan Pathfinder?

The 2019 Pathfinder belongs to a generation that debuted for the 2013 model year. Nissan refreshed the 2017 model, giving it a stronger engine, a higher towing capacity, a retuned suspension, exterior and interior styling updates, and a larger touch screen. For 2018, Nissan made automatic emergency braking standard in every Pathfinder. Other than shuffling around the availability of safety features, there were no major changes made for the 2019 model year. You may want to consider saving money with an older SUV.

To learn more about these used models, read our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Nissan Pathfinder. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles. 

We Did the Research for You: 55 Reviews Analyzed

By researching Nissan Pathfinder reviews, our hope is to provide you with the information you need to make car shopping a breeze. You'll find everything you need to know about this SUV in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, safety scores, and cargo space dimensions) with professional evaluations from 55 Nissan Pathfinder reviews. This Pathfinder review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2013 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve been reviewing cars since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. We also award the Best Cars for the Money,Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands on an annual basis. To ensure our impartiality, a third party handles our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts from automakers.

How Much Does the Nissan Pathfinder Cost?

At $31,430 the base MSRP of the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder falls right in line with the starting prices of other midsize SUVs. Four-wheel drive is available with any trim for $1,690. The top-level Nissan Pathfinder Platinum retails for $42,770.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

Nissan Pathfinder Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Nissan Pathfinder or Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander is one of the best midsize SUVs you can buy. It boasts a potent V6 engine option, a relaxing ride, an upscale cabin, and lots of cargo space with the rear seats folded. It also has more standard and available safety features, including lane departure warning and rain-sensing windshield wipers. These two vehicles have similar starting prices, though the high-end Nissan Pathfinder Platinum costs about $2,800 less than the top-trim Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum. The Pathfinder also has a higher towing capacity, but the Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain. The Toyota is the better choice for most shoppers.

Which Is Better: Nissan Pathfinder or Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is a good midsize SUV. However, like the Pathfinder, it hasn’t had a redesign in many years. That means its cabin also looks dated and drab, though the higher trims add luxurious soft-touch surfaces. The Ford also has more cargo space and a longer list of available features, such as rain-sensing windshield wipers, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Nissan offers none of these on the Pathfinder. The Ford also has a smooth ride and a roomy cabin. There are better SUVs, but the Ford Explorer is the better pick between these two.

Pathfinder Interior                                  

How Many People Does the Pathfinder Seat?

The three-row Pathfinder seats seven people. Cloth upholstery is standard, while heated and ventilated front seats, power-adjustable front seats, heated second-row outboard seats, and a heated steering wheel are available. You can also equip the Pathfinder with leather upholstery for the first two rows.

Reviews are mixed regarding roominess. While the front row seats are comfortable, some think that the back two rows are tight. The second-row seats are low, which can leave your knees in an uncomfortable position. Others note that the second and third rows can hold adults for short trips. The second row slides to allow easy access to the third.

Pathfinder and Car Seats

This vehicle has two complete sets of LATCH connectors on the second-row outboard seats. The second-row middle seat and third-row passenger-side seat have a single tether anchor. Finding the upper anchors is easy, but the lower anchors are buried in the seats.

Pathfinder Interior Quality

This Nissan has a bland, dated-looking cabin. Nothing is wrong with it per se, but no one would mistake it for a luxury vehicle such as the Infiniti QX60 and Mercedes-Benz GLE. Even the Pathfinder’s nonluxury sibling, the Nissan Murano, has a nicer interior.

Pathfinder Cargo Space

The 2019 Pathfinder has 16.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row. Folding down the third-row seats opens 47.4 cubic feet. Fold down the second row too, and you’ll find a maximum cargo capacity of 79.5 cubic feet. Adding the moonroof slightly reduces each total. A hands-free liftgate is available.

Most class rivals have a slightly higher maximum cargo capacity, including the Hyundai Santa Fe XL and Toyota 4Runner, though the Pathfinder has more space with all seats in use. The Mercedes-Benz GLE offers more cargo space in every configuration except the coupe body type.

Pathfinder Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The base Nissan Pathfinder S has the NissanConnect infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and six USB ports. You can also find a Pathfinder with remote start, a panoramic moonroof, a 13-speaker Bose stereo, a 120-volt outlet, a tri-zone rear seat entertainment system, navigation, wireless device charging, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The infotainment system is easy to use. The screen has sharp graphics and snappy response times, and there are also physical controls for audio and climate settings. However, neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is available. For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Pathfinder Performance

Pathfinder Engine: One Capable V6

Every Pathfinder has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 284 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. This SUV accelerates swiftly from a stop and has ample power for merging and passing. Unlike some CVTs, which simulate shifts in an unnatural way, the Pathfinder’s CVT truly feels like a traditional automatic transmission.  

Pathfinder Gas Mileage: Good for the Class

This Nissan gets up to 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Four-wheel drive drops city and highway ratings by 1 mpg each. Those are above-average figures for the class. You can save even more on annual fuel costs with other Nissan products, such as the Murano and cars like the Altima and Sentra.  

Pathfinder Ride and Handling: Not the Path to Comfort

The Pathfinder remains balanced around turns, but critics are divided when it comes to ride comfort. Some think it’s fine while others found it to be stiff, especially over bumps or potholes. Nobody expects the Pathfinder to handle as sharply as Nissan’s own GT-R, but it lacks the sportiness of some class rivals, such as the Mazda CX-9. Front-wheel drive comes standard while four-wheel drive is available.

The Infiniti QX60 delivers a more comfortable ride, while the Hyundai Santa Fe feels more agile than the Pathfinder. The Infiniti and Hyundai also have available all-wheel drive, and the Hyundai even has some light off-road capability.

Pathfinder Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, this Nissan can tow up to 6,000 pounds. That’s more than some other SUVs, including the Infiniti QX60 and Toyota Highlander.

Pathfinder Reliability

Is the Nissan Pathfinder Reliable?

The 2019 Pathfinder belongs to a generation that typically receives below-average predicted reliability ratings from J.D. Power.

Nissan Pathfinder Warranty

Nissan covers the Pathfinder with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s the same warranty that many rivals have, including the Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander.

Pathfinder Safety

Pathfinder Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave this SUV an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in side crash tests and four stars in front and rollover tests. As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2019 model.

Pathfinder Safety Features

A rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and rear parking sensors are standard in every Pathfinder. Available safety equipment includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, a surround-view parking camera, and adaptive cruise control.

Some other SUVs, such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and the luxury Infiniti QX60, offer more safety features, including lane keep assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and pedestrian detection.

Which Nissan Pathfinder Model Is Right for Me?

Nissan offers the 2019 Pathfinder in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. A V6 engine, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and front-wheel drive are standard across the lineup. Four-wheel drive is available for $1,690.

The midlevel SV is a decent pick. It has a few more safety features than the base S, and it’s available with some comfort and tech upgrades that come standard in higher trims. Throughout the lineup, you can get a Wi-Fi hot spot for $450.

Nissan Pathfinder S

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder S has an MSRP of $31,430. In addition to the basics, such as power windows and door locks, you’ll get three rows of cloth seats, with a 60/40 split-folding second-row bench and a 50/50 split fold-flat third-row bench seat. The standard NissanConnect infotainment system features an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, six USB ports, satellite radio, and HD Radio. Tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, remote keyless entry, push-button start, and alloy wheels are also standard.

No notable packages are available with the base S, though you can get remote start for $275 fog lights for $275.

Nissan Pathfinder SV

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV has a base MSRP of $34,270. It adds fog lights, remote start, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and proximity keyless entry. It also comes with a few more safety features, such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.

A wireless smartphone charger is available for $250. Nissan also offers a few packages for the SV. An All Weather package ($400) features heated front seats and a heated steering wheel while a Tech package ($850) adds a navigation system.

Nissan Pathfinder SL

With an MSRP of $37,920, the Nissan Pathfinder SL adds a hands-free liftgate, leather seats in the first two rows, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a surround-view parking camera, and the contents of the All Weather and Tech packages as standard. The SL also features heated second-row seats and a 120-volt outlet.

For $2,650, the Premium package adds larger alloy wheels, a panoramic moonroof, and a 13-speaker Bose premium sound system. Otherwise, it has the same options as the SV.

Nissan Pathfinder Platinum

The Nissan Pathfinder Platinum ($42,770) is the top-of-the-line Pathfinder trim. It gains the Premium package as standard, as well as ventilated front seats and wood trim accents.

The Platinum trim has the same options as the other trims. It’s also the only trim that offers a rear-seat entertainment system ($1,700).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Nissan dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Nissan deals page.

The Final Call

The Nissan Pathfinder does not offer the all-around appeal of most other midsize SUVs. Its cabin design is dull, and its cargo space is smaller than some three-row competitors, and it’s harder to use. The Pathfinder’s ride can be stiff, and it has tight rear seats. On the bright side, this vehicle has a strong engine, a refined CVT, decent fuel economy estimates, and user-friendly tech. However, many rivals offer those positives without the Pathfinder’s drawbacks.  

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2019 Nissan Pathfinder review on U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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