Our 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD test car.

Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider

  • The fourth era Nissan Pathfinder has been on sale given late 2012.
  • It’s the first Pathfinder to be a front-wheel-drive crossover.
  • Nissan updated the Pathfinder in 2017 with fresh styling, some-more power, and some-more tech.
  • Business Insider took the Pathfinder on a prolonged highway outing and was tender by its well-spoken ride, gentle cabin, and comprehensive engine.

For some-more than 3 decades, the Nissan Pathfinder has been one of the many renouned SUVs in America. But in 2012, Nissan shook up the regulation and incited its imperishable pick-up truck-based SUV into a front-wheel-drive family crossover. (Four-wheel-drive is a $1,700 option.)

A automobile some critics have derisively called the Mall-Finder.

In annoy of the anger from off-roading purists, the four-generation Pathfinder has generated strong sales. In its first full year, sales some-more than doubled to 88,000 units in the US.

Half a decade in into its prolongation run, the stream Pathfinder is the longest-serving member of Nissan’s SUV family in the US. (Nissan’s full-size Y62 has been on sale given 2010 in several tools of the universe as the Patrol and in the US as an Infiniti. But the Y62 didn’t arrive in the US with a Nissan badge until 2017 as the second-generation Armada.)

A second era 1996 Nissan Pathfinder SE.


Which is since Nissan revamped the Pathfinder in 2017 with updated styling, some-more power, and some-more tech.

Business Insider had the event to representation an updated Pathfinder late last year in the form of 2018 indication year Platinum 4WD edition. The bottom front-wheel-drive “S” book starts at $31,040 while out entirely optioned, top-of-the-line- test automobile left the salon at $47,840.

Our week with the Pathfinder enclosed in-town pushing as good as a 1,200-mile road-trip from Northern New Jersey to Charlotte, North Carolina and back.

The Pathfinder is big and stylish

In 2012, the fourth-gen Pathfinder substituted its ruggedly large lines for neat car-like curves. Even with an updated front end, the curvy lines creatively penned by Nissan pattern boss Alfonso Albaisa stays probably unchanged.

The stream model’s neat and elongated physique also redefines the Pathfinder’s mission. The brief overhangs and big tires found on prior generations make it ideal for plowing by jungles and up mountains. Things are very opposite now. This Pathfinder’s goal in life is as a three-row family hauler.

But, that doesn’t meant it’s totally unhandy when it comes to the severe stuff.


According to Nissan, the Pathfinder offers an adequate 7 inches of smallest belligerent clearance. Paired with an modernized four-wheel-drive system, the Pathfinder should be means to scheme its way out of a gummy situation. But we still wouldn’t suggest holding on Jeep Wranglers in a mark of stone climbing.

Inside, the Pathfinder’s cabin offers a reward knowledge in a very serviceable package. As usual, Nissan is utterly inexhaustible with the underline content. Even the bottom indication comes customary with an eight-inch touchscreen, back up camera, triple-zone meridian control, and Nissan’s Rear Door Alert System. More on that later. Our Platinum test automobile came loaded with a litany of goodies including exhilarated energy leather seats, adaptive journey control, a reward Bose sound system, a motion-activated back liftgate, and a dual-screen rear-seat party system.

The Pathfinder’s tech facilities all worked as intended. The Nissan infotainment system, while a bit superannuated in feel, was effective and easy to learn. In annoy of its age, it’s simply the best of the Japanese infotainment systems we’ve come across. Nissan’s adaptive journey control also worked flawlessly. It allowed the Pathfinder to gnaw up highway miles with palliate on the 1,200 mile-trip.

The Rear Door Alert complement took a bit a get used to and valid to be some-more of a bother than a help. The RDA is designed to warning you by honking the horn if you leave something in the back chair and forget to collect it. The proof behind the complement is sound. After all, we’ve all seen the comfortless consequences of leaving children and pets behind in sealed cars. However, it doesn’t take into care the times when you put something back there since you wish to leave it there like luggage or shopping. The complement can be deactivated, but it can be differing if you forget to spin it off.


While the altogether styling, execution, and element peculiarity aren’t on the same turn as something from a oppulance code like a Lexus or Mercedes-Benz, the Pathfinder Platinum interior appointments felt peculiarity and solidly put together.

Its oppulance won’t blow you away, but the cabin is good adequate to make vital with the Pathfinder on a daily basement a pleasing experience. At the same time, it’s undignified celebrity won’t fill you with strenuous stress if bland life happens to cut the leather or wood.

The cabin is also definitely cavernous.

At 16.5 feet long, the Pathfinder has room to chair up to 7 occupants comfortably. In fact, even the third quarrel will simply hold two normal sized adults. A charge many other three-row crossovers onslaught to accomplish.

There’s also copiousness of room for stuff.


The big crossover can swallow up a gigantic 79.8 cubic feet of load with the second and third rows folded. That series falls to 47.8 cubic feet with just the third quarrel folded and 16 cubic feet if all 3 rows of seats are upright. These total tumble in line with shred leaders such as the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander.

It’s a good highway cruiser, but there’s one thing lacking

Under the hood, you’ll find a 3.5 liter, 284 horsepower VQ35DD V6 engine. Simply put, the Nissan VQ series is one of the best engines in the world. And it has been for some-more than two decades. It’s silky smooth, powerful, and stone plain reliable. (I contend this as the owners of an 18-year-old VQ-powered Nissan Maxima that still get 29 mpg on the high way.)

Here, the VQ engine is corresponding to Nissan’s XTRONIC invariably non-static transmission. Herein lies my biggest censure with the Pathfinder. The CVT booty the pushing experience. While CVTs are good at boosting fuel economy — we managed to hit 25 mpg on the highway in a 4,700-pound SUV— they are scandalous for numbing down energy delivery.


And it’s such a shame since the Pathfinder’s engine is an comprehensive gem that is prepared and peaceful to perform. But supplement a CVT to the equation and you’ve effectively shot up your racehorse with tranquilizers. Step on the gas tough and the engine strains to broach acceleration. Speed builds over time instead of that evident detonate we are accustomed to in a normal involuntary or primer transmission.

Yes, XTRONIC is generally deliberate to be one of best CVTs on the market, but that’s like being the captain of the squad that couldn’t fire straight.

Apart from the CVT, we entirely enjoyed my time behind the circle of the Pathfinder. The float was well-spoken and the cabin valid to be remarkably quiet. Making it a truly extraordinary highway cruiser.

Sure, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder may no longer be the star of Youtube stone crawling videos. But as a family crossover for bland life, Nissan’s Pathfinder is an comprehensive stone star.