Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A red 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is shown from the front after leaving a Nissan Pathfinder dealer.

The Spacious Pathfinder Supplies Just-Right Utility and Comfort for Busy Lifestyles

Are you looking for a three-row SUV that will stand out in the carpool line? Check out the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder, a legendary ute with full-size vibes that rides like a nimble sedan on steroids. With seating for up to eight passengers and extra room for cargo, the Pathfinder is your ultimate companion for family adventures and weekend getaways. Whether your weekends involve trips to the garden store for mulch or a day of snowboarding in the mountains, you’ll have plenty of space for all your people and gear.

The Pathfinder has remained America’s favorite SUV for years, and the newest version, only found at your local Nissan Pathfinder dealer, continues that tradition with modern styling and a cavernous cabin designed for comfort and convenience. Fold the middle and rear seats flat, and you’ll have 80.5 cu.ft. of cargo space to stow oversized gear, perfect for skis or mountain bikes. No more juggling bags of groceries while you fiddle with your keys: Nissan offers an optional kick-activated liftgate for hands-free operation.

The Pathfinder’s simplified four-trim lineup offers a configuration that works for any lifestyle and budget. Do you prefer premium cabin features and luxury finishes? The Pathfinder Platinum gets you all that and more. Meanwhile, the affordable Pathfinder S includes plenty of standard features without the high price tag. With so many high-quality SUVs available in the midsize category, it’s hard to decide which one to buy. Luckily, the Pathfinder cuts through the clutter with an attractive, roomy alternative.

Interesting Features to Consider

Nissan equips all Pathfinder trims with an array of premium standard features, including tri-zone automatic temperature control and an in-cabin microfilter to keep clean air circulating and keep out stinky exhaust and other odors. The tri-zone system gives passengers in all three rows the freedom to dial in the temperature they want without bothering the driver or triggering epic battles over opening and closing the windows.

Power windows, door locks, and a push-button start are also included across the trim lineup, along with LED interior map lights, a staggering 12 cup holders scattered throughout the cabin (on all models but the S), and Nissan’s signature EZ FLEX configurable Seating System that allows for multiple cabin configurations to accommodate people and cargo. The upscale Platinum trim adds a panoramic moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 13-speaker Bose Audio System with dual subwoofers that deliver concert-grade sound.

If technology matters, consider the Pathfinder’s available nine-inch infotainment touchscreen and available door-to-door navigation. You can add a head-up display for even more convenience while on the go and enjoy a fully digital and customizable display. All trims feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you can also leave the tangled charging cables at home and opt for wireless connectivity and even a wireless smartphone charger.

The Pathfinder offers 42.3 inches of headroom in the first row, 39.6 inches in the second row, and a roomy 37.8 inches in the way back. Legroom is equally generous in all three rows, and with the option of choosing a second-row bench or a set of captain’s chairs, you have the freedom to outfit your Pathfinder to suit your family’s needs and have plenty of room left over. With all three rows of seats in use, your cargo capacity is still a respectable 16.6 cu.ft.

The black interior of a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek is shown from above the center console.

Trims and Packages at Every Price Point

The Pathfinder lineup includes the S, the SV, the SL, the Rock Creek, and the Platinum. Tech lovers should choose the SL for the standard nine-inch touchscreen and wireless smartphone connectivity. Adding the Premium package lumps in the powerful Bose audio system and heated rear seats. A panoramic sunroof also comes with the Premium package, giving the cabin a light-infused vibe.

Car and Driver describes the Pathfinder’s interior as “modern” and “comfortable,” citing the ergonomic dash and multiple storage bins as some of the most family-friendly features. Choosing an upper-level trim means your Pathfinder is dressed in upscale semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, giving the cabin a premium feel typically only found in an import. Even the base S model’s interior feels premium, thanks to advanced cabin acoustics that keep out road noise.

It’s the Pathfinder’s blend of rugged SUV durability and upscale, premium features that differentiate it from the pack. That dichotomy is no more apparent than in the new Rock Creek Edition. The Rock Creek Edition combines off-road-ready features, like an off-road-tuned suspension and a 360-degree camera with a unique off-road mode, with upscale leatherette seats, standard second-row captain’s chairs, and trim-specific badging.

Standing out in the carpool line doesn’t require upgrading to the high end of the Pathfinder’s trim range. In fact, the well-equipped base S offers a handful of low-cost equipment packages that increase occupant comfort, including a handy remote engine start feature so you can warm up your vehicle before hitting the road every morning.

The Pathfinder: A No-Brainer for Families

The versatile Nissan Pathfinder has attracted families since 1985, offering a unique combination of capability and comfort not found in competitors’ SUVs. The latest fifth-generation series takes interior ergonomics a step further, expanding passenger and cargo volume and even designing a wider entry for easy in and out. The Pathfinder’s unibody construction translates to smooth ride handling and fewer bumps when driving over uneven surfaces.

If your family loves to camp, the Pathfinder’s powerful max 6,000-lb towing capability means you can effortlessly haul your RV while everyone settles in for a comfortable trip to the mountains. Four standard USB ports come on the S and SV, and you’ll find six on the upper trims. Nissan also offers Platinum buyers an optional 120-volt power outlet in the second row.

The unique EZ FLEX second-row seats can be tipped forward for easier access to the third row, which should cut down on complaints, especially once the kids realize they can spread out and relax. The Pathfinder includes Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 suite of driver-assist safety systems, so parents can count on a gentle reminder when the vehicle drifts out of its lane. The audible alerts help mitigate the inevitable distractions a carload of kids creates.

A brown 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek is shown from the rear at an angle.

The 2023 Pathfinder: Rugged and Refined

Choosing a Pathfinder for your family means reaping the benefits of Nissan’s legendary quality and reliability and tapping into a design aesthetic that’s all about modern, tech-loaded features and convenience-oriented systems and controls that keep you comfortable, entertained, and––most importantly––safe and secure while on the go. With seating for up to eight, the Pathfinder offers a full-size alternative to bulky, large “land yacht” SUVs.

The Pathfinder starts at an affordable $35,000 and offers up to 21 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway for fuel economy. Take advantage of the configurable interior to meet your needs anytime, whether you’re planning a weekend of home repairs and gardening or a family ski vacation in the mountains. Easy smartphone connectivity means you can stream your favorite playlist or podcast on solo drives, and the array of infotainment features makes navigating to new destinations a breeze.

It’s not always easy to find a no-brainer in the cluttered SUV category, but the Pathfinder’s versatility, affordability, and rugged good looks get you close. Choose a budget-friendly Pathfinder S or go for the gusto and opt for the luxurious Platinum model. Whatever you decide, you’ll end up with a ute that can easily keep up with your busy lifestyle.