Saturday, June 6, 2020
Reviews Nissan Pathfinder 2020 Review: Still Has Some Appeal

Nissan Pathfinder 2020 Review: Still Has Some Appeal

The Nissan Pathfinder is back for 2020 with limited changes. It’s one of the oldest models in its segment and in need of a refresh. On the other hand, you can get a great deal on a new Pathfinder and there’s nothing inherently wrong with Nissan’s mid-size three-row offering.


Nissan Pathfinder Pros

  • Great towing capacity
  • Still a comfortable ride
  • Can be had for less than its rivals

Nissan Pathfinder Cons

  • Not as modern technologically as its competition
  • Interior shows its age
  • Poor fuel economy compared to other mid-size SUVs
  • Not as spacious as other mid-size SUVs

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder is back with limited changes. I reviewed the SL Rock Creek edition which doesn’t bring anything concrete to the table mechanically, but could be an interesting model if you want to have a more exclusive version of the Pathfinder.

The Nissan Pathfinder breaks down as follows for 2020. There’s the base S version starting at around $37,000 that gives you all-wheel drive, emergency automatic braking, and 18-inch wheels, but not much else. Yes, the Pathfinder is more affordable out of the gate than its competition, but you don’t really have too much value in the entry-level model. You have to jump to the SV to get heated seats, a heated steering wheel and a smart key, but now you’re looking at around $42,000 which is much closer to the competition.

The SL model gives you a sunroof and leather seats, but for around $47,000. As for the Rock Creek edition, it essentially ads distinctive 18-inch wheels, a unique green exterior, two-tone interior with orange accents, and a tow hitch receiver with 7-pin harness. There’s also some special badging. The SL Rock Creek trades the two-tone interior for the SL’s leather seats. You’ll be flirting with $50,000 for an SL Rock Creek while a loaded Pathfinder Platinum with cooled seats and 20-inch wheels tops over $51,000.

At first glance none of this makes the Pathfinder particularly affordable. It’s not more expensive than its rivals, but on paper it’s not cheaper either. So why did I say earlier that it’s more affordable than the competition? Only because the Pathfinder isn’t new and dealers have a decent margin. You should be able to get a better deal and have more negotiation leeway than on, say, a new Toyota Highlander or a Honda Pilot.

Nissan Pathfinder 2020

But does getting a good deal make up for being considerably older in design and features compared to the aforementioned models? It wouldn’t for me, but to each his or her own.

See, if you’re looking for comfort, the Pathfinder won’t disappoint. It’s louder than the Highlander or Pilot, but it’s still smoother than most mid-size SUVs. Steering is light and the Pathfinder glides over broken roads. This isn’t the Pathfinder of yore, the current generation is silky on the road.

It’s powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine that delivers 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. When it comes to reliability, no one can fault this tried-and-true powertrain. On the other hand, its fuel economy numbers aren’t great. Moreover, you won’t feel much when you press down hard on the right pedal. I know, mid-size SUVs aren’t supposed to snap your neck back, but most will want a bit more nervousness from the engine when passing on the highway. Ultimately, the Pathfinder plays the comfort card continuously and doesn’t even have a fun-to-drive card in its deck.

Now, it can tow more than the competition. With 6,000 pounds of total towing capability, the Pathfinder outshines just about every other mid-size SUV in its class when it comes to hauling your toys.

Inside, well you’re greeted with typical old Nissan fare. The centre console is packed with buttons, the screen is decent but nothing like you find on more modern competitors, and it’s a mess to try and make sense of everything at first. The Pathfinder’s design is from another era when having a ton of buttons was a sign of luxury. Now, the goal is to have as few buttons as possible and as large a screen as possible. Like the rest of the Nissan Pathfinder, there’s nothing wrong inside but it looks and feels old.

Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek
Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Photo: Nissan

Space can’t match the redesigned Highlander or the Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas, Ford Explorer or Chevrolet Traverse. It does, however, outshine the Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai and Kia offerings in this segment. There’s 459 litres of cargo space with all seats in place which is decent.

What’s The Final Word on the Nissan Pathfinder 2020?

The Nissan Pathfinder will be redesigned before Christmas, that is unless the current pandemic changes that schedule. Still, the Pathfinder is one of the oldest mid-size SUVs in its class and it feels old. It still has some qualities, namely comfort and towing capacity, but that’s about it. As for the Rock Creek edition, it’s cute but doesn’t offer much added value and will likely depreciate faster than other Pathfinders. I would go with the SV Tech model.

Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek_11
Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Photo: Nissan

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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