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2024 Nissan Pathfinder Pros vs Cons, & Rival Comparison

2024 Nissan Pathfinder Pros, Cons, and Competitor Comparison
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By Norman Ruckpaul
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch
Published: Feb 5, 2024

Are you searching for a three-row SUV capable of handling adventures and transporting your entire family and their belongings? The 2024 Nissan Pathfinder offers towing power, technology features, and safety systems, but is it your bumpy dream ride or just another minivan masquerading as an explorer? Buckle up for our no-frills review that cuts through the pros and cons and compares it to rivals like the Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot. We'll expose tight third-row and so-so gas mileage, but also unveil its impressive towing power and driver-assist smarts. Let's see if this Pathfinder paves your perfect family adventure road!

What We Like - Eight Pros of the Pathfinder

The 2024 Nissan Pathfinder shines with eight standout strengths, from muscular towing to high-tech safety aids. This section highlights the core areas where the Pathfinder delivers versatility for family adventures. We'll explore its ample towing power, available all-wheel-drive, drive modes for any conditions, flexible seating, top-tier safety tech and ratings, comfortable cabin, and diverse trim options. If you need an affordable three-row SUV ready for fun, the Pathfinder checks many boxes. Let's dive into the key reasons it deserves a spot on your shopping list.

1. Good Towing Capacity

When it's time to haul stuff, the 2024 Pathfinder's got the muscle. The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds depending on the model.

Under the hood, its brawny 3.5-liter V6 engine offers 284 horsepower and 259 Lb-ft of torque and pairs up with a responsive nine-speed automatic transmission. The Rock Creek models offer even more power with up to 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. That combo provides plenty of power when you need it.

Compared to other midsize SUVs, the Pathfinder's 6,000 pound tow rating shines;

  • Kia Telluride - 5,000 lbs.

  • Honda Pilot - 5,500 lbs.

  • Ford Explorer - 5,600 lbs.

  • Toyota Highlander - 5000 lbs.

With Tow Mode with Downhill Speed Control the transmission cooperates, speed stays under control even downhill, and swaying motion is minimized with Trailer Sway Control.

2. Good All-Wheel Drive System

The Pathfinder also offers an available AWD system that's seriously capable. Combined with off road tuned suspension,  Nissan's Intelligent 4x4 tech grips slick roads and improves handling in all kinds of conditions. So you've got extra traction and control offering good off-road capability in any driving situation.

The AWD isn't just about performance either. It lets you do more fun stuff with your Pathfinder! Like the tubular roof rack that's included - it can hold up to 220 pounds of gear. Super handy for outdoorsy families who need space to haul kayaks, luggage, camping equipment and more for their adventures.

So if you need an SUV that can confidently tackle rough terrain when needed, while also giving your family extra storage options for weekends away, the Pathfinder's available AWD delivers. It's the total package - good for on-road comfort and off road capability.

3. Great Assortment of Drive Modes

The Pathfinder's drive modes let you customize your driving experience for the conditions.

For everyday cruising, there's a Standard mode that balances performance. If you want a more exciting drive, Sport mode amps up the throttle response for better acceleration.

Need stellar fuel mileage? Flip it into Eco mode to maximize efficiency. When the weather gets sloppy, Snow mode optimizes traction and control.

Hit the sand or mud? Sand and Mud/Rut modes use special tuning to maintain momentum so you don't get stuck. And for towing heavy loads, Tow mode gives you the power delivery you need.

These modes pair with the available Intelligent 4WD system that really grips the road. So no matter the weather or terrain, you can dial in the right drive mode to confidently take on the paths less traveled.

4. Configurable Interior

Inside, the Pathfinder brings the roominess families need. Some highlights:

  • Adjustable second and third-row seats for flexible seating configurations, including a second row bench seat.

  • Option for second row captain’s chairs for increased comfort in the rear seats. (Turns it into a seven passenger arrangement)

  • Offers a removable center console to provide more room for rear seat passengers.

  • EZ FLEX® 2nd-row Seating System for moving and tilting the second row seats is effortless, so anyone can hop in and out of the third row.

5. Advanced Safety Features

When it comes to keeping families safe, the Pathfinder delivers the goods. Even the base model comes packed with high-tech safety and standard driver assistance features, including:

  • Backup camera with guide lines

  • Collision warnings for the front and back

  • Front and rear automatic emergency braking if you're about to hit something

  • Sensors that detect people and cyclists around you

  • Blind spot monitoring when changing lanes

  • Rear cross-traffic alert

  • Lane-departure warning

  • Automatic high beams so you don't blind other drivers

  • Rear parking sensors and rear view camera

  • Tech that monitors if you're distracted or drowsy

  • Reminder so you don't leave kids in the back

And you can add even more advanced tech with higher trims, like ProPILOT Assist, Nissan Safety Shield 360 Suite, Adaptive Cruise Control, and more. With all these safeguards looking out in every direction, the Pathfinder keeps your precious cargo secure. That peace of mind means a lot for families, and it's a big reason why this Nissan is so popular.

6. Great Safety Ratings and Crash Test Results

Safety is a priority for the Pathfinder. It comes with standard safety features such as:

  • Automatic emergency braking

  • Blind spot monitoring

  • Automatic high-beam headlamps

  • Higher trims even offer semi-autonomous driving mode

The 2023 Pathfinder received top honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It got their highest rating - Top Safety Pick+. That means it aced their crash tests. Because the Pathfinder has no major changes, the 2024 model should be the same.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also gave it solid marks - The Pathfinder's "Overall Safety Rating" is 5 stars and the "Overall Front Star Rating" is4 out of 5 stars for frontal crashes.

So between its advanced safety tech and excellent scores so far, the Pathfinder delivers reassuring security on the road. For families focused on keeping their precious cargo safe, this Nissan is built like a tank. You can drive with confidence knowing it's designed with safety in mind.

7. The Interior Offers Comfort, Quit with Nice Tech

Inside, the Pathfinder combines comfort and versatility. The modern cabin has a truck-like vibe, with comfy seats and plenty of storage nooks. Higher trims up the luxury factor with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and an available panoramic sunroof.

For tech, all models come with the Following:

  • The base model has an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Go for the SL or Platinum and you get an even bigger 9-inch display.

  • You can also add optional features such as a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, onboard WiFi, wireless phone charging, and built-in navigation.

So between the spacious, quality interior and latest tech features, the Pathfinder keeps passengers happy on the road. Those higher trims especially create an upscale experience that families will appreciate. Whether it's a short trip or a long road trip, the Pathfinder's cabin balances everyday practicality with premium touches.

8. Good Diversity with Trim Levels and Pricing

There are five trims with a good diversity of equipment ranging from $37K to just over $50K. With a price range difference of approximately $13K, the Pathfinder gives you plenty of options with its different trims. Here's a quick rundown:

  1. Base S model - $37,175: The S trim starts you off with the basics - V6 engine, 9-speed transmission, Nissan's Safety Shield 360, automatic climate control, and some handy flexible seating.

  2. SV - $39,995: Step up to the Pathfinder SV and you'll add heated front seats, ProPilot Assist driver assist, lane intervention tech, blind spot monitoring, and other goodies.

  3. SL Trim - $43,595: The Pathfinder SL piles on more luxury like leather seats, larger touchscreen, 360 degree camera views, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, and enhanced ProPilot Assist.

  4. Rock Creek Edition - $44,995: The Pathfinder Rock Creek trim spices things up with blacked out wheels, off-road tuned suspension, roof rack, and special leatherette seats. Tailored for adventure.

  5. Platinum trim - $50,145: At the top, the Pathfinder Platinum model brings the full luxury treatment - climate controlled seats, huge panoramic moonroof, head-up display, premium Bose sound system, and integrated tow hitch. The works!

So whether you want to just get the essentials with the S, load up on luxury with the Platinum, or find a middle ground, the 2024 Pathfinder has a trim for you. Choose the features and price point that match your needs.  (Reference: Nissan USA)

Where We Think the Pathfinder Falls Short. (Four Cons)

While the Pathfinder shines in many ways, it does have some weak spots compared to other options out there. Here are a few of the main downsides:

  • Fuel economy - Its mileage is just okay. Many rivals do better.

  • Minimal updates - Not much changed for 2024. Feels a little stale.

  • Cargo room and passenger space - It's up against some seriously solid 3-row SUVs.

So while the Pathfinder brings a lot of goodness to the table, it lags behind in a couple key areas. Next, let's take a closer look at these cons so you can weigh them against the pros.

1. Fuel Economy Could be Better

One downside of the Pathfinder is its average fuel efficiency. The EPA gave the all-wheel drive 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, and 23 combined. The front-wheel drive model has 20 mpg in the city and the same on the highway.

Gas mileage rang among competitors (City/Highway/Combined)

Nissan Pathfinder:

  • 19 - 20 / 25 - 27 / 22 - 23

Kia Telluride:

  • 18 - 19 / 24 - 26 / 20 - 21

Honda Pilot:

  • 19 -20 / 26 - 27 / 22 - 23

Ford Explorer:

  • 16 to 19 / 23 to 26 / 19 - 21

So it is in range of non-hybrid rival. Overall, the Pathfinder's mileage could be better but isn't a deal breaker.

2. Lack of Significant Updates

Another downside is that the Pathfinder hasn't changed much from last year's model. Nissan kept things pretty much the same without any big upgrades or new features. The 2022, Nissan Pathfinder was completely redesigned, skipping the 2021 model year completely. In 2023, Nissan added the Rock Creek model.

Now for some buyers, that's no biggie. The Pathfinder did just get a overhaul recently, so it's not dated. And it still stacks up fine against other 3-row SUVs out there.

But for folks who always want the latest bells and whistles, the lack of improvements for 2024 could be a letdown. While the Pathfinder is still solid, it doesn't bring much in the way of excitement this year model-wise. But taken as a whole, it remains pretty competitive.

3. Smaller Cargo Space than Rivals.

The Pathfinder falls a little short when comparing it to to similarly priced competitors.

With seats up (cu ft), Total cargo volume (cu ft):

  • Nissan Pathfinder 16.6, 80.5

  • Honda Pilot 16.8, 86.6

  • Kia Telluride 21.0, 87.0

  • Ford Explorer 18.2, 87.0

To offer more cargo space, there is a hidden storage compartment under the cargo floor that's perfect for stashing stuff you want out of sight. And to make adding belongings convenient, the Pathfinder offers a handy motion activated hands free power liftgate so you can open the trunk hands-free.

4. Less Headroom & Legroom than Rivals

Pathfinder falls short on rear passenger legroom compared to rivals. Competitors offer several more inches of stretch-out space for second and third row riders:

  • Legroom:

    • Second Row:

      • Pathfinder 35.5 in

      • Telluride 42.4 in

      • Explorer 43 in

      • Pilot 40.8 in

    • Third Row:

      • Pathfinder 28.0 in

      • Telluride 38.1 in

      • Explorer 32.2 in

      • Pilot 32.5 in

  • Headroom:

    • Second Row:

      • Pathfinder 38.6 in

      • Telluride 39.9 in

      • Pilot 38.2 in

      • Explorer 39.5 in

    • Third Row:

      • Pathfinder 34.8 in

      • Telluride 38.1 in

      • Pilot 34.3 in

      • Explorer 34.4 in

Pathfinder’s cramped legroom and headroom in the second and third rows is a drawback compared to rival SUVs. Taller passengers may find the rear quarters too confining.

How it Stacks Up to Competitors

Here is a comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the Pathfinder versus the 2024 Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer.

Pathfinder Vs Kia Telluride

Nissan Pathfinder Strengths:

  • Higher towing capacity (6,000 lbs vs 5,500 lbs for Telluride)

  • Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assists standard

  • Smoother and more powerful V6 engine

  • Removable 2nd row center console improves flexibility

  • Slightly bigger 3rd row and more overall cargo room

Pathfinder Weaknesses:

  • Ride quality not as smooth and comfortable as Telluride

  • Less legroom in 2nd and 3rd row seats

  • Base model lacks some desirable features

  • Infotainment system not as robust as Kia's

  • Exterior styling more polarizing

The Pathfinder edges out the Telluride in power, towing, and safety while the Telluride excels in comfort, interior quality, and passenger space. You should test drive both to determine which SUV's strengths align best with you priorities.

Pathfinder Vs Honda Pilot

Nissan Pathfinder Strengths:

  • Higher towing capacity (6,000 lbs vs 5,000 lbs for Pilot)

  • Smoother and more powerful V6 engine

  • Removable 2nd row center console improves flexibility

  • Standard safety features like automatic emergency braking

  • More cargo space behind 3rd row seats

Pathfinder Weaknesses:

  • Less overall passenger room than Pilot

  • Ride quality not as refined as Pilot

  • Handling not as nimble as Pilot

  • Base model lacks features like blind spot monitoring

  • No hybrid powertrain option

The Pathfinder bests the Pilot in towing power, standard safety tech, and cargo room, while the Pilot excels in passenger space, fuel efficiency, ride comfort and interior refinement.

Pathfinder Vs Ford Explorer

Nissan Pathfinder Strengths:

  • Higher fuel economy - up to 27 mpg highway

  • Standard advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking

  • Larger cargo space behind 3rd row seats

  • Removable 2nd row center console adds flexibility

Pathfinder Weaknesses:

  • Less total passenger room than Explorer

  • Ride quality not as refined as Explorer

  • Base model lacks some desirable features

  • Dated infotainment system

The Pathfinder gets better gas mileage, has a more flexible interior, and includes more standard safety tech, while the Explorer offers more power, towing capability, and maximum cargo space.

Summing it up

In summary, the redesigned 2024 Nissan Pathfinder stands out for its muscular towing power, available all-wheel-drive, abundance of safety technology, and flexible interior seating. However, fuel efficiency trails some competitors and the lack of updates for 2024 make it feel dated.

Overall, the Pathfinder is an excellent choice for families and adventurers needing an affordable, rugged SUV. Its balance of capability, practicality, and comfort make it a well-rounded option. Consider the Pathfinder if towing power, off-road traction, and passenger room are top priorities.

That said, closely compare the Pathfinder to rivals like the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot. Their advantages in efficiency, ride quality, and cabin spaciousness may better suit some buyers. Test driving is key to determining if the Pathfinder’s strengths align with your needs.

While not perfect, the 2024 Pathfinder remains a strong contender in the crowded midsize SUV segment. Its power, versatility, and value keep it competitive, if not class-leading. For an affordable jack-of-all-trades family hauler, the Pathfinder delivers.