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Pros VS Cons • Configurations

2020 Nissan Pathfinder

Performance • Comparisons
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Exterior
Nissan's 2020 Pathfinder is a solid entry into the mid-sized SUV market. Three rows of seats provide ample room for passengers. This SUV also gives owners a massive amount of cargo space. The Pathfinder is equipped with a powerful engine and optional all-wheel drive. This makes it a capable performer on or off the road.

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has a comfortable interior that is perfect for daily commutes. It also offers a high towing capacity for this class of vehicles. The ability to tow and haul around cargo makes the Pathfinder a suitable vehicle for long road trips too.

What's New for 2020?

The Nissan Pathfinder has no major upgrades or changes for the 2020 model year. The 2019 Pathfinders saw a few tech upgrades. Most of these came in the form of modern driver-assist technology. A new sonar system was installed for the rear of this SUV.

The Pathfinder received a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert in 2019. Some of the higher trim levels received LED headlights for the first time. All of these features make a return for 2020.

The Pros and Cons of the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder

The Pros:

Offers plenty of cargo space.

Extra cargo space is one of the primary reasons buyers choose an SUV in the first place. The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder offers plenty and gives owners some different storage options as well. With all three rows of seats in their natural positions, the Pathfinder offers 16.2 cubic feet of space.

The second- and third-row seats can be folded down to provide more options for cargo storage. The total cargo capacity can be expanded all the way up to 79.5 cubic feet. Roof rails offer even more storage space.

The interior is roomy and comfortable.

The Pathfinder offers more than just space for cargo. There's also plenty of room for people inside of this SUV. The Pathfinder offers three full rows of seats. It can accommodate up to seven average-sized adults. The front and second rows provide a lot of head, leg and elbow room too.

Nissan's Pathfinder has a total interior volume of around 170.2 cubic feet. The seats inside of the Pathfinder are comfortable at every trim level. This is especially true for the driver and front-passenger seats. They offer multi-way adjustments and high-quality upholstery. The specifics will vary depending on the trim.

The towing capacity is impressive.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Capacity

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has one of the best towing capacities in its class. When properly setup, the Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds. That's an impressive number for a mid-sized SUV. It can easily pull a boat or trailer along on family trips.

The powerful V6 engine with 259 pound-feet of torque makes towing a breeze for the Pathfinder. This is true even with a carload of passengers or cargo. The Pathfinder never feels sluggish or bogged down by the extra weight. When it comes to the utility part of being an SUV, the Pathfinder has some serious credibility.

Intelligent 4X4 means strong off-road performance.

Every trim level of the Nissan Pathfinder is available with 4X4 all-wheel drive. This means that the Pathfinder is more than capable of tackling some off-road duties. It also means that the Pathfinder has excellent handling, even in rough weather conditions. Nissan uses a unique, intelligent 4X4 system for this SUV.

The proprietary, intelligent 4X4 system makes the Pathfinder ready to go all year long. This system offers different drive-mode settings for different situations. No matter what conditions this SUV faces, it should be able to maintain excellent traction.

The Cons:

Ride quality is on the firm side.

If there's one downside to the Nissan Pathfinder, it's the stiff ride quality. A stiff ride is really par for the course among trucks and SUVs. There are a few SUVs, however, that manage to offer a more car-like ride quality. The Pathfinder, unfortunately, isn't one of them.

This issue is somewhat mitigated by the comfortable seats and cozy interior of the Pathfinder. For many drivers, this won't be too big of an issue. Anyone who is already used to the feel of a larger SUV might not notice this at all.

The third row is small and cramped.

The third row of seats in the Pathfinder may be a bit cramped for taller passengers. There is a shortage of legroom here. This isn't the case at all for the spacious front and second rows. This may seem like a nitpick considering how much interior space the Pathfinder offers. It is something to be aware of, though.

For anyone who will mostly use the last row for kids, this won't be an issue. For most adult passengers, it still won't be a major issue, especially on short, routine car rides. Long road trips may be a different story.

View more pros and cons of the 2020 Pathfinder.

Configurations / Trim Levels

The latest Nissan Pathfinder comes in two different configurations and four different trim levels. The two major configurations are all-wheel drive and the standard two-wheel drive. Every trim level is available in both. The four trim level names are listed below. There is also a special Rock Creek Edition model for two of the trim levels.


The S model and all other trims are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. The Pathfinder comes stock with a CVT, or continuously variable transmission. Every trim has 4X4 as an option. Front-wheel drive is standard on all models. All trims get anti-lock brakes. Brake assist helps to apply more braking power in an emergency. EBFD, or electronic brake force distribution, makes sure the correct amount of force is applied to each wheel.

This base model of the Pathfinder is equipped with Nissan's rear sonar system. A rear-view monitor gives the driver even more awareness of their surroundings. On the outside of this trim package, there are 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with a set of all-season tires. This model also gets roof rails, a rear spoiler and LED daytime running lights.

On the inside of the S trim, owners will enjoy tri-zone climate control. The seats have 6-way manual adjustments and basic cloth upholstery. Power windows are standard for all trims. The infotainment system features an 8-inch touchscreen display. There's an AM/FM stereo and CD player here. The infotainment system also offers Bluetooth technology for easy connectivity, music streaming and hands-free operation. The safety and security features are mostly the same for every trim package. These will be detailed later on in this article.


Some of the key highlights of the SV trim are fog lights, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitor. This trim also gets a remote engine starter for firing up the Pathfinder while still inside of the home or workplace. The SV comes with intelligent cruise control. The engine, transmission system and drive train are all identical here.

The SV gets upgraded seats with 8-way power adjustments. The power windows now come with one-touch up-and-down functionality. The front passenger and driver's seats get illuminated vanity mirrors for the sun visors. The SV gets an extra 12-volt power outlet. The total here is three while the S trim only has two outlets.

The SV trim can also be had in a special version called the Rock Creek Edition. This model comes with a number of cosmetic flourishes. The 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels now come in a dark finish. The front grille, roof rails, door handles and exterior mirrors are all painted black. The front fascia gets a redesign. Rock Creek Edition badging can be found on the outside and on the upholstery inside of the Pathfinder. Last of all, this model comes equipped with a tow-hitch receiver and 7-pin wiring harness.


The SL trim package gets upgraded headlights. This version of the Pathfinder has LED low-beam projector models. The SL comes equipped with a navigation system to help drivers to find their destination. The intelligent around-view monitor gives drivers even more viewing angles than before for even better awareness. The seat upholstery gets an upgrade with leather appointments. The front passenger and driver will now be able to enjoy heated seats as well.

On the outside of the vehicle, the SL trim offers a power liftgate. This liftgate is motion activated for easy loading and unloading of the Pathfinder. The seats get 10-way power adjustments at this trim level. The exterior mirrors now come with a memory feature. Different drivers can each have their favorite mirror positions instantly recalled.

The SL trim gets owners a free trial to SiriusXM satellite radio. They will also get to try out the NissanConnect® Services for the 3-year Select and 6-month Premium Plus packages. Like the previous trim, the SL is available in the special Rock Creek Edition model.


2020 Nissan Pathfinder Moonroof

The Premium trim package gets the best of everything that Nissan has to offer. The wheels are upgraded to 20-inch aluminum alloys. This trim comes standard with the tow-hitch receiver and 7-pin wiring harness. This setup was previously only equipped on the Rock Creek Edition models. The Premium comes with a dual-panel panoramic moonroof. The front seats now provide climate control with both heating and cooling features.

Moving up to this trim level gets owners an upgraded sound system. The audio will now be provided by a Bose system with 13 speakers. This system includes Bose's Acoustic Waveguide technology for amazing, crystal-clear sound. The first and second rows now come with perforated-leather seat upholstery. The steering wheel offers a memory feature so the driver can instantly recall their favorite positions.

The Premium trim package comes equipped with every driver-assist technology and safety feature that the Pathfinder has to offer. All of the top convenience and comfort features found on previous trim levels make a return for the Premium package.

For a detailed comparison of these trim levels, see our recent research into the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder Trim Level Comparisons and Configurations.

Driving Impressions and Performance

Every version of the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has the exact same power train. The engine is a 3.5-liter V6. This is a direct-injection engine with 24 valves and dual overhead cams. This power plant cranks out 284 horsepower at 6,400 revolutions-per-minute (rpm). It produces 259 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.

All of that power and torque translates to excellent acceleration and performance. This is why the Pathfinder, when properly equipped, can tow up to a whopping 6,000 pounds. The engine works alongside of a CVT, or continuously variable transmission. The suspension system works well enough with independent struts up front and Independent multi-links in the rear. The suspension also features Dual Flow Path shock absorbers.

The Nissan Pathfinder handles quite well for a larger vehicle. Models equipped with all-wheel drive will handle the best, even on slick pavement or off-road terrain. The steering dynamics are great for this class of vehicle with a nice turning ratio that makes the Pathfinder east to maneuver. Nissan uses an electronic-hydraulic, power-assisted, speed-sensitive steering system.

The Pathfinder comes equipped with 4-wheel vented disc brakes and an anti-locking brake system. Brake power is strong yet smooth. A lot of this is due to Nissan's electronic brake-force distribution system. Drivers should have no issues stopping on a dime if needed, even with a full load of passengers and cargo. The brake-assist feature adds on even more stopping power during emergency driving situations.

Nissan's Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control Systems make for a stable and smooth ride. The intelligent cruise control makes long road trips and vacations a more relaxing experience. The comfortable seats and interior make for a pleasant driving experience in general. The interior of the Pathfinder is also exceptionally quiet. Nissan has done a great job here of blocking out all of the engine and road noises.


The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder was engineered with Zone Body Construction. This means there are crumple zones in the front and rear. This helps to absorb the energy of a crash and to channel that energy away from the driver and passengers. There are also hood-buckling creases, an energy-absorbing steering column and steel guard beams in the doors.

An advanced airbag system provides protection for every occupant of the Pathfinder. The Pathfinder features the 3-point ALR/ELR seat-belt system. Every seat also offers an adjustable head restraint. The rear seats get the LATCH system to securely anchor a child seat to.

A tire-pressure monitor alerts the driver if the air pressure gets dangerously low. It will also give them a head up if the tires have been overinflated. Nissan has also equipped the Pathfinder with modern driver-assist technology. The included features will vary by trim level. Hill-start assist is included for all models. Hill descent control is equipped on the all-wheel drive models.

Every trim gets a rear-view monitor. Higher levels will get an expanded, surround-view monitor. Traction control systems keep the vehicle stable and easy to maneuver. The aforementioned brake assist helps drivers to stop in time. A blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert help drivers to stay aware of their surroundings and nearby vehicles.

Nissan equips every model of the Pathfinder with its innovative rear sonar system. This system alerts drivers to any nearby objects behind the vehicle. This can help drivers to avoid backing up into objects, pedestrians and animals. Pathfinders can keep their vehicles secure thanks to the standard alarm system. There is also a vehicle immobilizer system in case a thief does get away with the car. The engine can be turned off so that the would-be thieves don't get very far.


On the inside of the Pathfinder, occupants are kept comfortable with the tri-zone climate control. This is installed on higher trim levels, but the base model also gets adequate heating and cooling systems. An in-cabin air microfilter is standard on all trims. The seats are supportive and comfortable. Leather upholstery is available. Owners can also get heated and cooled seats up front with the right trim package.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder Interior

Power windows and locks are standard. A push-button ignition and keyless entry are available. There are plenty of power outlets, USB charging hubs and small-item storage spaces throughout the Pathfinder. There are a total of eight cup holders and six bottle holders. The front and middle seats offers plenty of head, leg and elbow room. The last row is more suited for smaller passengers as it offers less leg room than the other rows.

The cargo hold features an extra storage space under the floor. Nissan includes eight tie-down anchors to help secure cargo. There are map lights up front and reading lights for the rear passengers. There is also a welcome light for when occupants first enter the vehicle. An auto-dimming, rear-view mirror negates glare from oncoming headlights at night.

All trim levels receive a nice infotainment and audio system. Higher trim levels feature a few upgrades along the way. The base model gets an AM/FM radio and CD player. All offer connectivity and charging ports for smartphones and other mobile devices. The sound system is top notch with the Platinum trim offering a premium system from Bose.

The infotainment system even has DVD playback for the large display screen. Rear passengers have access to an HDMI port and USB ports for video playback. Many of the audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel for easy access. They are even illuminated for easy viewing.

Exterior Color Options

2020 Nissan Pathfinder Caspian Blue Metallic
Caspian Blue Metallic
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Glacier White
Glacier White
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Gun Metallic
Gun Metallic
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Magnetic Black Pearl
Magnetic Black Pearl
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Midnight Pine Metallic
Midnight Pine Metallic
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Pearl White Tricoat
Pearl White Tricoat
2020 Nissan Pathfinder Scarlet Ember Tintcoat
Scarlet Ember Tintcoat


One of the best reasons to own a 2020 Nissan Pathfinder is because of its reliability. While there still isn't a ton of research on the new 2020 Pathfinders, one can expect the current version to be as reliable as the previous models. After all, not much has changed from the 2019 Pathfinders. Fortunately, the 2019 models fared well in this category with a below-average number of breakdowns and needed repairs.

J.D. Power and Associates ranks vehicles on a number of different categories including reliability. They give the 2020 Pathfinder an overall rating of 81 out of 100. The specific quality and reliability rating is given a score of 83. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Pathfinder a perfect 5 out of 5 rating for crash tests. This means that the Pathfinder is even reliable in the unfortunate event of an accident.

In the unlikely even that there is a major repair issue, a Pathfinder owner need not worry. Nissan stands by their vehicles with a solid warranty. The powertrain is covered for either five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. The basic warranty covers much more for either three years or 36,000 miles.

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has a solid construction that should stand up for years even with heavy towing and hauling. The frame is as solid as can be and the Pathfinder has a good track record for avoiding rust and paint wear. The engine is well engineered and should work efficiently for many years to come.

How Does It Compare

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has six main competitors. Two are also manufactured by Nissan. Most of them are mid-sized SUVs. Two are actually full-sized SUVs and one is a crossover vehicle. These three choices still have features that make them comparable to the mid-sized Pathfinder. The competitors are all listed below.

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is a great SUV from a company known for its reliable vehicles. Many of the specs and features of the Pilot are strikingly similar to those of the Nissan Pathfinder. The Pathfinder, however, does come in at a lower base price.

Both vehicles are mid-sized SUVs that hold seven occupants. Both have very similar interior dimensions. The Pathfinder offers 79.5 cubic feet of cargo space. The Pilot offers just a bit more at 82.1 cubic feet of space. The differences here are negligible. The Pilot does offer more horsepower, but the Pathfinder nearly doubles the Pilot's towing capacity.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, both vehicles have identical numbers. They both get 19 miles-per-gallon in the city and 26 miles-per-gallon on the highway. With all of the similar specs, the Pathfinder is the real winner here. Its lower initial cost makes the Nissan Pathfinder a better bargain.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the Pilot Here

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander comes in at a lower cost than the Nissan Pathfinder. It also offers room for one more passenger. The Toyota has better fuel economy too with a combined rating of 35 miles-per-gallon. The Pathfinder has more power and torque. It can tow up to 6,000 pounds while the Highlander can only pull around 3,500 pounds.

Both vehicles offer similar convenience and safety features. Both come equipped with modern infotainment systems and driver-assist technology. The Highlander has slightly more cargo space while the Pathfinder has slightly more head and leg room. The differences here are small, though.

While both vehicles offer all-wheel drive, the Pathfinder has better steering and handling. The Highlander is a better choice for economic reasons with the excellent fuel economy. The Pathfinder wins out on utility with the best towing capacity on this list of competing vehicles.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the Highlander Here

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Toyota 4Runner

This time around, the Nissan Pathfinder is stacked up against the full-sized Toyota 4Runner. The larger 4Runner has more cargo room at 89.7 cubic feet. This isn't a lot more, however, when one considers the larger overall size of the 4Runner. The 4Runner also only has room for five people while the Pathfinder can accommodate seven.

The 4Runner comes in at a significantly higher base price than the Pathfinder. The 4Runner comes close to the Pathfinder's towing capacity, but it still falls short at only 5,000 pounds. The Pathfinder is once again the best choice for overall utility.

Fuel economy is similar for both vehicles with the Pathfinder slightly edging out the 4Runner. Both vehicles offer good steering and handling, with the Pathfinder again beating out the competition by a bit. The smaller size alone makes the Pathfinder easier to maneuver.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the 4Runner Here

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Nissan Murano

The 2020 Nissan Murano is actually a crossover vehicle with a smaller size. It offers a more car-like driving experience when compared to the Nissan Pathfinder. Both have a similar price point with the Pathfinder coming in at just a bit higher. The Murano seats five compared to the Pathfinder's seven.

The Murano can tow a respectable 1,500 pounds. This falls far short of the Pathfinder's 6,000 pounds. The Pathfinder has more room for cargo too. Deciding between these two cars will come down to what the driver is looking for. For more interior room and greater towing, the Pathfinder is the best choice.

Since both of these vehicles are Nissans, they both share most of the same safety and security features. Nissan equips both vehicles with the same technology and similar infotainment systems. The Murano has slightly better steering and handling. The Pathfinder has a more cozy interior.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the Murano Here

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Nissan Armada

The Nissan Armada is a full-sized SUV. It may appeal to anyone looking for more interior space. It can seat up to eight people compared to the seven in a Pathfinder. The Armada also has more cargo space than the Pathfinder. It offers a massive 95.4 cubic feet of space.

The Armada comes equipped with a V8 engine for more power and torque than what the Pathfinder offers. It's the only vehicle on this list to best the Pathfinder's towing capacity. When properly equipped, the Armada can tow an amazing 8,500 pounds. It is important to note, however, that these two SUVs are in different classes.

Once again, these two Nissan vehicles share most of the same safety and tech features. They have the same infotainment systems and audio technology. Both offer similar ride qualities. The Armada comes in at a much higher price than the more affordable Pathfinder.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the Armada Here

2020 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2020 Ford Explorer

The Nissan Armada is a full-sized SUV. It may appeal to anyone looking for more interior space. It can seat up to eight people compared to the seven in a Pathfinder. The Armada also has more cargo space than the Pathfinder. It offers a massive 95.4 cubic feet of space.

The Armada comes equipped with a V8 engine for more power and torque than what the Pathfinder offers. It's the only vehicle on this list to best the Pathfinder's towing capacity. When properly equipped, the Armada can tow an amazing 8,500 pounds. It is important to note, however, that these two SUVs are in different classes.

Once again, these two Nissan vehicles share most of the same safety and tech features. They have the same infotainment systems and audio technology. Both offer similar ride qualities. The Armada comes in at a much higher price than the more affordable Pathfinder.

See our In-Depth Comparison of the 2020 Pathfinder and the Explorer Here