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2018 Nissan Pathfinder

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2018 Nissan Pathfinder Expert Review

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 8.4

Popular with families looking for a comfortable and spacious 3-row SUV, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder offers high safety ratings and an extended list of safety features including automatic emergency braking and a blind-spot monitor. Now based on a sedan-like platform vs. a truck chassis, the new 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is more comfortable and more efficient than past iterations. With its mighty 284-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and optional all-wheel drive, it competes well in a crowded SUV market that includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Volkswagen Atlas and Chevy Traverse. Four trim levels are available, S, SV, SL and Platinum with prices starting just under $31,000 for an S with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive can be added to any trim level for an additional $1,700.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a spacious 7-passenger SUV that’s quick, comfortable and easy to drive, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is a smart choice. The Pathfinder is filled with family-friendly features, and this year new active safety features like standard automatic emergency braking make the new Pathfinder even more appealing.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Every 2018 Pathfinder is powered by a conventional V6 engine. If you’re looking for a hybrid-powered SUV in this class, check out the Toyota Highlander, which is the only hybrid in the segment. Also, the Pathfinder seats a maximum of seven, while the new Chevy Traverse offers seating for eight.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.4
  • 8.8
  • 8.6
  • 8.4
  • 8.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#12

out of 23

Fuel Economy

#8

out of 23

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The new Pathfinder was heavily revised just last year with more power and safety. For 2018 Nissan has continued the improvements, making automatic emergency braking standard along with a new system call Rear Door Alert. This clever system can help remind drivers of anything they may be forgetting in the back seat, including children and pets.

Driving the Pathfinder
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Last year Nissan significantly increased the horsepower of the new Pathfinder’s 3.5-liter V6 engine and the result is a powerful SUV that’s quick off the line and has no problem...

... getting up to speed. Even at 70 mph, the Pathfinder has plenty of passing might in reserve, so it’s easy to get by the 18-wheeler that keeps creeping into your lane. Around town the 7-passenger Pathfinder returns a smooth ride and sedan-like handling. As with many Nissans, the Pathfinder uses a continuously variable transmission that for the most part does a good job mimicking a traditional automatic. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is the standard setup, while an All-Mode 4x4-i intelligent all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is optional on all trims. The system enhances traction and offers a full-lock setting for use on rough or slippery terrain. Thusly equipped the Pathfinder is capable of very light off-roading, and its hill-descent control eases the vehicle down steep slopes.

REAR-DOOR ALERT
This clever system can help remind drivers that they may be forgetting something in the rear seat, including children, pets and valuables. If the system detects that a rear door is opened prior to driving, and it is not opened again at the end of the trip, the system can remind drivers that they may be leaving something behind.

AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING
This important safety system is now standard on every new Nissan Pathfinder. It monitors the SUV’s proximity to the vehicle ahead, giving the driver audible and visual display warnings if a potential collision is detected. If the driver fails to respond, the system can apply the brakes to reduce the speed of impact or hopefully avoid the collision.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Details
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

All Nissan Pathfinders seat seven across three rows, with the second row a 3-person bench and the third row a pair of smaller seats. Legroom is generous in the first two rows, but the last row is tight for adults. Last year Nissan revamped the Pathfinder’s interior and improved its ergonomics with a redesigned center console and a larger 8-inch touch screen. Instead of the finicky, all-touch infotainment systems used in some other SUVs, you can easily tune the Pathfinder’s radio or adjust the volume by twisting a dial. Seating is comfortable, and the driver’s seat is height adjustable for shorter drivers.

Exterior
2018 Nissan Pathfinder photo

Last year Nissan gave the Pathfinder a nip, tuck and a little front-end augmentation, and the SUV’s new curves and chromed-out V-Motion grille make it look younger and more vivacious. The overall shape is still conservative, even for this class, but it’s attractive, well-proportioned and it won’t look dated before you make your last payment. Roof rails add functionality, and the optional dual-panel moonroof does a great job opening up the cabin, even for 3rd-row passengers. The power-operated tailgate that's standard on higher trims is now motion-activated, meaning it can be opened with the swipe of a foot.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Pathfinder remains available in four trims: S, SV, SL and Platinum. The least expensive 2018 Pathfinder S model comes with a V6 engine, tri-zone climate control, 8-inch touch-screen display with rearview-camera display, push-button ignition, 6-way manual-adjust driver's seat, 18-inch aluminum wheels, forward emergency braking and Rear Door Alert. Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with two USB inputs and HD Radio are also standard. In addition to airbags all around and traction- and stability-control systems, one notable safety feature is the Easy Fill Alert that beeps the horn when you fill the tires to the correct air pressure.

Optional Equipment

Stepping up from the base Pathfinder S to the SV trim level is recommendable for both its standard features and many options. Included are an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, automatic headlights, auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear sonar parking assist. Navigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and 13-speaker Bose audio system are also available on the SV. SL models come with the Around View monitor, power tailgate, blind-spot monitoring, leather interior and heated front seats and steering wheel. Top-line Platinum models include intelligent cruise control, navigation, panoramic moonroof and 20-inch wheels. A trailer towing package is available on all models except the S, and a rear-seat entertainment package is offered on the Platinum model.

Under the Hood
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Engine photo

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder SUV comes with an all-aluminum double-overhead-cam 3.5-liter V6 and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The V6 makes 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, which makes this the most powerful Pathfinder in the truck’s 30-year history. The engine happily runs on regular gasoline to keep down operating costs and has the grunt to tow up to 6,000 pounds. The standard setup remains front-wheel drive with all-wheel drive optional on all trims.

3.5-liter V6
284 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
259 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (FWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder crossover SUV has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $31,765 for a base S version with front-wheel drive. Stepping up to the more recommendable Pathfinder SV trim is about $34,500. All-wheel drive is a $1,700 option. Go full-boat on a loaded, all-wheel-drive Pathfinder Platinum and you can touch $50,000. These prices are similar to those of the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe. The Pathfinder's starting price undercuts that of the Ford Explorer but is higher than the Kia Sorento. The Dodge Journey and Mitsubishi can also be had for less, but aren't as recommendable. As a smart shopper, you know to first check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Nissan. The Pathfinder's residual value is expected to hold up well but not quite match that of a Toyota Highlander.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

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