2019 Pathfinder New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is a mid-size crossover SUV with a versatile second row, and optional third row that's well suited for smaller passengers.
With the Pathfinder, Nissan has made gradual changes since it was last redesigned for 2014. It was freshened for 2017 with a tweaked nose and tail, new engine, firmer suspension and better infotainment; model year 2018 saw automatic emergency braking. For 2019, rear parking sensors are standard on all models, with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts standard on SV models and up. No active lane control is available, something found on many of the Pathfinder's competitors.
Now in its sixth year after many generations, the Pathfinder soldiers on with a great engine, excellent handling and good ride, as well as a comfortable interior that resembles its rich cousin, the Infiniti QX60.
The Pathfinder drives more like a car than a truck, but with available all-wheel drive it can easily manage snow and rugged terrain. Thanks to a beefy tow hitch, it's rated to tow up to 6,000 pounds, an impressive load for a mid-size crossover.
The strong 3.5-liter V-6 engine has direct injection and variable valve timing, making 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Front-wheel-drive Pathfinders come in at 20/27/23 mpg on the EPA's test, and 1 mpg less with all-wheel drive. The 20-inch wheels on the Platinum model drop those numbers another mile per gallon, because of their higher rolling resistance. That mileage falls between the Toyota Highlander and Chevy Traverse.
The IIHS gives the Pathfinder its top 'Good'? results in most crash tests, with an 'Acceptable'? score for the passenger side small-overlap frontal crash test, which simulates impact with an object like a tree or telephone pole. On the driver's side, it got a Good.
Additionally, the IIHS said that the Pathfinder's standard halogen headlights provide 'Poor'? coverage, while even the optional LED headlights on SL and Platinum trims are just 'Acceptable.'?
The NHTSA rated the 2019 Pathfinder at five stars overall, but only gave it four stars for side impact and four in the calculated rollover test.
Standard safety equipment includes six airbags, with the side-curtain airbags having a rollover sensor and covering all three rows. A rearview camera and rear sonar parking sensors are also standard. Then there's the Easy Fill Tire Alert that honks the horn when you've inflated a tire to the correct amount; and another honk called Rear Door Alert, to check the back seats for forgotten pets or children, after you get out of the car..
For about $32,200, the base 2019 Nissan Pathfinder S undercuts many of its rivals while providing most of the features families seek in a crossover SUV with a possible and functional third row. The S includes power features, parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, a slew of USB Type A and Type C ports, and three-zone automatic climate control.
All-wheel drive costs about $1,700 on all Pathfinder trim levels.
For about $3,000 more, the SV adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, a power driver's seat, keyless ignition, an integrated garage door opener, and a handful of smaller features. Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are optional for $400.
The Pathfinder SL adds leather upholstery, heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, and a surround-view camera system, at about $39,000.
The range-topping Pathfinder Platinum adds Bose speakers, 20-inch wheels, cooled front seats, two sunroofs for about $43,500. Rear-seat entertainment is optional only on the Pathfinder Platinum, for $1,700..