The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition finds itself in murky waters these days. New three-row crossovers are popping up left and right, and yet Nissan trots the Pathfinder – at seven model years old – into 2020 with blinders on. A facelift in 2017 and several special editions are the only motions the company is going through to try to keep things fresh. This one, the Rock Creek Edition, found its way into our garage for a week. In short, the Rock Creek is an appearance package. Nissan dresses up the exterior trim in black paint, covering the mesh grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror caps and license plate finisher. Dark 18-inch wheels (that look a whole lot like the Subaru Crosstrek’s wheels) finish the look. When combined with the porcelain white paint on our tester, the overall effect is low-rent. Paint choice makes a huge difference in how this package looks. It was much more enticing on the dark green show car we saw at the Chicago Auto Show. The Rock Creek interior changes are similarly minor, yet immediately noticeable. Nissan embroidered the Rock Creek logo onto both the front seats and the floor mats. It’s big enough that you won’t ever miss it stepping into the car, for better or worse. Then, there’s the “premium metallic trim” – a glossy carbon fiber-esque looking plastic material with some orange accents weaved into it, set against hard black plastic – that doesn’t look or feel premium. Wasn’t this stuff supposed to have gone extinct in the early 2010s? If you were scanning the above thinking we’d left out any mechanical upgrades to the Rock Creek, don’t fret. Your eyes weren’t deceiving you, because there are no mechanical changes to the Rock Creek. Yeah, we’re a bit bummed, too, because the standard Nissan powertrain equipment is middling in this class. A 3.5-liter V6 makes 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. That’s good enough to tow a 6,000-pound trailer and earn an EPA rating of 22 mpg combined when equipped with all-wheel drive. Naturally, Nissan pairs the V6 with its CVT that tries its best to mimic gear changes, but still ends up feeling lazy and sloppy. Power is right about on-par with the competition, and so is fuel economy. Towing is on the higher side of its class, and cargo room with the third row lowered is also right there with cars like the Kia Telluride and Ford Explorer. Unfortunately, the Pathfinder has found other ways to let us down, most of them due to its age. The whole dashboard, center stack and gauge cluster have to go. Stepping into the driver’s seat of the Pathfinder is like stepping right into the heart of the economic recession. The styling hasn’t aged gracefully on this generation of Pathfinder, and the tech does it no favors either. A low-def central infotainment screen can be controlled via a central knob on the center stack, directional arrows on that knob or via the …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||20 City / 27 Hwy|
|Transmission||Xtronic 2-spd CVT w/OD|
|Power||284 @ 6400 rpm|
Get a surprisingly great rate
It's like a new car for the price of a clunker. Switch & save an average of $587* on car insurance.