2018 Nissan Pathfinder Preview

  • 7-seat midsize SUV
  • Refreshed in 2017, carryover for 2018
  • Powered by 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Optional all-wheel drive
  • New standard Rear Door Alert (RDA) monitor
  • Standard automatic emergency braking (AEB)
  • Standard rearview camera
  • Midnight Edition option package on SL trim level
  • Two new colors: Scarlet Ember and Midnight Pine


Demand for midsize SUVs continues to thrive as nearly one in eight new vehicles purchased in 2017 was a midsize utility. Nissan’s fourth-generation Pathfinder, a stalwart in the segment, was slightly revised for the 2017 model year with refreshed styling, more technology, safety features, and a bump in towing power.

The Pathfinder has been on the market for more than 30 years. Starting out as a truck-based SUV, the utility is now a more comfortable family crossover built on a unibody platform (shared with the Murano, Altima and Maxima) and is built at Nissan’s Canton, MS, plant. The Pathfinder, last redone for 2013 and refreshed for the 2017 model year, may get a full redesign as early as 2019.

The Pathfinder is in the middle of the pack when it comes to sales among nearly two dozen midsize SUV entries, and competes with the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and the Ford Explorer.

Exterior Features

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder features more sculpted bumpers and a new V-Motion chrome grille, but squared off edges still give a muscular look to the 3-row family utility with seating for 7.

Four trim levels—S, SV, SL, and Platinum—are available in front- (FWD) or optional all-wheel drive (AWD). Move up through SL and SV trims that offer more comfort features and technology to Platinum, with all amenities. The Pathfinder Platinum includes 20-in. aluminum alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual panorama moonroof, trailer-tow package, and other goodies. SL and Platinum trims also feature a wave-of-the foot motion-activated liftgate.

Interior Features

Inside the Pathfinder, 3 rows of seating can be configured with second and third rows flattened for 79.8 cu. ft. of storage space. Second-row seating can tilt and slide forward and backward 5.5 ins. for easier access. A third row is comfy for children and pre-teens.

Four trim levels begin with the basic S that offers a NissanConnect infotainment system with 8-in. display screen, rear backup camera, and multi-zone climate control. The basic S trim is also equipped with new emergency braking and rear-door alert systems, HD Radio, hands-free smartphone connectivity, tri-zone climate control, push-button start, 4 USB ports, and a rearview monitor with drive-assist display. The new Rear Door Alert system is standard across the lineup. Cloth seats are standard for S and SV trims, while SL and Platinum seats are upholstered in leather. Pathfinder Platinum features a Bose premium audio system, cooled front seats, and wood grain accents.

Optional Features

Nissan’s popular Midnight Edition “blackout” appearance package is now available on Pathfinder SL trim variants and includes black alloy wheels, mirror caps, spoiler, black front and rear fascia, splash guards, and roof rails.

Several option groups include an SV All Weather package with heated seats and steering wheel and Revised SV Tech package that includes NissanConnect with navigation and services, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, Intelligent Cruise, and a towing package. Nissan also has revamped the SL Premium package with a Bose 13-speaker audiophile system, trailer accessories, power panorama moonroof, sunshade, rear roof glass with power sunshade, and 20-in. painted wheels.

Under the Hood

All 2018 Nissan Pathfinders are powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2017 refresh included a slight power boost to increase towing capability to 6,000 lbs. from 5,000 lbs. The Pathfinder’s powertrain is one of the most efficient in an SUV since the V-6 is matched with a third-generation Xtronic CVT.

Fuel Economy

The standard FWD Pathfinder is rated at 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for a combined rating of 23 mpg. The AWD Pathfinder EPA fuel-economy ratings are 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for a combined average of 22 mpg.


All 2018 Nissan Pathfinder SUVs are equipped with front and side air bag systems with seat belt sensors. Nissan also adds more advanced driver-assistance systems for 2018, including standard intelligent cruise control (ICC) and automatic emergency braking to help protect passengers in potential frontal collisions. A rearview camera is also standard. Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are available.

In government crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder (FWD and AWD) received an overall safety rating of 5 (out of 5) stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2018 Pathfinder “Good” on every crash test and “Superior” for front crash protection, but the SUV only received a “Marginal” rating for headlights.


Since the 2017 refresh, Nissan has added 4 extra USB ports (total of 6) and the NissanConnect infotainment system with standard 8.0-in. display is enhanced with a better voice-recognition HD microphone. NissanConnect with navigation and services is standard on SL and Platinum trim levels and features automatic collision notification, emergency call and stolen-vehicle locator, dealer service scheduling, and maintenance alerts.

The new Rear Door Alert (RDA) system, developed by Nissan engineers who are mothers, uses a horn chirp to remind a driver after parking about forgotten items in rear seat—kids, pets, groceries, dry cleaning, etc. The feature will be available on other Nissan models in the future.

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