- Third-row seats are easily accessible.
- Robust towing capacity of 6000 pounds.
- Standard rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking.
- Strong V6 engine comes with good fuel economy.
- Cargo space is below average.
- Less room in the third-row compared to rivals.
- Ride quality is firm.
Would we buy one? Maybe.
Vehicle Type: Three-row, midsize family SUV.
Price Range: From $31,680, excluding a $1,095 destination charge, to $44,610, before options.
Powertrain: All four trim levels come standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that outputs 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque.
A continuously variable automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard across all models.
All-wheel-drive is a $1,690 option.
Competitors: Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Dodge Durango, Subaru Ascent, and Mazda CX-9.
Overall Score: 7.3/10
Safety Features: 10/10
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. It received four stars in the rollover and frontal crash tests and five stars in the side crash test.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder a Top Safety Pick and awarded it the highest 'Good' rating in five crash tests. The IIHS gave it the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the passenger-side small overlap front test.
The Pathfinder comes standard with rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic braking, and Nissan's Rear Door Alert system. All entry-level models have the basic driver-assistance features, but opting for the Nissan Pathfinder Platinum will add an array of additional safety features.
Other available safety features include blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, rear-cross traffic alert, and a surround-view parking camera system.
There are four Pathfinder models, including the S, SV, SL, and Platinum. The base S starts at an MSRP of $31,680. Following suit is the Nissan Pathfinder SV at an MSRP of $34,470, the Pathfinder SL begins at an MSRP of $38,090, and lastly, the Platinum trim has an MSRP of $42,920.
The Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition is available for this model year and will cost you $995 and adds on synthetic leather upholstery, a tow hitch, and black exterior accents.
With a well-balanced combination of cost and desirable content, the Pathfinder does award you the good value behind its pricing.
When comparing the Pathfinder against closely-matched rivals like the Honda Pilot, the base trims are similarly priced; however, the Honda has higher trim levels that exceed Nissan's pricing.
The warranty coverage behind Nissan is not as strong as other rival warranties on the market. The Volkswagen Tiguan has extended coverage while Hyundai and Kia have longer warranty periods.
Tech Features: 6/10
The 2020 Pathfinder has an outdated infotainment system that does not keep up well with rivals like the Toyota Highlander. Neither Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto is supported, and the system has poor graphic display quality.
All Pathfinder models are equipped with an 8-inch touch screen, six USB ports, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, tri-zone climate control, and a CD player.
Opting for the Technology Package ($980) adds a navigation system, heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and heated side mirrors.
The SL trim comes standard with navigation, heated first-and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and a hands-free tail liftgate. Purchasing the SL Rock Creek Edition package for $995 will add on more tech features and the Premium package ($2,110) adds a 13-speaker Bose stereo system and a panoramic moonroof.
Tech features in the Platinum trim can be upgraded to include a rear-seat entertainment system for $1,700.
While the Pathfinder may not feel as luxurious as many newer competitors, it does have upscale trimmings and comfortable seats, as well as ample cupholders and USB ports.
The front seats are reasonably spacious and provide excellent cushioning, especially the driver's seat. The second-row has ample legroom, and the seats slide and flip quickly for easy access into the third-row. Unfortunately, the third-row is tight on space with minimal legroom for adults.
The folding second-and third-row seats allow for variable seating and cargo configurations. The Pathfinder provides an average amount of cargo space for a mid-size crossover; however, the Ford Explorer does offer slightly more.
There are 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the 3rd-row seats and 47.4 cubic feet when those seats are folded. It expands to 79.5 cubic feet of space when both rows of seats are folded down.
The Pathfinder boasts a towing capacity of 6000 pounds, which puts the Nissan near the top of its class.
Styling & Design: 6/10
The Pathfinder has not changed its styling and design over the past few years. If you wanted a change, you would need to add on the Rock Creek Edition package to gain tough-looking exterior elements such as the black mesh grille, unique alloy wheels, and black roof rails and side mirrors.
The exterior design is family-friendly, and the 2020 model year has continued with the signature design styling of the V-Motion grille, LED daytime running lights, and boomerang-shaped headlights.
Standard exterior features that offer functionality include roof rails, power wing mirrors, rear privacy glass, UV-reducing solar glass. Platinum models feature a set of fog lights and intelligent auto headlights.
Reviews have noted that comfort overrides the Pathfinder's capability, but it has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 lbs, which 1,000 more than most rivals.
The interior is brightened up with lighter shades and colors, and while there is a long expanse of soft-touch comfort materials, the broad dashboard has an outdated infotainment system.
Driving Experience: 7/10
Despite the rugged name, the Pathfinder has not been designed for off-roading. It only has 7-inches of ground clearance and lacks a transfer case that has low-range gearing. The all-wheel-drive system adds all-weather traction on slick and snow-covered roads.
The CVT in the Pathfinder is relatively adequate, but when driving up a hill, the engine's coarser notes are revealed, and the automatic transmission takes some time to catch up with the driver's instructions.
Stability and confidence require more than raw speed, but the V6 engine provides enough power for everyday travels, and the firm suspension keeps the body stable around bends. The steering can feel heavy at times, but the overall ride is comfortably smooth.
Many reviews suggest staying with the standard 18-inch wheels since models with 20-inch wheels offer a jittery and uncomfortable ride over rough pavements.
Fuel Efficiency: 8/10
The Nissan Pathfinder competes well with its rivals with a competitive fuel economy for a family crossover. Nissan has incorporated modern engine advancements that include mirror bore cylinder coating and direct fuel injection to streamline the combustion process and lighten the overall engine weight.
The EPA estimates 20/27/23 mpg city/highway/combined for front-wheel-drive models and 20/27/22 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. The Platinum trim does see a slight dip and has an EPA of 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined.
The Pathfinder overtakes the Honda Pilot FWD 3.5-liter engine with better fuel consumption, but it loses to the Toyota Highlander, which has an EPA of 21/29/24 mpg.
While there are no hybrid models for the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder, shoppers can get a 2021 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid.