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2018 Nissan Pathfinder Review

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder ranks near the back of the midsize SUV class. The Pathfinder has good safety scores, a refined V6 engine and roomy seats. Its dated interior and firm ride quality, however, hold it back in this highly competitive class.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior
  • Zippy V6 engine
  • User-friendly features
  • Lackluster cabin design
  • Jittery ride on rough pavement

Rankings & Research

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Nissan Pathfinder has a score of 7.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 49 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Overall: 7.7
Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.4
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder a Good Used SUV?

Yes, the three-row 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is a good midsize SUV. The Pathfinder has a spacious cabin, and used models tend to cost a lot less than many other used midsize SUVs.

The 2018 Pathfinder’s highlights include:

  • Plenty of room for tall passengers in the first two rows
  • More cargo space than many three-row competitors in this class
  • User-friendly tech features
  • Good fuel economy
  • Good safety scores and many available safety features
  • Low average purchase price

The Pathfinder also has a number of drawbacks:

  • Firm ride, especially with the available 20-inch wheels
  • No support for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
  • Outdated cabin styling
  • No eight-seat layout

If you want a family-friendly SUV with eight seats and a smoother ride, give the higher-rated 2018 Toyota Highlander and 2018 Honda Pilot a look as well.

Compare the Pathfinder, Highlander, and Pilot »

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 49 Nissan Pathfinder reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cars team has been ranking and reviewing cars, trucks and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder?

Based on listings for the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder on our site, the average list price is $25,000, which is low for the class. Prices range from $21,000 to $33,000 and vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Cost to Own?

The Pathfinder’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $24,900, or $4,980 per year. That’s about average for a midsize SUV.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Pathfinder?

The 2019 Pathfinder starts at around $31,500. You can spend thousands less, and get a nearly identical model, by purchasing a used 2018 Pathfinder instead. The 2019 Pathfinder received only minor updates; for instance, rear parking sensors became standard (previously optional).

Read about the new Nissan Pathfinder »

You can save even more money by purchasing a used 2013 to 2017 Pathfinder. These vehicles, like the 2018 and 2019 models, are all part of the Pathfinder’s current generation. There were a few key updates over these years. A hybrid model was offered only for 2014. The SUV was restyled for 2017. Nissan gave it a stronger V6 engine with an extra 24 horsepower, increased max towing capacity to 6,000 pounds, added an updated touch-screen infotainment system to the standard features list, and made safety features such as forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control available. Opt for a 2017 or newer model if these updates are important to you.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Pathfinder »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Pathfinder a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Pathfinder reliability »

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Recalls

At the time of this writing, one recall has been issued for the 2018 Pathfinder:

  • Brake fluid leak at ABS pump in some models

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Nissan Pathfinder safety recalls »

Which Used Nissan Pathfinder Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. The entry-level Pathfinder S is pretty well equipped, making it a fine starting point in this lineup. All trims come with a V6 engine, a continuously variable automatic transmission, and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

  • Nissan Pathfinder S: The base model Pathfinder S trim comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, a rear-seat reminder, keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, six speakers, satellite radio, a CD player, Bluetooth, four USB ports, tri-zone climate control, cloth seats, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
  • Nissan Pathfinder SV: The SV trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, remote start, rear parking sensors, automatic on/off headlights, and fog lights.
  • Nissan Pathfinder SL: The SL trim adds a navigation system, leather seats, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, a 360-degree view camera system, adaptive cruise control, heated side mirrors, and a hands-free power liftgate.
  • Nissan Pathfinder Platinum: The Platinum trim adds ventilated front seats, a 13-speaker Bose stereo, a panoramic moonroof, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

See 2018 Nissan Pathfinder trims and specs »

What Does Nissan’s Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Nissan offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles that are six years old or less and with fewer than 80,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale’s date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each Nissan CPO vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Competitors like Buick and Kia have more comprehensive programs, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Nissan certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Pathfinder?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Pathfinder an overall rating of five stars out of five, along with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in frontal crash and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this SUV a top rating of Good in almost every area tested. It received the second-best rating of Acceptable rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test and Marginal-to-Poor ratings for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead. It also earned a Superior rating for front crash prevention.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera
  • forward collision warning with brake assist
  • Rear Door Alert (a system that reminds drivers to check the back seat before exiting)

Available advanced safety features:

  • rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • adaptive cruise control
  • around-view parking camera

See Pathfinder safety scores »

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder or 2018 Ford Explorer?

The Pathfinder may not be perfect, but it’s a better option than the 2018 Ford Explorer. The Ford rates below average for predicted reliability. Its seats aren’t as comfortable as the Nissan’s, and its cabin materials feel rather cheap. The Explorer also feels bulky and cumbersome to drive. Stick with the Pathfinder.

Which Is Better: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder or 2018 Chevrolet Traverse?

The redesigned 2018 Chevy Traverse is an excellent pick in this class. The Traverse has a quality interior, an easy-to-use infotainment system, roomy seating for up to eight, and a vast cargo area. The Chevrolet also rates highly for predicted reliability, and it offers a smoother ride quality. It’s the better option.

Compare the Pathfinder, Explorer, and Traverse »

2018 Pathfinder Performance

How Does the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Drive?

The Pathfinder offers a decent driving experience. It’s equipped with a punchy V6 engine and a smooth continuously variable automatic transmission. This setup hauls the SUV around town with ease and moves the Pathfinder to highway speeds quickly. It also has adequate passing power. The Pathfinder is pretty stable around turns, and its brakes slow the vehicle confidently. It doesn’t have the cushiest ride, though. Small bumps and dips tends to jostle the SUV. Rides on rougher road surfaces can be uncomfortable, especially on models equipped with the available 20-inch wheels. Stick with the smaller 18-inch wheels.

With just 7 inches of ground clearance, the Pathfinder isn’t a great off-roader, but it can still handle slick conditions and snow-covered streets without fuss. Drivers can lock the transmission in a permanent all-wheel-drive mode for maximum traction.

  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6 with 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive (FWD); available all-wheel drive (AWD)
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)
Does the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Pathfinder gets good fuel economy for a midsize SUV.

  • FWD: 20/27 mpg city/highway
  • AWD: 19/26 mpg
2018 Nissan Pathfinder Towing Capacity

The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Read more about Pathfinder performance »

2018 Pathfinder Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Pathfinder Seat?

The Pathfinder is a three-row SUV with seven seats. The front seats are soft and supportive, and the driving position is comfy. Both the first- and second-row seats have plenty of space for taller passengers. The third row is tight in terms of knee- and legroom, but it’s still roomy enough for adults on shorter trips. The Pathfinder’s cabin is trimmed with a number of soft-touch plastics, and it remains quiet at higher speeds. The overall styling is rather dull, and it looks dated compared with some other vehicles in this segment.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth seats

Available seating features:

  • leather seats
  • heated first- and second-row seats
  • ventilated front seats
How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder?

The Pathfinder has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. This setup is user-friendly, but some of the anchors are located too deep in the seat cushions for easy access. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a second-best Acceptable rating for its ease of use.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Features

The Pathfinder has an easy-to-use infotainment system. This 8-inch touch screen has simple menus, and it reacts quickly to inputs. You can also control it using a knob and the buttons on the dashboard, so you don’t have to rely on the touch screen for every function.

The graphics are rather fuzzy, especially with the navigation system. The screen doesn’t support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, popular programs that allow users to integrate their iPhone and Android apps on the screen.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, six speakers, satellite radio, a CD player, Bluetooth, and four USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: a navigation system, a 13-speaker Bose sound system, and a rear-seat DVD player with two 8-inch screens
  • Additional standard features: tri-zone climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, and cruise control
  • Other available features: remote start, a panoramic moonroof, and a motion-activated power liftgate

See 2018 Nissan Pathfinder specs »

Read more about Pathfinder interior »

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Dimensions

Nissan Pathfinder Cargo Space

The Pathfinder has 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats, 47.8 cubic feet with these seats folded, and 79.8 cubic feet with the second row folded. That’s a generous amount of cargo room for a midsize SUV, though a few competitors do offer more space, like the 2018 Buick Enclave and 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Length and Weight
  • Length: 16 feet, 6 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,292 to 4,660 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Built?

Nissan built the 2018 Pathfinder in Tennessee.

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