$24,220 - $34,947

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Performance Review


Performance: 7.7

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder gets good power from its standard V6 engine, and it maintains average fuel economy numbers for the class. The transmission provides smooth power from the engine. Handling is reasonably secure, but ride quality is stiff. 

  • "The redesigned engine and suspension mean the Pathfinder is far more entertaining than its predecessor from behind the wheel, and there's lots of utility in its three-row crossover design." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "Dynamically, the Pathfinder doesn't feel particularly engaging. On both city streets and the highway, the three-row SUV drove a lot like a minivan, and I could feel its size. It didn't take well to curvy roads, as the transmission has no realistic deceleration feel, and its suspension borders on soft but comes off unpolished." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Pathfinder comes standard with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission is also standard. The Pathfinder gets 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with standard front-wheel drive, and 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway with optional four-wheel drive. Those estimates are about average for the class. 

Acceleration and power delivery are smooth and steady, whether accelerating from a stop or when already moving. The transmission operates well and makes the most of the engine’s power.

  • "The 3.5-liter V6 and continuously variable transmission delivered respectable acceleration and 18 mpg overall in our tests." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Thankfully, the re-engineered 3.5L V6 delivers as promised. We found it to be responsive, delivering excellent acceleration – both from a stop and in passing situations – and while we still aren't completely in love with CVTs, we'll grudgingly admit that this particular drivetrain pairing works pretty darned well." -- Left Lane News (2017)
  • "One thing that didn't need much work was Pathfinder's power delivery. Its 3.5-liter V6 provides a good full-throttle jump off the line, and the CVT automatic transmission kicks down quickly for more passing power. And unlike some CVT powertrains, there's little of the 'rubberbanding' effect (engine speed quickly rising and staying at a high rpm under acceleration) that some people find objectionable. In fact, in normal driving, you might not even notice anything unusual at all." -- Consumer Guide (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Pathfinder comes standard with front-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is optional. The ride is somewhat harsh, and though handling is secure and balanced, it is far from agile. 

  • The ride is comfortable enough, but handling lacks agility." -- Consumer Reports
  • The Pathfinder's suspension and steering were sharpened up for the 2017 model year, making the SUV more controlled in turns and more stable over a bit of rolling, undulating road. Ride quality suffers a bit as a result, however, especially in the Platinum trim." -- Edmunds
  • "While steering performance has definitely improved, with dramatically better feel and feedback, the greater firmness creates a bumpy, unsettled ride quality that doesn't match the sedate family-hauling mission of the Pathfinder. It does remain flatter in cornering, with improved body control over the outgoing Pathfinder. But that newfound poise has come at the expense of ride comfort, a quality that may be preferred for family use." -- Cars.com (2017)

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