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2020 Nissan Pathfinder Performance

#20 out of 22 in Midsize SUVs

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Nissan Pathfinder Performance Review


Performance: 7.3

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has a peppy V6 engine and a refined transmission that hustle the SUV around town and up to speed confidently. The Pathfinder feels balanced through tight turns, though its jittery ride can be annoying on rough road surfaces.

  • "Over broken pavement, the Pathfinder feels more like the previous-generation truck-based SUV, compared to this new family-friendly iteration. Body control is fair on smooth pavement, but the shocks don't seem to be able to keep up with the heavy wheels, resulting in a choppy, busy ride that comes into the cabin." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "The 3.5-liter V6 and continuously variable transmission delivered respectable acceleration and 18 mpg overall in our tests." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

The Pathfinder is outfitted with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. This V6 accelerates the SUV off the line with ease, and it supplies fine passing power at higher speeds. It’s paired with a smooth CVT, a type of automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available.

The Pathfinder returns an EPA-rated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is good for an SUV of this size.

  • "Thankfully, there's still the smooth and torquey 3.5-liter V6 and what is arguably the best use of a CVT automatic on sale today. This combination not only provides good power, but it also helps all Pathfinders tow an impressive 6,000 pounds, no matter the trim level or drive configuration." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Even at 70 mph, the Pathfinder has plenty of passing might in reserve, so it's easy to get by the 18-wheeler that keeps creeping into your lane. … As with many Nissans, the Pathfinder uses a continuously variable transmission that for the most part does a good job mimicking a traditional automatic." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "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)

Ride and Handling

The Pathfinder’s driving dynamics are a mixed bag. On the one hand, the SUV feels composed and stable around turns. On the other, the firm suspension tends to bounce and shimmy the Pathfinder over rough pavement.

  • "The Pathfinder leans a fair bit through moderate- and higher-speed curves, but it stays tidy and never feels sloppy. Stability control always manages to keep the Pathfinder on a short leash, but the intervention is soft and doesn't upset the vehicle. … An often choppy ride is the only real complaint." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "The ride is comfortable enough, but handling lacks agility." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "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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2020 Nissan Pathfinder

MSRP: $31,680 - $44,610

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