There’s nothing overtly wrong with the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder. But competition is intense in the sport utility vehicle marketplace. And the SUV, now in its 34th year, needs a complete overall.
Its current generation started in 2013 and competition has improved since the SUV debuted in 1986. Its peak sales year in the United States was 88,632 in 2013, with fluctuating sales since. About 65,000 Pathfinders were sold in the U.S. last year.
The Ford Explorer is a longstanding rival and newcomers like the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas have designed with modern buyers in mind. The 2019 Pathfinder had numerous updates, but the SUV remains largely unchanged for 2020.
Nissan Pathfinder: Tech lacking
The native infotainment system feels old. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is not available. Visibility is sub-standard, and the Pathfinder has less cargo space than some top rivals.
The Pathfinder is at its best on the open road. It advances in near silence at cruising speeds and with no significant sway in strong winds or winding roads.
Front passengers ride in comfort, the second and third-row passengers are less fortunate. Steering is smooth and overall vision is strong. The cargo area is satisfactory but many competitors offer larger areas and easier seat configurations.
While advancing on hills, the Pathfinder requires a concerted effort. The SUV’s initial acceleration isn’t a segment-best, either. It achieves the 0-60 miles per hour standard in 7.7 seconds.
One strong positive: The Nissan Pathfinder is among only a few three-row SUVs that can tow up to 6,000 pounds regardless of trim level, thanks to its 3.5-liter V6 engine.
Article Last Updated: May 12, 2020.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.