2018 Nissan Pathfinder Walk Around

The nose and tail are both blocky, to make the Pathfinder look more like a truck; the similar-sized Murano is the Nissan crossover that looks like a crossover (if not a space ship). On the truck-like Pathfinder, a bold chrome grille completes the disguise.

The overall lines go back to crossing over, with a long hood, raked windshield, flowing side creases with chrome touches, and upswept third window. The shapes, angles, and directions somehow make the Pathfinder look smaller than it is. You have to stand up against it to appreciate its enormity, mid-size or not.


The cabin stays true to the incongruous styling, where a glossy dashboard meets the soft matte material on the door panels. The plastics are hard and fabrics are unremarkable. The Pathfinder finds some influence from its elegant sibling the Infiniti, but not here.

The touchscreen is hard to clean, with its pinch and swipe control on tile icons, part of the NissanConnect infotainment system and its connectivity. There are two interior colors, Charcoal and Almond.

The Pathfinder does a good job of balancing comfort, access, space and storage. There is a lot of elbow room, cupholders in the door pockets and center console along with two big trays, map pockets on the front seatbacks, no less than three bottle holders in each rear door, and cupholders on each side of the third row.

The comfortable front seats have good back support but little side bolstering, while the driver has a lot of adjustment. Our seat time included a long trip on the highway, and we have no complaints. The lack of bolstering doesn’t do a thing for cornering, but the Pathfinder isn’t a vehicle to be tossed around anyhow.

The bench seat in the second row slides back and forth 5.5 inches for legroom, as long as there’s no one in the third row. It slides and folds to gain access to the third row, with a feature called Latch and Glide that allows child seats to stay in place even while the seat partially collapses. But not if a child is in it. The little ones will have to climb out, for the bigger kids to get in the third row.

The second row is not so comfortable, because the rear seat has a leaned-back, legs-splayed seating position. It’s the compromise for its folding capability, to improve third-row access.

The optional third row is roomier than most, with short, flat cushions that sit quite low, providing headroom enough for early teens but not fully grown people. It actually rakes back a bit.

With all the seats up, the Pathfinder has only 16 cubic feet behind the third row. With both rows folded, there is a solid 80 cubic feet of cargo space, still nothing like the massive 116 cubic feet in Chevrolet Traverse, but that’s a full-size SUV.

The Pathfinder keeps away vibrations and road noise better than some others in the class.

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