2018 Nissan Pathfinder Review
Edmunds expert review
Versatile, roomy and even somewhat rugged, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder checks several boxes for shoppers looking for a three-row crossover SUV. It's got a classy, upscale interior and a V6 engine with plenty of power for towing. The Pathfinder strikes an excellent balance of quality and utility.
After some substantial upgrades in 2017 — among them, new engine technology for more power, fortified suspension and steering, and increased towing capacity — the Pathfinder carries into 2018 with only a few changes. One of them is noteworthy, however: The automatic emergency braking safety feature, previously available only on upper trims, joins the base model's standard equipment.
There's also a new Rear Door Alert, intended to remind the driver of people, pets or objects that might still be present when the driver exits the car. It works by registering whether the door was opened before a trip but not reopened at the end of that trip or ignition cycle. It's a nifty feature that proves its worth with just one use, and it comes standard on all Pathfinders.
The Pathfinder also offers one of the sharpest infotainment interfaces around. The 8-inch touchscreen looks great and is supplemented by an intuitive dial-and-button controller (although its vertical location on the center stack makes less sense than down on the center console near the shifter as with many rival systems). On the downside, the Pathfinder offers relatively compact cargo capacity and utility compared to others.
None of this detracts from the Pathfinder overall, though. It elevates the humble family SUV to something slightly less than luxury, but more upscale than utilitarian. It's a happy middle ground, backed up by some real capability, that makes it worth a look for anyone considering a three-row crossover.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The seven-passenger 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in four main trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum.
The base S comes with a range of essential features and nice surprises, starting with a 3.5-liter V6 engine (284 horsepower, 259 pound-feet of torque) paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, but a four-wheel-drive system is optional and includes hill descent control and a special four-wheel-drive locking function for extra traction.
Highlights of the S trim's standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, tri-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, a 60/40-split folding second-row seat (which also slides and reclines), Bluetooth, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, and a six-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, dual USB media inputs and two additional charge-only USB ports for rear passengers. Automatic emergency braking also comes standard.
The SV adds helpful features including automatic headlights, foglights, rear parking sensors, a power-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An optional All Weather package offers heated front seats, along with heated side mirrors and steering wheel. A navigation system, driver safety aids (including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control), Nissan telematics services and a trailer hitch receiver are available with the optional Tech package.
Moving up to the SL, our recommended trim, adds the features from the SV's All Weather and Tech packages, as well as leather upholstery, a power liftgate, a top-down 360-degree parking camera system, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated second-row seats and upgraded interior trim.
The optional SL Premium package adds 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a 13-speaker Bose audio system and a trailer hitch receiver. You can also order the SL with the Midnight Edition package, which adds blacked-out 20-inch wheels, side mirrors, roof rails and other cosmetic elements.
Finally, the Platinum bundles all the previously mentioned options with 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and wood interior trim. A rear seat entertainment system with dual 8-inch headrest displays is optional for the Platinum only.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.