It was just my luck that I was assigned a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder earlier this year for a week that included a road trip of almost 150 miles.
There are worse vehicles to while away the mile in.
There’s not much new here unless you care about the available Rock Creek Edition. Which, of course, is not the trim I drove, as evidenced by the headline.
The Platinum trim I drove is the top dog of the lineup, and the features list shows that.
We’ll get to that. On the road, the 3.5-liter V6 (284 horsepower, 259 lb-ft) is a smooth operator, though the Pathy occasionally feels a tad too heavy when you need to pass. Nissan doesn’t saddle this beast with a CVT – you get a nine-speed automatic transmission instead.
Speaking of heaviness, the Pathy does feel a tad ponderous when handling, but not terribly inappropriate for the class/segment. That said, the freeway ride is smooth. Add in a mostly quiet cabin – some noise does trickle in at higher speeds – and this is a nice ride for a road trip.
Sadly, the steering feel is a bit artificial.
Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist system is helpful when used on the proper highways, and it worked better than older versions of the system that I’ve tested. It’s also enhanced over past versions – not only does it follow lane lines to keep you centered, but it can come to a complete stop and accelerate in stop-and-go traffic. The version available on the Platinum can even adjust speeds for curves. Setting it requires a couple of button pushes, and then you can be semi-hands-free for a bit.
The cabin has easy-to-use buttons and knobs but the materials can feel a little downmarket at times, and the typical tacked-on infotainment screen rears its ugly head yet again. I dug the customizable digital gauge cluster, though the shifter and I never did become friends. At least the drive-mode selector is easy to work, though the mode that probably appeals to most of us the most – Sport – doesn’t exactly turn the Pathy into a tall GT-R.
The Platinum came loaded, of course, with standard features such as a 360-degree camera, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, high-beam assist, intelligent lane intervention, blind-spot intervention, intelligent forward collision warning, head-up display, heated steering wheel, heated front and rear seats, leather seats, tri-zone climate control, wireless charging pad, a power liftgate, ProPILOT, front and rear sonar, smart cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, satellite radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bose audio, panoramic moonroof, LED headlights and taillights, and 20-inch wheels.
Heated second-row captain’s chairs and a removable second-row center console were options, along with a cargo package, LED fog lamps, two-tone paint, and interior lighting. Those options took the base price from a tick over $49K to just under $55K.
The Pathfinder is no longer the rugged SUV of the past. Nor is it the too-soft roader it was a generation ago. It’s now just another large crossover, doing large crossover things.
The thing is, it does those things well, it’s priced within range of its competition, and it’s a good road tripper.
It’s in the muddled middle of the segment – and while that sounds a bit like damning with faint praise, it really isn’t. Like the smaller Rogue, the Pathfinder won’t turn heads or dominate its segment, but that’s OK. It does what it needs to do well, and that should be enough.
If you doubt that, take a freeway test drive in one.
[Images: Nissan. Note — Pics are of various trim levels]
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