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Nissan has many popular SUVs on the market this year, but none are as dialed in as the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek.

Review Highlights:

  • 2023 Nissan Pathfinder: $35,200 – $48,170
  • Pros: The Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek is an all-new trim level for the Pathfinder that adds more capability, bigger tries, and a higher towing capacity.
  • Cons: The Rock Creek trim looks cool but might not fulfill the off-road expectations of all buyers.

Nissan went all-out with the 2023 Pathfinder, making it more capable and rugged than ever before, especially when it comes to the Rock Creek trim. Building on more than 40 years of Pathfinders, the newest version has thoughtful and essential upgrades like a 6,000-pound tow rating.

We spent a week with the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek in the two-tone Obsidian Green Pearl / Super Black paint scheme. This new SUV was easy to drive and had plenty of features drivers are looking for, like the Intelligent Around View Monitor and camera system and a new roof rack with a 220-pound capacity.

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek front end
A 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

What’s new for the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder?

The new Pathfinder Rock Creek is Nissan’s answer to all of the multi-purpose vehicles on the market that can do it all. Nissan says it was “designed for drivers wanting to venture away from the pavement.” The Pathfinder is a seven-seater SUV that fits many budgets, and the new Rock Creek trim takes it to new places. Off-road or on the pavement, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is a cool new option.

What 2023 Pathfinder trim level is right for you?

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek details
A 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

For this year, the 2023 Pathfinder comes in five different grades. Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available on all trim levels, but the Rock Creek comes in four-wheel drive only.

Pathfinder S 2WD$35,200
Pathfinder SV 2WD$38,020
Pathfinder SL 2WD$41,620
Pathfinder Platinum 2WD$48,170
Pathfinder S 4WD$37,100
Pathfinder SV 4WD$39,920
Pathfinder Rock Creek 4WD$43,020
Pathfinder SL 4WD$43,520
Pathfinder Platinum 4WD$40,070
2023 Nissan Pathfinder trim levels

Depending on how you plan to use it, the Rock Creek is a solid option that comes well-equipped. Otherwise, the Pathfinder Platinum is another trim with many features drivers are looking for in a modern SUV.

How does the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek drive?

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek front end
A 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

Driving the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is comfortable and easy. It sits higher than many SUVs and has good visibility through the front window. The back window is also large and easy to see out of. Thanks to the Rock Creek’s off-road-tuned suspension and 18-inch wheels work well together. It is quieter in the cabin than one might expect, especially for how boxy the SUV is.

The 2023 Pathfinder Rock Creek’s 3.5L V6 engine gets 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t fast, but the Pathfinder accelerated as expected and had no trouble getting up to speed on the highway. The Nissan has an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, which is about what we saw during testing. In the Florida heat, the air conditioning made the engine run a little harder than usual. This had minimal impact on the fuel economy.

Even though there are fewer hills to test the Rock Creek on, it performed well on minor rocks and sand. It has seven available modes: Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow. We mostly kept it in standard and sand, but it was nice to have other options. It also gets an additional 0.6-inch lift that adds to the utility a bit.

Is the Nissan Pathfinder comfortable?

During testing, the Nissan was spacious and comfortable. The second-row captain’s chairs made getting into the back row a breeze. The folding third row also made filling the cargo area easy. It doesn’t have a power-folding option, but the process was simple enough. The cargo area offered 16.6 cubic feet of space with all the seats in place, but that went up to 80.5 cubic feet with all the rows folded. Nissan says that is enough to fit four golf bags.

All passengers were comfortable, thanks to Nissan’s standard tri-zone automatic climate control system. In the front, 10-way power seats worked as anticipated. However, some drivers might not find that the seats go high enough. Beyond that, the Pathfinder was a comfortable option with plenty of room for passengers.

The towing numbers for the Pathfinder Rock Creek sit at 6,000 pounds, which is enough to haul most of your weekend toys. That tow mode we mentioned before will be helpful for those heavy-towing days.

What powers the new Nissan Pathfinder?

Most trim levels of the 2023 Pathfinder get the 2.5L V6 engine with 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. The Rock Creek gets a 3.5L V6 engine with 295 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. All options are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and get the automatic start/stop feature. While this can be intrusive in some cars, it wasn’t very noticeable while driving around. In our week of testing, we averaged around 22 mpg combined.

How is the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder’s tech?

Inside the Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

Nissan’s touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use and navigate through. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto worked seamlessly to play music and navigate through traffic during the week of testing. Actual buttons are used for essential controls like fan speed and other settings, which is appreciated. There were also plenty of USB ports to keep everyone charged.

The camera was clear and helpful, using a split-screen to show both the 360-degree view and the other camera view. While the Pathfinder isn’t that big, the cameras made backing up and parking easier.

How safe is the Pathfinder?

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek
A 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

The 2023 Pathfinder gets Nissan Safety Shield 360, which adds all kinds of safety systems as standard features. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t thoroughly tested the newest version, it did give the SUV a four-star overall safety rating for the front crashworthiness tests. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder its Top Safety Pick Plus award.

Some of the included safety systems are:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Warning
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • High Beam Assist
  • Rear Automatic Braking

MotorBiscuit gives the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder a score of 8.4

A 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

The editors at MotorBiscuit award the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder an overall rating of 84 out of 100. Nissan’s three-row SUV is in a tough segment full of some of the best-selling vehicles on the market. It does a lot of things well, like the infotainment system, upgraded suspension, and safety.

The Pathfinder Rock Creek is an excellent addition to Nissan’s SUV lineup. It sits below the Armada but is bigger than the Rogue and Murano. The Pathfinder isn’t going to off-road better than a Jeep, but it looks good and does all of the important SUV things with ease.


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