2023 Toyota Highlander Beats the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder

Are you thinking about getting either the Toyota Highlander or the Nissan Pathfinder? Find out how the two midsize SUVs stack up in this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder comparison. With its multitude of advantages, the Highlander beats the Pathfinder.

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder

Front angle view of Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander midsize SUV
Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder midsize SUV comparison, we evaluated several areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, warranty coverage, reliability, and price.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Performance

Front angle view of Scarlet Ember Tintcoat 2023 Nissan Pathfinder midsize SUV
Scarlet Ember Tintcoat 2023 Nissan Pathfinder | Nissan

On the performance front, the 2023 Toyota Highlander offers two engine options: a turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine (265 horsepower) and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid (243 horsepower). In comparison, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which generates 284 horsepower for the standard model and 295 horsepower for the Rock Creek Edition model.

The Pathfinder generates more horsepower, but the Highlander is more maneuverable. This is because it has a tighter turning circle than the Pathfinder (37.4 vs. 38.7 feet).

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Gas mileage

The Highlander has the advantage for efficiency. The fully gas-powered Highlander has an estimated fuel economy of up to 24 combined mpg, while the Highlander Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 36 combined mpg. In comparison, the Pathfinder has an estimated fuel economy of up to 23 combined mpg.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Towing

The Pathfinder can tow more than the Highlander. It has a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds, compared to 5,000 pounds for the Highlander.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Off-road capabilities

While neither SUV is a serious off-roader, both vehicles offer a traction-enhancing drive system — all-wheel drive for the Highlander and four-wheel drive for the Pathfinder. An off-road advantage for the Highlander, though, is higher ground clearance — 8.0 inches, compared to 7.1 inches for the standard Pathfinder model.

However, unlike the Highlander, the Pathfinder has an off-road-focused model with the rugged new Rock Creek Edition model. The ground clearance of 7.7 inches for the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition is still less than the Highlander, though.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Safety

Given its history, the Highlander has the advantage for safety. For the previous model year, the Highlander earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, which is the highest possible IIHS rating. However, the Pathfinder didn’t receive any safety award from IIHS.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Passenger and cargo space

Which midsize SUV is bigger: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 Pathfinder? Both SUVs can seat up to eight people, but the Pathfinder provides more passenger space. It has a total passenger volume of up to 149.7 cu-ft, compared to 141.3 cu-ft for the Highlander.

However, the Highlander offers more space for storage. It has a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft, compared to 80.5 cu-ft for the Pathfinder.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Warranty coverage and reliability

RELATED: 2023 Toyota Highlander: Features, Specs, and Overview

The Highlander and Pathfinder have similar warranty coverage, with the backing of a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, unlike the Pathfinder, the Highlander has a free maintenance plan, with two years or 25,000 miles of coverage.

Also, the Highlander is more reliable than the Pathfinder. It earned a J.D. Power reliability rating of 82/100, compared to 77/100 for the Pathfinder.

Highlander vs. Pathfinder: Price

Which midsize SUV costs more: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 Pathfinder? The official price information is not yet available for the 2023 model year, but both SUVs will likely cost slightly more than the 2022 versions.

For the 2022 Highlander, the starting price ranges from $35,855 MSRP for the L trim up to $49,510 MSRP for the Platinum Hybrid trim. In comparison, the starting price of the 2022 Pathfinder ranges from $34,640 MSRP for the S trim up to $47,140 MSRP for the Platinum trim.

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder: Which midsize SUV is better?

In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder midsize SUV comparison, the 2023 Highlander has most of the advantages. This includes advantages for maneuverability, gas mileage, safety, cargo space, a free maintenance plan, and reliability. Conversely, advantages for the 2023 Pathfinder include horsepower output, towing, and passenger space. 

RELATED: 2023 Nissan Pathfinder: Features, Specs, and a Rugged Rock Creek Trim