The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder Is Practical and Affordable, But It Might Bore You

If you’re looking for a modern three-row SUV to buy used, you might want to consider the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder. Critics specifically recognized the 2018 Pathfinder for its spacious interior and excellent safety scores. But at the same time, reviewers say the Pathfinder can be a bore. 

2018 Nissan Pathfinder performance 

A new Nissan Pathfinder on display at an auto show
A Nissan Pathfinder on display | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Reviewers often say that the Pathfinder is a minivan disguised as an SUV. This metaphor stems mostly from the Pathfinder’s driving experience. The Pathfinder features a single powertrain, and that’s a 284-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Standard models will have front-wheel-drive and upgraded versions will have all-wheel-drive.

Consumer Reports is among the reviewers that say the Pathfinder is boring to drive. The Pathfinder doesn’t do much to stand out from its competitors performance-wise. It lacks agility, and it’s not the smoothest on bumpy roads. Furthermore, the Pathfinder doesn’t excite much regarding fuel economy. 

In Consumer Reports’ road test, the 2018 Pathfinder returned a combined 18 mpg, which is below-average. The highlight of the Pathfinder’s performance is that it’s overall pretty comfortable and secure. However, CR says that the Pathfinder’s handling is the biggest disappointment.

“While ultimately secure, handling feels ungainly and this rather wide vehicle just can’t be hustled around corners with confidence. The steering responds slowly and is devoid of feedback. The Pathfinder was completely out of its element at its cornering limits. It barged its way through the turns at our track with the stability control coming on early and aggressively, cutting power to tame this vehicle’s tendency to run wide.”

Consumer Reports

Cabin comforts 

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In addition to its overall ride comfort, the Pathfinder’s cabin is one of its brightest spots. This three-row SUV can carry up to seven people. Its seats are soft and accommodating, and each row is generous in space. The Pathfinder is also a good choice for extra cargo room. Some reviewers complained that the Pathfinder’s interior is outdated, but that’s not a huge drawback.

The entry-level Pathfinder S offers some desirable tech. It comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, and a CD player. The Pathfinder’s infotainment system is user-friendly, but unfortunately, it’s not compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

The base trim does come with notable active safety features, including forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking and a rear-seat reminder. For the right balance of in-car tech and luxe finishings, CR recommends the SL trim. The SL trim replaces the Pathfinder’s standard cloth upholstery with leather. You’ll also want to consider the SL model for heated front and rear seats and upgraded safety gadgets such as blind-spot monitoring. 

So, should you get a 2018 Pathfinder?

A Nissan Pathfinder SUV on display at an auto show
The Nissan Pathfinder | Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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The 2018 Pathfinder is a worthy choice if your priorities are comfort and practicality. It’s also one of the most affordable options to buy used; the average price for a 2018 Pathfinder is between $19,250 – $27,375. Other pros are that this Nissan has earned excellent safety and predicted reliability scores. But if you want a more engaging driving experience, consider the Pathfinder’s class rivals the Mazda CX-9 or the Chevy Traverse.