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Competition in the mainstream three-row SUV segment is fierce, and it seems to be heating up even more. The Nissan Pathfinder tends to have its ups and downs, but Q1 of 2023 revealed it to growing in popularity with consumers. On the other hand, the Hyundai Palisade lost sales. So why did this happen, and what does it mean for the future?

The numbers are impossible to deny 

The Nissan Pathfinder had a huge jump in sales. According to GM Authority, in Q1 of 2022, it sold a mere 8,975 vehicles. In 2023 Q1, this number has jumped to 23,770, for an increase of 164.85%. This was the largest increase in the mainstream large three-row crossovers segment.

In contrast, the Hyundai Palisade had a drop of 6.77%. In Q1 of 2022, the Palisade sold 21,025. Just one year later, it sold a mere 19,602 in Q1 of 2023. These aren’t exactly terrible numbers, but no automaker wants to see a drop in sales. 

Sadly, the Palisade was one of only three mainstream large three-row crossovers to lose sales. The other two were the Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9. The real question is why the Palisade is losing sales while the Nissan Pathfinder is suddenly becoming incredibly popular.

The Hyundai Palisade is a good choice

It’s unclear why the 2023 Hyundai Palisade has lost sales because it’s actually a great SUV. It has a price range of $35,900–$49,850, and offers quite a bit of space. Critics praise the 2023 Hyundai Palisade, and it even won the Family Vehicle of the Year award from the Midwest Automotive Media Association.

It is possible that the Palisade is being overshadowed by the Kia Telluride, which continues to sell well. Another possibility is that it only offers one engine choice, which is the 3.8-liter V6 engine with 291 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque. Many three-row SUVs like the Ford Explorer Hybrid, Kia Sorento Hybrid, and Mazda CX-50 are hybrids, so this could be why buyers are choosing other vehicles over the Palisade.

Still, there’s really not much to critique the Palisade about. While it’s true that it takes a full 7.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, most people who are looking for a three-row SUV aren’t exactly concerned about speed. 

The one area where it could use a little improvement is the gas mileage. It gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg city and 27 mpg on the highway. That’s not stellar by any means, but also given the size of the Hyundai Palisade, it is to be expected. 

Even so, the numbers show that consumers are losing interest in it. 

The Nissan Pathfinder has a lot going for it, like ample interior space, a smooth ride, and high towing capacity. The one major difference between 2022 and 2023 is the addition of the Rugged Creek trim. 

This trim is designed for those who like to go off-roading. Given that many people may be gearing up for vacationing during the summer months, this could explain the uptick in sales during Q1 of 2023. 

The fact that the Pathfinder Rugged Creek can tow up to 6,000 lbs is an even bigger plus, as this means owners can haul ATVs and other toys to play with. The roof rack is another benefit, as it can carry 220 lbs.

The other Pathfinders are just as dependable, even if they aren’t as off-road worthy. It starts at $36,295, which is a decent price for a new three-row SUV.


2023 Nissan Pathfinder: 3 Reasons to Buy and 2 Reasons to Pass