2019 Nissan Pathfinder Hits Right on the Mark as a Versatile, Family-Oriented SUV

A couple of decades back, Nissan brought out an all-new SUV model. In its first generation, the Nissan Pathfinder was a rugged truck-based model for drivers who preferred a more hard-edged driving experience. Over the years, however, the personality of the Pathfinder has changed. With the current generation, Nissan smoothed over those hard edges. Gone are the days when the Pathfinder was a brutish, hulking SUV. Now, the model is a civilized, comfortable, and flexible three-row SUV.

And that's no criticism. The new Pathfinder earns high marks for its excellent interior features, flexible design, and strong powerplant. Even the switch to a unibody design with independent suspension has meant a dramatic improvement in ride comfort. All in all, the new Pathfinder is exactly the kind of jack-of-all-trades SUV that so many drivers are clamoring for in today's automotive market.

Space and Comfort: Giving the People What They Want

It's no secret that crossover SUVs have all but taken over the automotive industry in recent years. For many, the convincing factor seems to be the space and flexibility that models from the segment offer. If you frequently haul bulky cargo or often require space for more than five passengers, it's hard to find a better vehicle than a large crossover outside of minivan territory.

Nissan is speaking directly to these drivers with the new Pathfinder. It's a big, spacious, comfortable SUV that won't shake you about with a body-on-frame ride. Both the first and second rows of seats are impressively roomy. The third row is a bit tighter, but it's more than enough space for a couple of kids to ride along. It's even easy to access the third row of seats since the second-row seats can slide forward up to five inches. With all seats upright, the Pathfinder has room for up to seven passengers.

The Pathfinder also doubles as a handy cargo hauler. Empty out your passengers, fold down the rear seats, and you've got loads of space for moving everything from luggage to home improvement supplies. The seats can fold down to a near-flat position that opens up 70.5 cubic feet of cargo space. In-floor storage spaces add mean you can carry even more items.

Performance: From Pedestrian to Adventure Bound

Drivers may be surprised by the stout performance offered within the new Pathfinder. It won't match more robust SUVs in certain categories, but it certainly punches above its weight class as a midsize crossover.

The Pathfinder's ace in the hole is its standard V6 engine. The 3.5-liter unit is a willing powerplant, offering 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. It's an impressive companion for highway cruising, offering smooth power for the long haul. Speaking of hauling, the Pathfinder can handle quite a bit of it. Nissan claims the SUV can tow up to 6,000 pounds -- a fair bit more than many of the Pathfinder's competitors.

Hardcore off-road enthusiast ought to look elsewhere, for the Pathfinder is not a purpose-built all-terrain vehicle. But you won't necessarily have to be confined to tarmac in the Pathfinder. Though front-wheel drive comes standard, an available intelligent four-wheel drive system is also available that can handle dirt, gravel, mud, and snow quite capably. The system can vary its power delivery between the front and rear axles to compensate for loss in traction. It even gives you three convenient drive modes: 2WD offers the best efficiency, Auto engages four-wheel drive on its own, and 4WD Lock keeps four-wheel drive on for the most demanding challenges. This system isn't meant to conquer Moab -- instead, it gives drivers peace of mind for varying weather conditions or traversing a light trail on the way to a campsite.

Technology: Keeping the Driver Aware and Passengers Connected

One of the shining points of the new Pathfinder is its driver assistance technology package. Nissan has taken full advantage of the recent developments in active safety features and put together the available Nissan Intelligent Mobility suite. Pathfinder models equipped with Nissan Intelligent Mobility get a whole slew of assistance features. Standouts include Automatic Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Blind Spot Warning.

Naturally, the Pathfinder also provides for the entertainment demands of family driving. Its Tri-Zone entertainment system adds 8-inch monitors to the backs of the front-seat headrests. Up front, an 8-inch touchscreen display is an easy interface for apps, navigation, and other functions.

The 2019 Pathfinder Fits the Bill Perfectly as a Modern, Versatile Midsize SUV

Balancing daily practicality with usable capability and a ream of available creature comforts, the new Pathfinder does exactly what it sets out to accomplish: prepare drivers for the wide array of challenges that life can throw their way. It's ready to take on just about everything, from hauling the family across the country to picking up supplies for yard work. To sum it all up, the 2019 Pathfinder is an SUV that's meant to help you live your life.