2023 Nissan Pathfinder: Exploring the Unbeaten Paths

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is a smart and capable SUV for those who are looking to go off of the beaten path. We look at powertrain, trim levels, and more.

What’s New for the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder?

Many of the same comfort features from the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder are carried over into the new 2023 Nissan Pathfinder. In other words, there really isn’t a lot of “new” to the new Pathfinder.

What is new is the Rock Creek trim level that is offered in 2023 for those who like a more rugged SUV with more off-road comfort. Also, wireless phone charging is offered as a standard feature on the SL trim.

Drivers still get the comfort features of the redesign from 2022 plus an added trim level for 2023. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?

2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com

2023 Nissan Pathfinder – nissanusa.com |  Shop 2023 Nissan Pathfinder on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $34,640

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

2WD or 4x4

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

21 City / 27 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 8

The Breakdown

Spacious seats

Quiet and comfy highway ride

Impressive towing capacity

Sluggish power

Below average front seat comfort

Less cargo space than competitors

What every SUV should strive to be

2023 Pathfinder Specs

Trims & Pricing

S - $36,295
SV - $39,115
SL - $42,715
Rock Creek - $44,115
Platinum - $47,940

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Powertrain

2023 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L V6 - usa.nissannews.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L V6 - usa.nissannews.com

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Together they provide 284 horsepower and 259 lbs.-ft. of torque. There are no hybrid powertrain options on the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder.

The engine supplies adequate power for most conditions. However, we feel that it was a bit sluggish when it came to stomping the accelerator and attempting to milk all the power at once. Its reluctance to shift while going up hills was not a deal breaker by any means though.

The incredibly quiet and smooth ride is courtesy of the fully independent front strut and rear multi-link suspension with stabilizing bars. The Rock Creek trim features a special off-road tuned suspension with a 0.6-inch lift and 18-inch tires giving it 7.7 inches of ground clearance. The other trims offer 7.1 inches of ground clearance which is lower than some of its competitors.

The steering is direct and precise allowing for smooth maneuverability. It feels a bit “heavier” than some of its competitors but still allows the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder to handle well in curves. While taking curves, it hugs the road well and does not feel top-heavy at all. The off-road setup of the Rock Creek trim really adds to the fun factor when going off the pavement. It is, however, just a bit noisier than the other trims due to the off-road tires.

Overall, Nissan did an excellent job engineering the powertrain and suspension for the 2023 Pathfinder. It has enough power to pull hills without beating the driver or passengers to death in the process. On the pavement, it is smooth and quiet which will be greatly appreciated by those looking to go on long trips.

Towing & Payload

2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 lbs. This is for models with AWD. The 2WD models are a bit lower with a maximum of 3,500 lbs. of towing capacity.

This makes the AWD 2023 Nissan Pathfinder a great choice for those with RVs, boats, and other large toys. Its stability and ample power can really be appreciated when it is pulling something heavy.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Fuel Economy & MPG

2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com

The fuel economy differs slightly depending on whether you choose the 2WD or AWD models. The 2WD version of the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder gets 21 city/26 highway MPG and the AWD models get 21 city/27 highway MPG except for the Platinum trim. The Platinum trim gets 20 city/25 highway MPG.

As far as the competition goes, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder ranks at the top of the list. It ranks roughly the same as the Subaru Ascent which also gives drivers 21 city/27 highway MPG.

The Rock Creek trim suffers a bit of a loss when it comes to fuel efficiency due to its off-road package and a slight bump in power. The Rock Creek trim gives you 20 city/23 highway MPG.

When it comes down to it, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is a good choice for those who are looking for an efficient gasoline-only SUV to add to their garage.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

We’ve already mentioned that the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder provides a comfortable and quiet ride. But why?

For starters, the interior is roomy. While it falls short on storage space compared to its competitors, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder still manages to provide 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space with all three rows up and 80.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down.

The rear seats allow plenty of room for adults to ride in comfort. Even the third row is easy to access and provides a comfortable ride – something that can’t be said for all SUVs with a third row. Drivers can opt for second-row captain’s chairs instead of the standard bench seats. This reduces the passenger count from eight to seven, but it is a desirable option.

The biggest gripe is that the front seats are a little uncomfortable for our liking. They have a boxy feel to them and are a bit on the stiff side. This may be one of the only vehicles that provide a better ride for rear passengers.

The cabin is cozy with controls that are easy to access from the front seats. The controls are simple too, so you probably won’t need to drag out the manual to figure it out.

As far as its overall design, the interior is very truck-like in appearance and construction. The materials are of quality even on the lower trims. The higher-tiered trims come with a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and leather upholstery.

The Rock Creek trim offers perhaps the most attractive interior with a rugged, yet sporty look and “Rock Creek” emblazoned on the center console. As a whole, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder gives drivers and passengers a comfortable ride with plenty of storage.

Entertainment & Technology

2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder provides plenty of useful technology for drivers. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display is easy to use and intuitive. It is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The SL and Platinum trims feature a 9.0-inch infotainment system.

Audio is provided by a six-speaker audio system standard, but this can be upgraded to a 13-speaker Bose system.  

Other optional features include SiriusXM Satellite Radio, a 12.3-inch digital gauge display, a Wi-Fi hotspot, in-dash navigation, wireless smartphone charging, and a heads-up display.

While the NissanConnect software is fast and easy to use, we feel it is not as polished as some of the competitors. Regardless, there are plenty of options, and that makes it a great choice for those who are looking to add some tech to their trip.

Safety Features

The IIHS gave the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder their Top Safety Pick+ rating – the highest they offer. It is no wonder given the number of safety features and tech options available.

For starters, the driver position does a great job of eliminating blind spots and gives drivers a wide field of view from the seat. Throw in standard features such as automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high-beam headlamps and you have a plethora of safety tools onboard.

Nissan’s ProPilot Assist is a semi-autonomous driving mode that is standard on the SV, SL, Platinum, and Rock Creek trims.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Trims & Pricing

The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder comes in 5 trim levels. We’ll price them based on the 2WD MSRP.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder S - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder S - nissanusa.com

S – $36,295

The base model 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is equipped with Nissan’s 3.5L V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Also standard is an 8.0-inch infotainment display, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high beams. AWD version is available for $36,900 MSRP.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder 360 Degree Camera - usa.nissannews.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder 360 Degree Camera - usa.nissannews.com

SV – $39,115

The SV trim adds a 9.0-inch infotainment display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a 360-degree camera system. An AWD version is available for $39,360.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Panoramic Sunroof - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder Panoramic Sunroof - nissanusa.com

SL – $42,715

The SL trim adds features such as a towing package, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a Bose stereo system, heated rear seats, and wireless smartphone charging. The AWD version is available for $42,440.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek - usa.nissannews.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek - usa.nissannews.com

Rock Creek – $44,115

This is the trim to get if you plan on going off the beaten path! It comes with a specially tuned off-road suspension, more rugged-looking visual appointments, and a performance enhancement. It takes the same 3.5L V6 as the other trims and boosts the power to 295 horsepower and 270 lbs.-ft. of torque. AWD is standard.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum - nissanusa.com
2023 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum - nissanusa.com

Platinum – $47,970 MSRP

This is the top-of-the-line Nissan Pathfinder for 2023. Standard features include everything from the SL trim plus 20-inch machine-finished aluminum-alloy wheels, panoramic moonroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and the Bose 13-speaker audio system. An AWD version is available starting at $49,040.

Warranties

Nissan offers a limited warranty that covers three years or 36,000 miles. The powertrain warranty is five years/60,000 miles. There is no complimentary maintenance warranty on the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder.

These are nothing glamorous, especially when compared to Hyundai and Kia.

What we think

2023 Nissan Pathfinder - nissanusa.com

2023 Nissan Pathfinder – nissanusa.com |  Shop 2023 Nissan Pathfinder on Carsforsale.com

Overall, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is a comfortable and capable SUV with adequate power and plenty of technology. While it isn’t the most comfortable SUV we’ve ever tested, it isn’t a bad place to spend your time.  

We would have liked to have seen the power enhancements of the Rock Creek trim available on all trims, especially the SL and Platinum trims.

The Rock Creek trim does add some rugged flair and a fair amount of off-road capable features. It definitely looks cooler than the other trims as well.

If you’re looking to purchase your new 2023 Nissan Pathfinder, be sure to check out our new car incentives here before you buy.

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D.L. Shepherd

D.L. Shepherd’s love of anything with an engine and everything that goes fast was kickstarted as a child who spent time at the local dragstrip and dirt track. At Bluefield University, D.L. explored creative writing with published pieces in the university's literary journal. He then worked as a Sales Rep. for Harley-Davidson and as an electronic technician. Now, he's using his expertise as an author. With an endless interest in learning about new cars and analyzing all of their specs, D.L. specializes in vehicle reviews of all kinds.

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