Rock Creek comes to the Nissan Pathfinder line.
Automotive manufacturers are heavily invested in utility vehicles and for good reason: they’re the family vehicle of choice these days. An important subset in this segment is off-road skilled models or at least those with improved trail-trekking capabilities. The Nissan Pathfinder in Rock Creek guise is one such model, an all-wheel drive crossover that is designed for light-duty travel on rocky surfaces.
2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Review
Nissan offers the 2023 Pathfinder in five grades, ranging from the S ($35,000) to the Platinum ($49,870). Add $1,295 for the destination fee. The Pathfinder seats seven or eight and comes with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive ($1,900). Our Rock Creek test model was all-wheel-drive-only with seating for seven.
The current-generation Pathfinder rolled out in 2022. The most significant change other than a new body and interior involved replacing the continuously variable transmission with a 9-speed automatic. As before, a V6 engine sends power to the wheels.
Besides adding the Rock Creek edition, the 2023 changes for the Pathfinder include equipment shuffling across several grades.
What equipment comes with the Pathfinder?
As you might suppose, the Pathfinder comes with a long list of equipment. With five grades for the choosing, the levels vary considerably. We’ll break this down by examining exterior equipment first followed by interior equipment.
On the exterior, the 2023 Pathfinder comes with automatic LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. A manual liftgate, 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, and manual side mirrors are standard. The list of upgrades includes 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels, heated and power-folding side mirrors, roof rails, and a power liftgate.
Choose the Rock Creek edition and this one adds an off-road-tuned suspension, a 0.625-inch lift to the ground clearance, 18-inch Beadlock-style wheels, and all-terrain tires. The tubular roof rack boasts a 220-pound weight rating. Other features include LED fog lights and a 6,000-pound towing capacity.
Inside, the seats are covered in cloth with imitation leather, and real hides seating available. Twelve cupholders and four bottle holders come standard. Heated front seats appear on the SV grade, while the range-topping Platinum has heated and cooled front seats.
Keyless entry with push-button start comes standard. Three-zone climate control and full power accessories are included. A 120-volt outlet is available.
What powers the Pathfinder?
Nissan supplies every 2023 Pathfinder with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that develops 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. In the Rock Creek edition, this engine makes 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the front or all four wheels utilizing a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Pathfinder Rock Creek makes 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for a combined 23 mpg. These numbers are slightly lower than the other grades. Customers can use regular-grade gasoline with ease.
Does the Pathfinder tow?
Yes, like other crossovers, the Pathfinder does tow. When properly equipped, this model pulls up to 6,000 pounds and that’s better than most rivals, including the Chevrolet Traverse and the Honda Pilot.
Besides pulling, the Pathfinder offers very good storage capacity, although just 16.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat. Fold down the second-row seat and this model offers 45 cubic feet of storage capacity. The interior cargo space maxes out at 80 cubic feet behind the front-row seats.
What safety systems are included or available?
Nissan equips the 2023 Pathfinder with a long list of standard driver-assist safety equipment. Bundled under the Nissan Safety Shield 360 umbrella, the suite includes automatic emergency detection with pedestrian detection. Further, shoppers will find a blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, rear automatic braking, and high beam assist.
Also standard is rear door alert, driver alertness, and rear sonar sensors. Beyond the standard equipment, shoppers will find traffic sign recognition, front sonar sensors, blind spot intervention, and a surround-view monitor.
What kind of technologies are found in the 2023 Pathfinder?
If you’re looking for tech features, the Nissan Pathfinder does not disappoint. This model comes with an 8-inch touchscreen center console display and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster. A 9-inch center console and a 12.3-inch digital dashboard are available.
A 6-speaker audio package is standard, while a 13-speaker Bose audio system is available. All grades come with Siri Eyes Free, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and four USB ports. The list of upgrades includes wireless Apple CarPlay, connected services, one or two additional USB ports, and a wireless device charger.
Does the Pathfinder come with warranties?
Yes, like all new vehicles, the Nissan Pathfinder comes with a suite of warranties. A 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty is standard. The powertrain is warranted for 60 months or 60,000 miles. A corrosion protection warranty lasts for 60 months or unlimited miles within that timeframe. Other warranties cover federal and California emissions as well as seat belts.
Who are the main competitors?
In the three-row midsize crossover segment, every manufacturer is represented. The list includes the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, and Buick Enclave from GM alone. Further, the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and Dodge Durango round out the domestics.
Other competitors include the Subaru Ascent, Kia Sorento, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade. The Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and the Volkswagen Atlas close out that list. Most competitors offer four- and six-cylinder engine choices. Only Jeep and Dodge deliver V8 engines.
We like the Rock Creek and believe it will satisfy the light- to moderate-duty work some shoppers crave. This means it is suitable for gravelly roads as well as for more arduous off-road conditions. However, you won’t want to follow a Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler as they navigate the toughest terrain.
For everyone else, starting your search with the SV grade supplies this model with many of the desirable amenities. Add in available all-wheel drive and your price comes in around $41,000 and that’s a reasonable price point for this vehicle.
Finally, check out our drive impressions of this model on Auto Trends Magazine at autotrends.org.
2023 Nissan Pathfinder Specifications
|Segment||Three-Row, Midsize SUV|
|Price Range||$35,000 to $49,970|
|Standard Engine||3.5-liter V6|
|Horsepower||284/295 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||259/270 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm|
|Seating||7 or 8|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,317 to 4,625|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||60.8/59.6/58.4|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||58.3/56.3/46.7|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||5,900 to 6,063|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||18.5|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||20/27/23 (Rock Creek)|
|Manufacturing Plant||Smyrna, Tennessee|
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer. Compiled by Tom Keegan.
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