2023 Nissan Pathfinder SUV review: a smooth people-mover with an adventurous spirit

A red Nissan Pathfinder driving on an open highway

Toby Hagon

Posted March 08, 2023

The fifth-generation Nissan Pathfinder builds on the successful large-SUV-formula by expanding the body, extending seating to fit eight people, and comes with 16 cup holders. 

The Pathfinder mounts a solid case for large families, especially those who could benefit from the eight-person carrying capacity (a rarity with large SUVs).

With a balance between brains and brawn, the new Pathfinder features a smooth and comfortable drive, with the enormous power to tow up to 2.7 tonnes.

The latest edition of the large SUV does have a sizeable downside: thanks to the V6 engine - which does perform strongly - it uses a fair bit of fuel going about its daily business.

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Beware that if you opt for the top model, the Ti-L, your seat capacity is reduced to seven. Photo: Supplied
For $80,227 the Ti-L model comes with a sunroof plus, digital instrument cluster and rain-sensing wipers. Photo: Supplied

 2023 Nissan Pathfinder models and pricing

The new Pathfinder is priced from $54,190 before on-road costs. That’s for the ST model, which drives only the front wheels and comes with 18-inch alloys, three-zone ventilation, smart key entry, heated front seats, tyre pressure monitors and a head-up display that projects key information on a virtual space above the bonnet.

Next step up is the ST-L ($61,790), which gains all-wheel drive, around view monitor, front parking sensors, tinted windows, power tailgate, remote engine starting and ProPilot semi-autonomous driver assist.

The more luxurious Ti is available as a front-wheel drive for $65,910 or AWD for $70,030. Both get partial leather trim, heated rear seats, rear side blinds, wireless phone charging and an additional USB port in the third row. There’s also a 13-speaker Bose sound system with two subwoofers.

The top-of-the-range Ti-L is AWD only and costs $80,227. It picks up a digital instrument cluster, rain-sensing wipers, sunroof, electric passenger seat, ventilated front seats and unique finishes inside. It also exchanges the bench middle row seat for two individual chairs, reducing the seating capacity to seven.

Key rivals include the Toyota Kluger, Hyundai Palisade and Mazda CX-9.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder safety and ANCAP rating

The Pathfinder scored a five-star ANCAP rating in 2022. As well as good occupant protection credentials it also has a long list of driver assist features that add to the safety artillery. 

They include blind spot warning, speed sign recognition, autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning and driver drowsiness detection. 


The Pathfinder is designed for families, with USB ports standard in the first and second seating rows. Photo: Supplied
The 9-inch infotainment screen is on the smaller side for new cars but comes equipped withed with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Photo: Supplied

2023 Nissan Pathfinder interiors and design

You’ll never be lacking anywhere to stow a beverage in the new Pathfinder. There are 16 cupholders spread throughout the cabin.

It’s an indication the large SUV has been set up for families, who should also appreciate the dual USB ports in the first and second rows. The Ti-L adds a fifth USB outlet for those in the third row. 

Getting to that third row is easy, too, courtesy of the EZ Flex release system that raises and tilts the middle row seat. It’s a brilliant and easy-to-use system that even allows child seats to remain in place while folding that middle row.

The separate ventilation controls for those in the rear are also a plus. 

But it’s the comfort that defines the new Pathfinder, in part because the body is now longer and wider. Legroom is generous in all seating positions and pews plush. The finishes and materials also live up to the price tag.

The 9.0-inch central infotainment screen is towards the smaller end of the scale in 2023, but it’s easy to navigate and incorporates wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. 

2023 Nissan Pathfinder engine and specs

There’s a familiar 3.5-litre V6 powering the Pathfinder although it’s hooked up to a new nine-speed automatic transmission. It’s a smooth and refined engine that pulls strongly when you call on it. It’s helped by the transmission that can occasionally be busy searching for the optimal ratio but gets the desired result.

The Pathfinder is also rated to tow 2.7 tonnes and has the muscle to get the job done. A specific Tow mode as one of the drive modes (five for two-wheel drive models, seven for all-wheel drives) tailors the throttle and transmission response to load lugging.

2023 Nissan Pathfinder fuel efficiency

Despite the smarter transmission, fuel use has increased slightly with this new model. In front-drive guise it uses a claimed average 10.0 litres per 100km and as an all-wheel drive that edges up to 10.5L/100km. 

That’s a fair bit more than the Pathfinder's key rivals.


A red Nissan Pathfinder parked with it's rear towards the ocean. A person sits in the boot dangling their legs out while another person fishes in the sea.

The Pathfinder is marketed as adventurous but it's just as capable of tackling suburban roads. Photo: Supplied

2023 Nissan Pathfinder performance and handling 

The Pathfinder may have an adventurous spirit – particularly in the way it’s marketed – but there’s more passenger car than bush basher beneath the skin. 

That on-road focus means it works well in the suburbs or when cruising on a country road. It responds crisply to steering inputs and is light and effortless. 

The suspension is fairly plush but also well controlled, quickly recovering from bumps and making for a nicely hushed cabin. 

Those who want to get the tyres dirty can dial up Snow, Sand or Mud/Rut modes. But you’ll need to be prudent about how far you push it. There’s only a space saver spare wheel and the Pathfinder doesn’t have the underbody hardware for more challenging off-roading. 


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