A red 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is shown parked in a forest.

Nissan Pathfinder and the Competitors

When it comes to SUVs with bold capability and performance, the Nissan Pathfinder has made a name for itself as a flagship vehicle in this class. The Pathfinder has been a trusted and reliable model from Nissan ever since its introduction in 1985. From its sleek, contoured exterior to its off-road capabilities, Nissan has hit all the important points in this SUV that will make any driver seeking adventure want to see if there’s a Nissan Pathfinder for sale nearby.

However, there are many other SUVs out there that compete with the Pathfinder and come from brands of equal repute. It is important to understand what those vehicles have to offer and if they can deliver what you’re looking for before jumping into a Pathfinder. This is not to say that the Pathfinder is worse or that these other vehicles are better. Every vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses that can help or hinder a driver from getting the most out of their SUV. We’ve narrowed down the list to four of the Nissan Pathfinder’s biggest competitors so you can get an idea of what the competition has to offer and whether or not they have something for you that the Pathfinder doesn’t.

Toyota Highlander

This practical, reliable SUV from Toyota touts a sporty exterior that comes in nine colours, which gives one point to the Nissan Pathfinder, which offers fourteen. However, there are some key advantages the Toyota Highlander has over the Pathfinder, such as a superior fuel economy compared to its Nissan competitor. The Highlander comes standard with a 2.4L turbocharged I-4 engine. Compared to the Pathfinder’s 3.5L V6 engine, it is more efficient by quite a margin.

Although the Toyota’s 265 hp doesn’t quite match the Nissan’s 295 hp, the Highlander’s 309 lb-ft of torque does beat the Pathfinder’s 270 lb-ft. On the trail, low-speed grunt is more important than high-speed horsepower, giving the advantage to the Highlander. Additionally, the Toyota Highlander also offers a 243 hp hybrid powertrain option, a feature which the Pathfinder does not provide. Eco-conscious drivers will likely be more partial to the Toyota over the Nissan.

However, the Pathfinder does come out on top in cabin space, boasting a more spacious interior that offers riders more comfort and more space to bring anything they may need. Which vehicle is superior comes down to what the driver wants. If they’re looking for efficiency and performance, the Highlander may be a better choice, but if they’re looking for comfort and luxury, the Pathfinder will give them more of what they need and starts at a lower price of $46,098 CAD as opposed to the Highlander’s starting MSRP of $48,935 CAD.

A blue 2023 Toyota Highlander is shown driving along a country road.

Honda Pilot

As far as competitors for the Nissan Pathfinder go, none are as close in style and presentation as the Honda Pilot. Both of these vehicles are quite similar on the outside and could be mistaken for one another. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking they are the same. One way in which the Honda Pilot comes out on top is its larger interior volume compared to the Pathfinder. While Nissan’s three-row SUV provides 2,280 L of cargo space, Honda’s model offers 3,166 L to stash your gear. Of course, the larger dimensions of the Pilot can also make it a bit more unwieldy on the trail.

The Pathfinder also has a list of its own features that makes it shine when compared to the Pilot, such as a suspension tuned to handle rough rides, making it a much smoother and more comfortable ride compared to the Pilot. Additionally, the Pathfinder’s interior is designed more with luxury in mind than the Pilot. All of this means that the Pathfinder is the better choice for those who want a smooth, comfortable ride for passengers than the Pilot. It is also significantly less expensive, starting at $46,098 CAD compared to $52,784 CAD for the Pilot.

Ford Explorer

Of course, it’s difficult to talk about capable SUVs without mentioning a Ford vehicle. The Ford Explorer, in particular, is a powerful three-row model that can certainly give the Nissan Pathfinder a run for its money. This SUV is designed for versatility in off-roading adventures, with seven selectable drive modes that account for almost any terrain and conditions imaginable. All of its engines also offer more power than the Pathfinder, from the base 2.3L turbocharged four-cylinder with 300 hp to the available 3.0L turbocharged V6 with 400 hp. Like Toyota, Ford also offers a hybrid model, something the Pathfinder does not have. For adventurers looking to get off the beaten path no matter what conditions they may encounter, the Ford Explorer can certainly help them get there, as this SUV is made in the interest of getting excitement seekers to the excitement they so desire.

However, this does not mean that the Nissan Pathfinder is a lesser vehicle when compared to the Explorer. As a matter of fact, the Pathfinder offers a whole different driving experience than the Explorer, which is exemplary in its own right. The Pathfinder’s strength lies in its ability to offer a good balance between performance driving and efficiency. What it lacks in off-roading ability, it makes up for in its smoothness, versatility, and affordability, coming in under the Explorer’s starting MSRP of $48,340 CAD.

A white 2023 Ford Explorer is shown driving on a gravel trail.

Chevy Traverse

It should come as no surprise when talking about excellent SUVs that a Chevy is bound to come up. As a three-row crossover, the Chevy Traverse is the SUV that goes toe-to-toe with the Nissan Pathfinder. The way the Traverse shines when compared to the Pathfinder is its spacious interior, which offers more room and comfort for passengers than the Nissan, making it a smoother ride for all on board. It does this at a slightly lower price of $44,047 CAD compared to the Pathfinder at $46,098 CAD.

However, the Pathfinder’s superior suspension and transmission make it a far more responsive and dexterous SUV than the Traverse, capable of handling winding or uneven roads with more ease and offering more capability for any potential off-road adventures that drivers have a sudden impulse to pursue. Additionally, the extra bump in handling and maneuverability that the Pathfinder has over the Traverse makes it a safer vehicle on the whole, giving drivers the responsiveness they need to keep everyone safe.

Finding a Path to Nissan

The Pathfinder’s true strengths lie in the fact that it is a vehicle designed to offer a shared experience to many riders at once. Whether you are with a group of friends or your family, the Nissan Pathfinder offers a wonderful balance between performance, luxury, comfort, safety, and maneuverability. It will get everyone in your pack where they need to go safely and comfortably while also having the ability to see whatever sights you may have the sudden inclination to explore.

There are a lot of SUVs out there, and they all offer driving styles that are suitable for the needs of different types of drivers. However, if you’re looking for a vehicle that can give you reliable balance and help you attain a one-of-a-kind shared experience for friends, family, kids, and even pets, the Nissan Pathfinder is the SUV for you.