For three generations, the Nissan Pathfinder was a rugged, off-road-ready people hauler. But in its fourth generation, which debuted in 2013, Nissan buckled convention and turned the Pathfinder into a comfy crossover.

With this redesign and repositioning of the Pathfinder, it took a turn for the blah stylistically. That said, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder still has plenty going for it, but is this enough to overcome its vanilla styling?

Best Value

Though the base S trim comes with plenty of features, we feel the best value comes one step up in the SV trim. This version takes all the standard trim’s features and adds automatic emergency braking, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver’s seat, remote start, and rear parking sensors.

On top of this list of features, the SV trim opens buyers up to popular and value-packed options, like the Tech Package, which adds navigation, SiriusXM, adaptive cruise, and more.

  • Model: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder SV AWD
  • Engine: 3.5-liter V6
  • Output: 284 hp / 259 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Continuously variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
  • MPG: 19 city / 26 hwy
  • Options: Tech Package ($1,400, navigation, SiriusXM, rear cross-traffic alert, NissanConnect, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, and tow hitch with seven-pin connector)
  • Base Price: $34,705 (including $975 destination fee)
  • Best Value Price:$36,900 (including $975 destination fee)

Performance

Nissan Pathfinder

Over the years, the Pathfinder has gone from a rugged SUV to a more timid family hauler. Despite its tamer personality in recent years, the Pathfinder’s 3.5-liter V6 engine has above-average power at 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Another feather in the Pathfinder’s cap is its comfortable, sedan-like ride.

Where the Pathfinder falls short is its off-road capabilities. This nameplate was once attached to one of the more competent off-roaders on the market, but its newer crossover bones leave a lot to be desired in the off-road department. Another sore spot is the continuously variable transmission, which keeps the revs pretty high, resulting in more noise and vibration than we like.

Style

The 2018 Pathfinder features inoffensive styling that matches up well with the rest of the Nissan family. Sure, it's nothing overly impressive, but the conservative design helps broaden the cross-section of buyers who find the Pathfinder nice enough to buy.

In the cabin, the same conservative styling dominates. Again, it's totally inoffensive, but in the face of more stylish, progressive, and aesthetically pleasing cabins, the Pathfinder feels anonymous. That said, it is versatile. The front seats are broad and comfortable, and there's a great driving position. The second row is spacious, while the third-row will happily accommodate a couple of smaller kids – adults, though, would be better served up front.

The Best and Worst Things

The 2018 Pathfinder has plenty of room for adults and children in its second row, as it boasts 41.7 inches of leg room back there. Not only is there lots of room, but the seats are also quite comfortable, even on long journeys. What's more, with the tiny third row folded, cargo room grows to a massive 47.4 cubic feet.

The Pathfinder’s design really falls short. The body lacks any real style, and the interior is about as bland as it gets, making it stand out – in a bad way – in Nissan showrooms.

Right For? Wrong For?

Nissan Pathfinder

Families who love the road: The Pathfinder is plenty roomy and comfortable, making it the perfect rig for road-tripping. Add to this its smooth ride, and multi-hour treks are a breeze.

Hip buyers looking for more style: Not to beat a dead horse, but the Pathfinder’s design is a snoozer. It lacks any creativity, despite a recent refresh, leaving younger, hipper buyers wondering what exactly they are looking at.

The Bottom Line

Looking for a simple and roomy crossover that can haul the entire family and still have room for luggage? The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is the vehicle for you.