Sharp and Spacious: Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Test Drive

There's no Shortage of Mid-Size Crossovers on the Market. But the Pathfinder's Roomy and Stylish Interior Makes it Stand Out.

  — by Jeffrey N. Ross

The current Nissan Pathfinder was introduced for the 2013 model year making it a dinosaur in the three-row, mid-size crossover segment, but Nissan continues to find new ways to keep this aging CUV relevant among growing competition.

For more information on the Pathfinder, head to your local AutoNation Nissan dealer, or check out  our virtual showroom!


For the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder, that was accomplished with the all-new Rock Creek Edition combining a more rugged appearance with trendy blacked-out exterior styling.

This new appearance package is available on both the SV and SL trim levels in either two- or four-wheel drive, and for this test drive review, we sampled the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4WD Rock Creek Edition.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Exterior

To help spice up its aging crossover, the Rock Creek Edition gives the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder a bolder appearance with unique accents. For starters, the front fascia is exclusive to this model offer a more rugged look with a faux skid plate, and the two-tone 18-inch wheels are also unique to the Rock Creek Edition.

The biggest difference this package offers is all the black trim added including the fender extensions, door mirrors and door handles; in fact, with the exception of the Nissan logos, all the Pathfinder’s chrome exterior trim has been replaced with black trim such as the grille, window trim, roof rails, liftgate accents and the model and trim level badging. The Rock Creek Edition is offered in a number of color options, but this tester’s Gun Metallic hue might be the best complement for the blacked-out exterior.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Interior

With no shortage of three-row, mid-size crossovers out there, the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder stands out with an interior that is extremely roomy and stylish. In terms of room and comfort, the Pathfinder’s three rows of seating sit seven passengers with the rear rows offering plenty of space for adult occupants. If you can’t stand the lack of buttons inside most modern interior, then you’ll love the inside of the Pathfinder with an abundance of hard buttons situated in the center stack and are all easy to use. For 2019, two USB-C ports have been added – one in the front and one for the middle row.

To match the distinctive styling of the exterior, the Rock Creek Edition gets a unique interior starting with the two-tone interior consisting of leatherette material with cloth inserts, and this was accented with high-contrast orange stitching and faux carbon fiber trim. While the overall cabin look isn’t as blacked-out as the exterior, there are still limited amounts of shiny trim inside the Rock Creek Edition. To add even more exclusivity, the headrests and floor mats are embroidered with the Rock Creek Edition logo. This particular 2019 Nissan Pathfinder was also equipped with the $980 SV Rock Creek Edition Technology Package, which added some welcomed luxury to the cabin with navigation, NissanConnect services, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Powertrain

All 2019 Nissan Pathfinder trim levels are powered by the same 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 Xtronic continuously variable transmission. The engine produces plenty of power laying down 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, which is enough to provide an impressive 6,000-pound towing capacity to go along with the Rock Creek Edition’s standard tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness. The Pathfinder showcases Nissan’s CVT dominance is showcased with a transmission that is efficient yet fun to operate. This is thanks to the transmission offering D-Step Logic Control, which simulates gear shifts and prevents the CVT from feeling rubbery or sounding like the engine is over revving.

On a lengthy road trip from Florida to Michigan, the Nissan Pathfinder performed flawlessly offering a smooth ride for the open road, excellent engine power for climbing steep mountain inclines and impressive fuel economy for a seven-passenger, four-wheel drive family vehicle. The 2019 Pathfinder 4WD has EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway*, which is only a 1 mpg drop for each compared to the FWD version. Sadly, we didn’t have the chance to test out the Pathfinder’s driver-selectable All-Mode 4×4-i system off-road, but the system did provide sure-footed traction during a major downpour.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Safety

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder comes standard with Rear Sonar System and Automatic Emergency Braking for all trim levels in addition to the new Rear Door Alert feature. This safety technology acts a reminder to help ensure that children aren’t left inside the vehicle once the vehicle is shutoff. On the SV trim level and higher, the Pathfinder adds high-tech safety features like Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Thanks to a solid design and abundance of safety devices, the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder gets a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Overall

When it comes to three-row, mid-size family-friendly crossovers, there are plenty of options out there, and the new 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4WD Rock Creek Edition shows that you can look good while driving your family around. This appearance package breathes some new life into the aging Pathfinder design, and the best part is that this package adds a lot of stylish bang for the buck with an option price of just $995. The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder has a starting price of $31,530**, but if you want the Rock Creek Edition, you’ll have to step up to at least the $34,370 trim level. Tacking on the Technology Package, this 2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4WD Rock Creek Edition had an as-tested price of $39,080.

Drop by your local AutoNation dealer today to check one out!

*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
Categories: Test Drive Reviews
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