Experience Nissan



Last year, I tested the Platinum version of the Pathfinder and really enjoyed it for several reasons. However, with its low ground clearance and modern look, I found that the Japanese manufacturer's SUV was not particularly suited for off-road driving. Therefore, I wanted to test another version of the Pathfinder that focuses on off-road driving. Not to mention its breathtaking appearance. As you may have read in the title, I tested the Rock Creek version of the Nissan Pathfinder 2023.


Before talking about this specific version, let's talk a little bit about the Pathfinder and its importance for the Nissan lineup. In recent years, mid-size three-row SUVs have gained a lot of popularity. These are models that must be able to replace a pickup truck as well as a minivan in many situations, which the Pathfinder does quite well, I must say. The Japanese manufacturer's SUV offers a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, and its cabin remains one of the most spacious in the segment.


Range and engines


The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is a competent, spacious, safe, and very comfortable vehicle, not to mention the numerous technologies it offers. In short, all of these characteristics are generally accompanied by a hefty price tag for a vehicle of this size, and the Nissan Pathfinder is no exception with a starting price of $48,208. The price of the Japanese manufacturer's SUV can climb up to $59,208 in its ultimate version, which is still in the good average for a model in this category. The Nissan Pathfinder's business model means that it doesn't offer many individual options but rather relies on a vast and diversified range of models. It's a strategy like any other, and it greatly simplifies the selection process for buyers.


S – $48,208 SV – $51,208 Rock Creek – $54,208 SL – $55,208 SL Privilège – $57,208 Platinum – $59,208


With the exception of the Rock Creek version, all versions of the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder share the same engine. It's a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and comes with all-wheel drive as standard. As for the Rock Creek version, we also have a 3.5-liter V6 engine, except that the power is increased to 295 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Once again, the 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are featured.


The tested version


This week, I had the opportunity to test the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek, which is back on the menu with some improvements for the Japanese manufacturer's SUV in 2023. This version is positioned in the middle of the range, which is a very good thing because it makes it more accessible to a majority of potential buyers. I won't hide the fact that I think it lacks a bit of equipment, especially for a vehicle priced at $54,218. Nevertheless, the look and off-road capabilities of the Pathfinder Rock Creek more than make up for the few options it couldn't benefit from.


The first impression of the model


Let's just say that it was love at first sight with the Pathfinder Rock Creek. I already liked the model a lot since its complete redesign with its more robust and square look, which the new version with increased off-road capabilities highlighted even more. Not surprisingly, Nissan chose the Baja Sand color for its press model, and it suits it perfectly. The Japanese manufacturer's SUV is also very nice in its two other color options.


On the outside, what distinguishes the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek from other versions are its numerous orange-colored emblems, as well as its superb 18-inch all-terrain wheels. The Japanese manufacturer's SUV also benefits from a standard tubular roof rack that can support up to 200 pounds. The front of the Pathfinder Rock Creek is also very aggressive with a new grille and a more massive front bumper.


As for the interior, I really like the truck look of the Japanese manufacturer's SUV dashboard. Like the exterior, the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek's cabin is dotted with orange elements, and the interior finish is impeccable.


The driving experience


As always, comfort is a guaranteed value in the Nissan Pathfinder, and the Rock Creek version is no exception. It is a very pleasant vehicle to drive, and the driving position is perfect. The only thing that truly disappointed me was the lightness of the steering. I felt like I always had to correct my trajectory. In my last test, I strongly criticized the lack of off-road capability and especially the fact that the Pathfinder's ground clearance was clearly not high enough. Let me tell you that the Rock Creek version corrects the shot for the Japanese manufacturer's SUV. As for fuel consumption, I now have an average of 9.6L/100km, while I had obtained an average of 9.0L/100km with last year's model. It's quite similar, and there are several factors to consider. Not to mention that Nissan announces an average consumption of 11.1L/100km for the Pathfinder Rock Creek, which may even be overestimated. Finally, it all depends on the city/highway driving ratio you perform.


My recommendations


Now that I have driven this new version of the Japanese manufacturer's SUV, needless to say that my opinion of it has somewhat changed. The Rock Creek version is what the new generation Nissan Pathfinder should have been from the start. The Japanese manufacturer's SUV offers a vast and diversified range, but I believe that Nissan underestimated its off-road capabilities when launching the new generation last year. In my opinion, half of the Pathfinder range should consist of versions similar to the Rock Creek with a base variant that focuses on looks only and a more luxurious model. Thus, you will understand that my recommendations regarding the Japanese manufacturer's SUV will largely turn towards this version. The other versions of the Pathfinder remain quite interesting, especially if you are not an adventure and off-road enthusiast, but the Rock Creek version is unquestionably the most appreciable of the lot.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

Categories: News