Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan’s Pathfinder evolved from a pickup-truck-based SUV to a large family-minded crossover when this fourth-generation model bowed for 2013. Available in either front- or all-wheel drive, the Pathfinder received a mild facelift for 2017 that included a new direct-injected V6 with 284 horsepower along with an updated continuously variable transmission.

Today’s Pathfinder isn’t our favorite-driving three-row SUV, and it trails the class in terms of infotainment tech, but it’s comfortable and capacious, plus Nissan has done a fine job keeping this model updated with new safety features. Starting at $31,040 before options and delivery, the 2018 Pathfinder remains in the hunt against rivals like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Escape, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas.

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Editors' First Take

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About a year ago, I woke up one morning and realized I'd gotten too comfortable. I'd put on a few pounds -- OK, more than a few -- and I wasn't as adventurous or energetic as I was in my youth. I wasn't unhappy, just cognizant of being a little too content. Since that time, I've hit the gym and kickstarted my long-dormant interest in the outdoors. I dropped a bunch of weight. All winter long I've been saving for a new mountain bike and eyeballing my son's kayak, biding my time until spring. 

I point all this out because it feels like the Nissan Pathfinder might've recently experienced the same sort of epiphany. Once a simple, compact and hard-wearing SUV, the 33-year-old nameplate has morphed into a three-row crossover with rounder styling, a coddling ride and an efficiency-minded powertrain complete with a continuously variable transmission. Like many of us, the Pathfinder has grown up to be a lot more family-minded and a lot less hardcore. Which has left room for Nissan to once again imbue the Pathfinder with some of the edgy looks and spirit it enjoyed in its early years. Enter the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition.

To be clear, this new Rock Creek Edition isn't isn't a wholesale Pathfinder rethink and it's not some sort of four-wheeled midlife crisis. Nor is it a refutation of what this model range has become. While the current, fourth-gen Pathfinder is getting on a bit in years (it debuted in 2013), there's no shame in its game. This seven-seat SUV is holding up well, thanks in part to a 2017 facelift, continued minor updates and a fundamentally sound design. Like me, it feels like Pathfinder just woke up one morning and decided to recapture more of its youthful spirit. It pumped itself up a little, bought some new outdoorsy Rock Creek duds and is now ready to set out in search of new adventures. In other words, its roots are showing -- for the better.

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