Nissan Pathfinder Vs. Ford Explorer

By Justin Cupler | May 23rd, 2019

Being a crossover means it can combine any number of vehicle types: sedan and minivan; SUV and minivan; SUV and wagon; and so on. The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder and 2019 Ford Explorer hit different parts of the crossover segments, but they are still competitors as three-row models. Which is the better buy for our Sarasota area buyers? Find out below.

Exterior

In 2013, the Nissan Pathfinder went through a huge transformation that abandoned its rugged and upright design and brought in a new, swoopier look that put it square in the middle of the hottest automotive segment. This new look has changed a bit over the years, but the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder rolls in with the same basic design language.

The Ford Explorer also saw a huge redesign that moved it from a body-on-frame SUV to a crossover. This transformation came in 2011, but unlike the Pathfinder, the redesigned Explorer still resembled an SUV with its harder angles and more upright design. The Ford Explorer has seen its share of updates leading into 2019, but its base design language has remained the same for the past nine years. This carryover trend will end in 2020, though, as the Explorer will go through a significant redesign.

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is slightly smaller than the Explorer, but it has a longer wheelbase and a slight ground clearance advantage.

 

Measurement 2019 Nissan Pathfinder 2020 Ford Explorer Difference
Length 198.5 inches 198.7 inches -0.2 inches
Width 77.3 inches
Height 69.5 inches 70 inches -0.5 inches
Wheelbase 114.2 inches 112.8 inches +1.4 inches
Ground Clearance 7 inches 6.7 inches +0.3 inches
Curb weight 4,293 to 4,662 pounds 4,443 to 4,901 pounds -239 to -150 pounds

 

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

  • Smaller and easier to handle in tight spaces
  • Looks appeal to crossover fans

Advantage: 2019 Ford Explorer

  • Upright design appeals to SUV buyers
  • More distinguished looks between trims

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder features a relatively simple look that levels the learning curve. This easier-to-learn cabin is far from lacking in tech features, though, with its standard 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, SiriusXM, tri-zone climate control, and more.

 

Want something more luxurious? The Nissan Pathfinder gets even better as you move up the trim levels, peaking with the Platinum trim. This range-topping model boasts a standard 13-speaker audio system, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, ventilated front seats, and more.

The 2019 Ford Explorer shows its age with its even simpler cabin that includes a simple-looking center stack, tons of hard plastics, and other bits popularized in the early-2010s. Despite its dated look, the Explorer has kept pace in terms of features with a standard leather-wrapped shift knob, a six-speaker audio system, Ford SYNC, an acoustic windshield, and more.  

Measurement 2019 Nissan Pathfinder 2020 Ford Explorer Difference
First-row headroom 41.1 to 42.2 inches 41.4 inches -0.3 to +0.8 inches
First-row legroom 42.3 inches 42.9 inches -0.6 inches
First-row shoulder room 60.9  inches 61.5 inches -0.6 inches
First-row hip room 56.8 inches 57.3 inches -0.5 inches
Second-row headroom 38.5 to 39.4 inches 40.6 inches -2.1 to -1.2 inches
Second-row legroom 41.7 inches 39.5 inches +2.2 inches
Second-row shoulder room 60.4 inches 61 inches -0.6 inches
Second-row hip room 56 inches 56.8 inches -0.8 inches
Third-row headroom 36.5 to 37.8 inches 37.8 inches -1.3 to +0 inches
Third-row legroom 30.7 inches 33.3 inches -2.6 inches
Third-row shoulder room 57.1 inches 50.8 inches +6.3 inches
Third-row hip room 42 inches 40.7 inches +1.3 inches
Cargo room (behind the third row) 16.2 cubic feet 21 cubic feet -4.8 cubic feet
Cargo room (behind the second row) 47.4 cubic feet 43.9 cubic feet +3.5 cubic feet
Cargo room (behind the first row) 79.5 cubic feet 81.7 cubic feet -2.2 cubic feet

 

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

  • Big advantage in second-row legroom
  • More cargo room behind the second row

Advantage: 2019 Ford Explorer

  • More seating room
  • Higher max cargo capacity

Performance

Under their respective hoods, the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder and 2019 Ford Explorer have 3.5-liter V-6 engines. The 2019 Explorer has a 5-horsepower advantage at 290 ponies, but the Pathfinder’s 259 pound-feet of torque beats the Explorer by 4 pound-feet. This gives the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity, this beats the Explorer by 1,000 pounds.

The Pathfinder’s powertrain options end there, but the 2019 Explorer has two more engine options, including a turbocharged 23-liter engine with 280 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque that delivers an 8.2-second 0-to-60 sprint time. Topping the range is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 with 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque that drops the 0-to-60 time to 5.8 seconds.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder 2019 Ford Explorer Difference
Standard engine 3.5-liter V-6 3.5-liter V-6
Horsepower 284 hp at 6,400 rpm 290 hp at 6,500 rpm -6 hp
Torque 259 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm 255 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm +4 lb-ft
Transmission CVT 6-spd automatic
Driveline FWD (std.) / AWD (opt.) FWD (std.) / 4WD (opt.)
0-60 time 7.4 seconds
Towing capacity 6,000 pounds 5,000 pounds +1,000 pounds
MPG City 19 to 20 mpg 16 to 17 mpg +2 to +4 mpg
MPG Highway 26 to 27 mpg 22 to 24 mpg +2 to +5 mpg
MPG Combined 21 to 23 mpg 18 to 20 mpg +1 to +5 mpg
Optional engine
2.3-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower
280 hp at 5,600 rpm +4 hp
Torque
310 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm -51 lb-ft
Transmission
6-spd automatic
Driveline
FWD (std) / 4WD (opt.)
0-60 time
8.2 seconds -0.8 seconds
Towing capacity
5,000 pounds +1,000 pounds
MPG City
18 to 19 mpg +0 to +2 mpg
MPG Highway
25 to 27 mpg +0 to+1 mpg
MPG Combined
21 to 22 mpg +0 to +1 mpg
Optional engine
3.5-liter turbo V-6
Horsepower
365 hp at 5,500 rpm -81 hp
Torque
350 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm -91 lb-ft
Transmission
6-spd automatic
Driveline
4WD
0-60 time
5.8 seconds +1.6 seconds
Towing capacity
5,000 pounds +1,000 pounds
MPG City
16 mpg +3 to +4 mpg
MPG Highway
22 mpg +4 to +5 mpg
MPG Combined
18 mpg +3 to +5 mpg

 

Advantage: 2019 Nissan Pathfinder

  • 1,000-pound towing advantage
  • Better fuel economy

Advantage: 2019 Ford Explorer

  • Big-time performance with turbo V-6
  • More engine options
  • Traditional transmission

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Nissan Pathfinder has six trim levels — S, SV, SV Rock Creek Edition, SL, SL Rock Creek Edition, and Platinum — and their starting prices range from $31,530 to $42,870.

 

The Ford Explorer has just five trim levels — Base, XLT, Limited, Sport, and Platinum — and their starting prices range from $32,365 to $54,165.

2019 Nissan Pathfinder Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $31,530

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Hill-start assist
  • Brake Assist
  • 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Roof rails
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Power mirrors with LED turn signals
  • NissanConnect infotainment system
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • SiriusXM Travel Link
  • Push-button ignition
  • Remote keyless ignition
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s window
  • Cruise control
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Intermittent rear wiper
  • Two 12-volt power outlets
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Overhead sunglasses storage
  • Eight cargo net tie-down anchors
  • Cargo area under-floor storage
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Four-way manual passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding second-row seat
  • 50/50 split-folding third-row seat
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Piano-black interior trim
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system
  • SiriusXM radio
  • HD Radio
  • MP3 capability
  • Six USB ports
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Automatic emergency braking

 

SV: $34,370

  • All S features, plus
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Fog lights
  • One-touch lock/unlock
  • Remote engine start
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front windows
  • Speed-sensitive windshield wipers
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Three 12-volt power outlets
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Easy-fill tire alert

 

SV Rock Creek Edition: $35,365

  • All SV features, plus
  • 18-inch dark-finish aluminum wheels
  • Black front grille
  • Unique lower fascia
  • Black roof rails
  • Tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness
  • Black outside mirrors
  • Black door handles
  • Black license plate finisher
  • Black overfenders
  • Black Rock Creek Edition badging
  • Splash guards
  • Leatherette seating with cloth insert and Rock Creek Edition badging
  • High-contrast interior stitching
  • Premium Rock Creek Edition interior trim

 

SL: $38,020

  • All SV features, plus
  • LED low-beam projector headlights
  • Reverse-gear tilt-down side mirrors
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • NAvigation
  • NissanConnect Services
  • SiriusXM Traffic
  • 360-degree camera
  • 120-volt power outlet
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Memory for driver’s seat and power mirrors
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Leather door trim
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated rear outboard seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Metallic interior trim
  • Stainless-steel front kick panels

 

SL Rock Creek Edition: $39,015

  • All SL features, plus
  • 18-inch dark-finish aluminum wheels
  • Black front grille
  • Unique lower fascia
  • Black roof rails
  • Tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness
  • Black outside mirrors
  • Black door handles
  • Black license plate finisher
  • Black overfenders
  • Black Rock Creek Edition badging
  • Splash guards
  • Leatherette seating with cloth insert and Rock Creek Edition badging
  • High-contrast interior stitching
  • Premium Rock Creek Edition interior trim

 

Platinum: $42,870

  • All SL features, plus
  • 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Tow hitch receiver with seven-pin wiring harness
  • Chrome bodyside moldings
  • Black license plate finisher
  • Dual-pane panoramic moonroof
  • Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-position memory
  • Perforated leather seats
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Wood-tone interior trim
  • 13-speaker Bose premium audio system

2019 Ford Explorer Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $32,365

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • 18-inch Sparkle Silver-painted wheels
  • Electric power steering
  • LED low-beam headlights with auto on/off
  • Black exterior door handles
  • Black lower bumpers
  • Black wheel-lip moldings
  • Black bodyside cladding
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Dual chrome exhaust tips
  • Dark Foundry Gray mesh grille insert with chrome bars
  • LED taillights
  • Chrome liftgate applique
  • Black, heated, power mirrors
  • Acoustic windshield
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Manual single-zone climate control
  • Ford SYNC
  • Four 12-volt power outlets
  • Cargo hooks
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Configurable daytime running lights
  • Cruise control
  • Front and rear scuff plates with Explorer embossment
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Ford MyKey
  • Overhead console with sunglasses holder
  • Power door locks
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system
  • One smart-charging USB port
  • Cloth upholstery
  • 60/40 split-folding second-row seat
  • 50/50 split-folding third-row bench seat
  • Rearview camera with washer
  • Hill-start assist

 

XLT: $34,400

  • All Base features, plus
  • Body-color door handles
  • Chrome bodyside cladding
  • Silver-painted mesh grille insert with chrome bars
  • Silver roof-rack rails
  • Keyless access with keyless ignition
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Unique cloth seating
  • Perimeter alarm
  • SecuriCode keyless entry keypad
  • Rear parking sensors

 

Limited: $42,765

  • All XLT features, plus
  • 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 20-inch Premium Luster Nickel-painted wheels
  • Chrome exterior door handles
  • Bright-silver-painted grille mesh with chrome bars
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • LED fog lights
  • LED signature lighting
  • Power-folding mirrors with auto-fold feature
  • Chrome roof-rack side rails
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 110-volt power outlet
  • Ambient lighting
  • Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Remote ignition
  • Front and rear scuff plates with bright inserts
  • Ford SYNC 3
  • Universal garage door opener
  • 12-speaker Sony audio system
  • FordPass Connect
  • Voice-activated navigation
  • In-car Wi-Fi
  • PowerFold 50/50 split-folding third-row seat
  • Perforated leather seats
  • Heated and cooled front seats
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Forward parking sensors
  • Forward camera

 

Sport: $46,625

  • All Limited features, plus
  • 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Terrain Management System
  • Hill-descent control
  • 20-inch machined-aluminum wheels with painted pockets
  • Black exterior door handles
  • High-gloss-black mesh grille insert
  • LED taillights with blackout treatment
  • High-gloss-black liftgate applique
  • Gloss-black mirrors
  • Quad-chrome exhaust tips
  • High-gloss-black roof rack side rails
  • First- and second-row floor mats with unique badges
  • Illuminated front scuff plates
  • Perforated-leather seats with red accent stitching
  • Heated front seats
  • Class III trailering package

 

Platinum: $54,165

  • All Limited features, plus
  • 3.5-liter turbocharged V-6 engine
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Terrain Management System
  • 20-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with dark Tarnish-painted pockets
  • Unique grille with satin-chrome finish
  • Satin-chrome liftgate applique
  • Satin-chrome mirror caps
  • Quad chrome exhaust tips
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Satin-chrome roof-rack side rails
  • Satin-chrome bodyside cladding
  • Satin-chrome door handles
  • Platinum-branded floor mats
  • Twin-panel moonroof
  • Premium sound from Sony
  • Premium seating
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Semi-automatic parking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Inflatable rear outboard seatbelts

Who Should Buy the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder?

Buyers who prefer the classic look and feel of a crossover will prefer the Nissan Pathfinder. Not only does it have sleek lines, but its more crossover-focused design means it drives more like a sedan than an SUV.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Ford Explorer?

Looking for a crossover that skews more toward the SUV realm? The Ford Explorer does just that. Plus, its 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes it great for performance lovers.

 

Whether you’re dropping the kids off at school in Sarasota, hitting up downtown Bradenton, or cruising to St. Petersburg for a little R&R, the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder is a great option. This rig not only delivers loads of cabin room, but it also offers good performance, a smooth ride, and loads of tech options. Head down to Nissan of Bradenton today to test drive a 2019 Pathfinder today and see what it can do for you. Can’t make it in today? Swing by our online inventory page to see what 2019 Pathfinder models we have in stock for our Tampa/St. Petersburg area car shoppers.