In the 1980s, the Nissan Pathfinder was part of the original cohort of SUVs, competing for buyers against a number of other venerable models like the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Blazer.
The Pathfinder named quickly became associated with truck capability and a certain level of off-road credibility, but it wasn't long before SUVs gave way to the in-between vehicles we now call crossovers, which combine some of the rugged nature of SUVs with a more car-like driving feel.
So what began as a relatively utilitarian compact utility vehicle has grown and evolved to become one of the most refined mid-size crossovers in the marketplace.
For 2019, that evolution continues as the Pathfinder gains standard rear parking sonar and USB-C ports in all trim levels, while SL and Platinum trims now boast standard LED headlights.
That leaves this crossover's fundamentals alone. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 that makes 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, power that is routed through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a choice of front- or all-wheel drive.
Trim levels are S, SV, SL and Platinum. S starts as a front-driver and can be optioned with AWD, while the other trims come with it as standard.
Nissan goes up against a formidable field of rivals with the Pathfinder, including the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Ford Explorer and Flex and Mazda CX-9. Nissan occupies a slot at the more relaxed end of the spectrum, with the Pathfinder being characterized by its comfortable ride and smooth drivetrain performance thanks to one of the few CVTs in this class.
Pathfinder can be dressed up quite nicely in Platinum trim, which comes with 20-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, navigation, 360-degree exterior camera system, passive keyless entry, hands-free power tailgate, radar cruise control, power-adjustable steering column, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats and 13-speaker stereo with rear-seat entertainment system. If that's not good enough for that trim's $49,198 price, move up to the posher Infiniti QX60, which is mechanically identical but boasts nicer finishes and a few other upscale features.
All Pathfinders come standard with tire pressure monitoring and automatic emergency braking, but the SV adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and a more advanced tire pressure system that displays the pressure in each tire and includes Nissan's neat easy-fill inflation system.
As of this writing, Nissan hadn't published fuel consumption estimates for the 2019 Pathfinder, but they should be similar, if not identical, to the 2018 model's figures of 11.6/8.5 L/100 km (city/highway) with FWD and 12.1/8.9 with AWD. Platinum trim's estimates are a little higher, at 12.4/9.2 L/100 km.