Monday, June 26, 2023

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek 4WD: An All-New Off-Road Trim

Highlight: The Pathfinder is based on a unibody configuration, allowing it to be built as a 2WD or a 4WD vehicle.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $45,250 (Base S Model: $36,535)

Seating Capacity: 6 to 8 (depending on trim)

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; vehicle dynamic control; a traction control system; a hill start assist system; a hill hold control system; a tire pressure sensor system; a temporary spare tire; rear wipes with washer; and a rear view camera

Standard Equipment (S) FWD: 8-passenger seating; cloth seats; 18-inch wheels; 284-horsepower; regular unleaded fuel; a 9-speed automatic transmission; five position driver mode selection; manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a urethane steering wheel; LED Daytime running lights; black painted exterior mirrors; manual folding exterior mirrors; splash guards; chrome grill; roof rack/cross bars; manual opening and closing liftgate; an 8-inch infotainment center; and a tri-zone automatic climate control system

Standard Equipment (Rock Creek): 4WD; 7-passenger seating; leather like first and second row seats;  heated front seats; second row captain chairs; a power driver’s seat;  18-inch wheels with black finish; a hill descent control system; a leather wrapped steering wheel; an off road tuned suspension; tow hitch; trailer harness; LED front fog lights; body color exterior mirror; heated exterior mirrors; integrated turn signals; unique styled bumpers; a black V shaped grille; black roof rack rails; a removable second row console;  a radar activated cruise control system; and a remote engine start system

Options: two tone premium paint and all-season floor liners

Other Trim Levels:




Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM radio with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles

Towing Capacity: 6,000 lbs (4WD model only)

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower (Test Model): a 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/295-hp

Standard Fuel Mileage (Test Model):

20-city/23-hwy (4WD model)

Recommended Fuel: Premium Unleaded (4WD model)

What’s New: The current generation Pathfinder was redesign during the 2022 model year. New for this year is a more rugged Pathfinder with the addition of the Rock Creek trim.


The new Rock Creek trim is affordable, in comparison to most SUVs

A stylish and modern exterior design

Power engine

Great utility space

Roomy vehicle

A high content of safety features

A vehicle designed for off-roading

A high level of safety features

4WD standard on Rocky Creek trim

Second row bucket seats which fold flat

Easy-to-use controls

Towing capacity of 4WD model nearly matches that of the RWD SUV Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Other trims and features available for those seeking a vehicle other than a crossover/SUV


Wireless charging pad on select trims

Rugged ride

No power liftgate on Rock Creek trim

4WD model requires premium fuel

No sunroof available on Rock Creek model

Limited rear cargo room, when third row in use

Verdict: The fifth generation, three-row crossover was overhauled during the 2022 model, adding a modern appearance. While the rugged looking vehicle is designed to go head-to-head with such body on frame SUVs like the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, its not. In fact, our vehicle is more like the Kia Telluride, which has a car-like ride since its based off of a unibody configuration.

Unfortunately, since this was our first time behind the wheel of the current generation Pathfinder, we’re not in a position to discuss the drivability being that the Rock Creek trim we tested was designed for off-roading.  Thus, three factors led to this crossover ride quality being firm and stiff: the all-wheel drive, the suspension and the all-terrain tires.

The Rock Creek also lacked a panoramic sunroof and a power pull down cargo door. We’re not quite sure why Nissan’s product planning team decided to leave those features off the drawing board.

Moreover, the Rock Creek model offers 11 more horsepower than other Pathfinders trim. Thus, the additional boost aids the driver when off roading. And the six-seater, vehicle with its leather-like interior offers a number of easy-to-use features. Thus, this might be why this trim seems like an affordable off-road option for those comparing this against the likes of the Ford Explorer, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L and the Kia Telluride.

Competition: Ford Explorer Timberline trim; Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo L and Kia Telluride SX-Pro

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