8 Top Nissan Pathfinder Competitors

The Nissan Pathfinder is a three-row midsize SUV that offers competitive towing capacity, but is it the best option for you?
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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All new for the 2022 model year, the Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize 3-row SUV that returns to the SUV class’ off-road roots. When equipped with an available tow package, the Nissan Pathfinder achieves a towing capacity of up to 6,000 pounds, which is the main thing that the Pathfinder has over its top competitors like the Kia Telluride and the Ford Bronco.
In keeping with the throwback spirit of the 2022 Pathfinder, this model replaced the previous CVT transmission with a 9-speed automatic.
Before you decide on a Pathfinder right away, why not look through your other options with
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1. Kia Telluride

Starting price: $34,725 to $44,625
Selling points: Incredible value, top-level performance
Weak spot: Unimpressive fuel economy, a bit boring on-road
If you haven’t heard about the
Kia Telluride
yet, you’re missing out on what is currently one of the most talked-about SUVs on the new market. It’s a midsize
three-row SUV
that checks all the boxes for the perfect family camping vehicle, offering brilliant
off-road performance
and unmatched value.
The Telluride is equipped with a naturally aspirated291-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine powering an 8-speed automatic transmission with either FWD or AWD. While it’s not the most fuel-efficient SUV on the market, the Telluride makes up for it by being fairly priced, offering a fantastic standard warranty, and providing top-level standard safety features.

2. Hyundai Palisade

Starting price: $34,895 to $48,585
Selling points: Sister vehicle of the Kia Telluride, great family budget SUV
Weak spot: Not built for off-roading
The Kia Telluride SUV is so nice they’ve made it twice—Hyundai offers the
Palisade
as the Telluride’s twin, and it’s just as great as the Kia. There are
three rows of seating
there, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds, and the price remains unbeatable, with all safety features standard on the base model.
While the Telluride and Palisade aren’t quite equipped for the level of
off-roading
that the Pathfinder is, they’re still ready for pretty much any off-road situations you’d run into without actively seeking them out. But if you’re looking for something that can tow and go off-road often, the Pathfinder may still be your preferred option.
MORE: The 10 best SUVs for towing

3. Ford Bronco

Starting price: $32,395 to $54,595
Selling points: Same great classic ute look, brilliant on- and off-road
Weak spot: Maximum seating up to 5
Just like the new generation of Pathfinders, the
Ford Bronco
reignites the spirit of a beloved classic. It’s really Ford’s answer to Jeep’s off-road-focused Wrangler models, and there’s a lot to love about it—including performance, comfort, and tech.
That said, the Ford Bronco fails to live up to the Pathfinder’s competition in its
limited seating capacity
and lower maximum towing capacity. The Bronco comes with only 4 or 5 seats and can tow up to 3500 pounds

4. Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Starting price: $43,520 to $68,970
Selling points: Top of its class in many areas
Weak spot: Quite a bit more expensive than most competitors
Speaking of Jeep, the
Jeep Grand Cherokee L
also offers a great alternative to the Nissan Pathfinder. It can
seat up to 7
and the towing capacity is a class-topping 6200 pounds, but the price tag is nearly $10,000 more.
There are two engine options on the Grand Cherokee L, a 293-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 or the spec-maxing 5.7-liter V8 with 357 horsepower. In terms of off-road prowess, it’s hard to beat the Jeep in this category.

5. Kia Sorento

Starting price: $30,885 to $49,385
Selling points: Top fuel economy, hybrids available, fair price tag
Weak spot: less power/towing capacity than competitors
The
Kia Sorento
is less
equipped for off-roading
than the more rugged models on this list, but it still offers maximum value as a midsize
three-row family crossover SUV
. It’s essentially a smaller version of the Telluride, $2,000 cheaper and powered by an inline-4 or turbo I-4 that produce 191 and 281 horsepower respectively.
The base model with FWD gets a city/highway EPA rating of 24/29 mpg, but the Sorento is also available with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. The traditional hybrid changes FWD fuel economy to 39/35 mpg and 36/33 mpg with AWD. The plug-in hybrid gets 79 MPGe combined when used in electric-only mode, able to drive up to 32 miles on battery power alone.
Unfortunately, the Sorento’s smaller size results in a significant loss in towing capacity, rated for a maximum of only 2000 pounds.
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6. Ford Explorer

Starting price: $37,005 to $55,125
Selling points: Great towing capability, comfortable ride
Weak spot: snug third row, overall less appealing than top competitors
If it’s towing capacity you want, the
Ford Explorer
offers great capability while still not overdoing it on the price front. Owners of the Explorer will enjoy a maximum towing capacity of 5600 pounds with the top-level 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6 powertrain.
Unfortunately, when compared to the Telluride, Palisade, and Grand Cherokee L, the Explorer just doesn’t seem as enticing—both the exterior and interior designs are unexciting, and the
third-row seats
aren’t adequate for adult seating.
MORE: Ford Explorer XLT towing capacity

7. Chevrolet Traverse

Starting price: $35,095 to $52,545
Selling points: Plenty of passenger and cargo space 
Weak spot: Poor towing capacity, low value for cost of higher trims
The
Chevy Traverse
is lovingly referred to as a minivan alternative, but it’s really just another midsize three-row SUV, freshly redesigned for 2022. Many driver-assistance features are standard on the Chevrolet SUVs now, bringing them back on par in the safety category.
Fuel efficiency for the Traverse is middling, rated for city/highway/combined mileages of 18/27/21 mpg. But by far the most deterring feature of the Traverse is its poor maximum towing capacity—only 1500 pounds, nowhere near the level of the Pathfinder.

8. Toyota Highlander

Starting price: $37,190 to $50,845
Selling points: Plenty of standard driver-assistance features, hybrid available
Weak spot: Lackluster driving experience, impractical third row
The
Toyota Highlander
matches the value of the Nissan Pathfinder fairly well on paper. It has 5000 pounds of maximum towing capacity and
seating for up to 8
. It also gets better fuel efficiency than the Pathfinder, rated at 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined.
There’s also an available hybrid, allowing for even more fuel savings. But when it comes down to it, the highlander fails to deliver on one specific thing: fun. Driving the Highlander feels like driving a minivan—it’s less engaged and sluggish, using a continuously variable automatic transmission that manages to suck a fair amount of joy out of the driving experience for the sake of added fuel efficiency.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. the competition

If you want to see how all this comparison looks on paper, here’s how the stats of the Nissan Pathfinder and its top competitors shape up.
Model
Starting price range
Engine options
Maximum seating capacity
Maximum cargo volume
Maximum towing capacity
Fuel economy (city/highway/combined)
$35,935 to $48,435
V6
8 seats
87 cubic ft
6000 lb
21/26/23 mpg
$34,725 to $44,625
V6
8 seats
87 cubic ft
5000 lb
20/26/23 mpg
$34,895 to $48,585
V6
8 seats
86.4 cubic ft
5000 lb
19/26/22 mpg
$32,395 to $54,545
Four-cylinder or V6
5 seats
52.3 cubic ft
4500 lb
20/21/20 mpg
$43,520 to $68,970
V6, V8
7 seats
84.6 cubic ft
6200 lb
19/26/21 mpg
$30,885 to $49,385
I-4, turbo I-4
7 seats
75.5 cubic ft
2000 lb
24/29/26 mpg
$37,005 to $55,125
Turbo I-4, V6 hybrid, twin-turbo V6
7 seats
87.8 cubic ft
5300 lb
21/28/24 mpg
$35,095 to $52,545
V6
8 seats
98.2 cubic ft
1500 lbs
18/27/21 mpg
$37,190 to $50,845
V6
8 seats
84.3 cubic ft
5000 lb
21/29/24 mpg

How to compare car insurance quotes in under a minute

If you’re getting ready to invest in a new adventure-mobile for you and your family, you’re heading down a road full of plenty of driving fun, so long as you equip yourself with an insurance policy as rugged as your SUV.
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