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When it comes to practical family transit, the 2024 Nissan Pathfinder easily meets the brief, but don’t let its rugged look fool you into thinking it can tackle the same terrain as a Jeep or a Land Rover. Even the beefed-up Rock Creek Edition fails to move the needle on off-road capability. Instead, the Pathfinder is perfectly happy sticking to the pavement. Its smooth V-6 engine provides adequate power, its suspension is well-tuned for comfort, and its cabin is both spacious and quiet. Towing capacity is also generous at a maximum of 6000 pounds, which is more than what rivals such as the Hyundai Palisade, the Kia Telluride, and the Toyota Highlander offer. Overall though, we think there’s slightly better value to be had among mid-size SUVs, and several options that can either satisfy driving enthusiasts with better handling or offer legitimate off-road capability.

What’s New for 2024?

Nissan’s mid-size SUV carries over to 2024 with nary a change over last year. The rugged-looking Rock Creek Edition that was added last year will also be available in 2024.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

While the Pathfinder retains the 3.5-liter V-6 from the previous-generation model, it drops the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in favor of a new nine-speed automatic. The V-6 makes 284 horsepower in most models but is cranked up to 295 in the Rock Creek trim. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all trims can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Upgrading to the all-wheel-drive system also adds a set of seven drive modes, including the off-road-focused Sand and Mud/Rut mode. At our test track, our front-wheel-drive Pathfinder SL test vehicle got to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds; the model with all-wheel drive managed it in 6.6 seconds. Those results mean the all-wheel-drive Pathfinder is quicker than the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander. Handling is utterly forgettable and not in the least entertaining, but the Pathfinder’s ride is smooth, and Nissan’s attention to sound-deadening elements makes the cabin extra quiet when cruising.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Pathfinder sports a modern and trucklike interior design with comfortable front seats and well-placed controls. Three rows of seating can accommodate up to eight riders, but buyers can choose to swap the standard second-row bench seat for captain’s chairs—a desirable feature in a family crossover—that reduce capacity to seven. Nissan has integrated storage cubbies throughout the cabin, including a large bin below the center console that’s accessible by the driver or front-seat passenger. Upper trim levels come appropriately decked out with luxuries such as semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof.