2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition first drive review: Its roots are showing

    About a yr in the past, I awakened one morning and realized I might gotten too comfy. I might placed on a couple of kilos — okay, quite a lot of — and I wasn’t as adventurous or energetic as I used to be in my youth. I wasn’t sad, simply cognizant of being a bit too… content material. Since that point, I’ve hit the gymnasium and kickstarted my long-dormant curiosity within the open air. I dropped a bunch of weight, and all winter lengthy, I have been saving for a brand new mountain bike and eyeballing my son’s kayak, biding my time till spring. I level all this out as a result of it feels just like the Nissan Pathfinder would possibly’ve not too long ago skilled the identical type of epiphany. Once a easy, compact and hard-wearing SUV, the 33-year-old nameplate has morphed right into a three-row crossover with rounder styling, a coddling journey and an efficiency-minded powertrain full with a constantly variable transmission. Like many people, the Pathfinder has grown as much as be much more family-minded and loads much less hardcore. As a end result, the chance has arisen for Nissan to as soon as once more imbue the Pathfinder with among the edgy seems and spirit it loved in its early years. Enter the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition.To be clear, this new Rock Creek Edition is not is not a wholesale Pathfinder rethink, some type of four-wheeled mid-life disaster. Nor is it a refutation of what this mannequin vary has develop into. While the present, fourth-generation Pathfinder is getting on a bit in years (it debuted in 2013), there isn’t any disgrace in its sport. This seven-seat SUV is holding up effectively, thanks partially to a 2017 facelift, continued minor updates and a basically sound design. Like me, it appears like Pathfinder simply awakened one morning and determined to recapture a bit extra of its youthful spirit, so it pumped itself up a bit, purchased some new outdoorsy Rock Creek duds and is now able to set out seeking new adventures. In different phrases, its roots are displaying — for the higher.To that finish, the Rock Creek Edition butches up the Pathfinder’s styling with blacked-out trim, together with a mesh grille, fender trims, entrance and rear fascia garnishes, roof rails, and particular 18-inch dark-finish alloy wheels sporting 255/60R18 tires. Other darkened items embrace the door handles, aspect mirrors and badges. I am typically cautious of such packages, however to my eyes, this blacked-out look does the Pathfinder actual favors, imparting extra edge to a primary two-box form that may in any other case come off as a bit delicate. A set of mud flaps and most significantly, a normal trailer hitch with a best-in-class 6,000-pound tow score add a bit extra utilitarian cred, too. The Rock Creek’s inside will get a couple of tweaks, as effectively, together with pleasing orange distinction stitching on the seats, steering wheel, door trims and armrest storage lid. Metallic trim items brighten up the dashboard and console, and predictably, “Rock Creek” insignias are emblazoned on the comfy seatbacks (material and leatherette or leather-based, relying on trim). As is widespread for any such bundle, an identical set of Rock Creek ground and cargo mats is out there, too.Unique 18-inch wheels and darkened trim spherical out the Rock Creek Edition’s butch visible updo.
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    Yes, that does imply that the Rock Creek Edition is essentially a “trim-and-tape” effort, however these small touches add as much as surprisingly convincing impact — the 2019 Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition seems each extra rugged and up to date. Plus, the bundle is an effective purchase, costing simply $995 (Nissan claims the elements add as much as a $2,310 worth). While the 2019 Pathfinder begins at $32,475 (together with $1,045 supply) for a base FWD S mannequin, Rock Creek fixins’ are solely out there on midlevel SV and SL trim grades, within the purchaser’s alternative of front- or all-wheel drive. That means RCE pricing begins at $36,310 (together with supply) for a front-drive SV and vary on as much as $41,650 for an AWD SL earlier than choices.Like different 2019 Pathfinders, the Rock Creek Edition is powered by Nissan’s stalwart 3.5-liter, direct-injected V6 tuned to ship 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Paired to an Xtronic constantly variable transmission, the Pathfinder is hardly the phase’s driving fanatic’s alternative, however then once more, three-row crossovers aren’t precisely identified for prioritizing such issues within the first place. We could not resist bringing a pal from our lodge alongside for the journey. (Don’t fear, we returned him.)
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    What’s essential is that there is nonetheless shocking thrust underfoot, as I discovered whereas hustling the massive Nissan via the breathtaking, 360-degree vistas simply exterior Missoula, Montana. I discovered loads of energy each off the road and for passing dawdlers at Montana’s sometimes elevated b-road speeds (there’s not loads to hit in The Last Best Place, so leadfoots take benefit). The Pathfinder is one thing of a phase heavyweight, weighing in between 4,300 4,700 kilos, relying on choices and trim. However, gas economic system is strong for such an enormous car, checking in at 20 miles per gallon metropolis and 27 mpg freeway (23 mixed) in front-drive variants, with all-wheel-drive fashions dipping to 19 metropolis, 26 freeway and 23 mixed (the heavier top-spec Platinum mannequin excepted — it sees its mixed mpg slip to 21). The Nissan Connect infotainment system works effectively, however seems outdated and lacks many options — together with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
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    The good factor about dwelling with a CVT is that they have a tendency to ship marketed fuel-efficiency rankings in the true world, and whereas my check was restricted to nation driving, my findings recommend that the Pathfinder will adhere to that custom. Furthermore, Nissan has extra years tuning CVTs that virtually anybody within the enterprise, and it exhibits — the Pathfinder’s unit is an effective one, hardly ever grating with the slipped-clutch soundtrack that blights different such transmissions.To be clear, even with its tougher-looking Rock Creek Edition livery, the Pathfinder nonetheless is not a hardcore off-roader. Ground clearance stays an unremarkable 7.0 inches, and the mannequin’s arrival and departure angles are 16.5 levels and 20.2 levels, respectfully. Still, muddy, snowy and rutted two tracks proved no match for my AWD-equipped tester, and it was good realizing that that the driveline features a full-lock setting for light-duty off-roading, simply in case. Like lots of its key rivals, together with the Honda Pilot, Subaru Ascent and Volkswagen Atlas, it is nonetheless honest to say that the Pathfinder’s off-road capabilities will outstrip what most customers will ask of their rides.More essential for a household cruiser just like the Pathfinder, noticed journey high quality was robust, aided by very comfy seats. Visibility is sort of good all the best way round, too, making the Pathfinder a wonderful sightseeing car — particularly with the optionally available panoramic roof. The Pathfinder’s greatest inside trick stays its straightforward tip-and-slide third-row entry, which may nonetheless be completed with a toddler seat in place. There’s sufficient third-row area for a pair of adults to eke out shorter journeys — particularly if second-row occupants oblige by sliding their seats ahead — however the way-backs are nonetheless principally greatest left for kids.The Pathfinder’s second-row seats supply straightforward tip-and-slide performance, however the way-back is greatest reserved for youths.
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    Cargo area is listed at 16 cubic ft behind the third row, 47.8 cubic ft behind the second row and 79.8 cubes when all seats behind the driving force are folded flat. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Pathfinder’s cabin is the place this mannequin’s age is beginning to present. That’s true for its general button-heavy aesthetic, in addition to materials selections. On the cabin tech entrance, sure, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen did get added not too long ago, and a 4G LTE Wi-FI hotspot and 360-degree digital camera protection can be found. For 2019, Nissan has even added USB-C connectivity for faster gadget charging. Even with these updates, there’s nonetheless no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility (not to mention wi-fi charging) and Nissan Connect’s graphics really feel considerably dated. There are different, extra tech-forward household SUVs in the marketplace, however there are additionally ones with (far) extra irritating management schemes, too.The Pathfinder boasts 284 horsepower, or roughly the identical as one Sinclair fuel station steer.
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    Nissan has finished a strong job of peppering this Smyrna, Tennessee-built SUV with superior security options. Automatic emergency braking is normal throughout all Pathfinders and Rock Creek fashions include blind-spot warning, clever cruise management and rear cross-traffic alert, together with rear-door alert, a function designed to stop drivers from by chance leaving gadgets within the again seat. Sadly, Nissan’s likable ProfessionalPilot Assist lane-centering tech isn’t out there.In order to remain in form and sustain with its quickly altering competitors, Nissan might want to grace us with an all-new mannequin sooner relatively than later. As a bridge to the longer term and a nod to the Pathfinder’s outdoorsy previous, although, the 2019 Rock Creek Edition is an effective one. Let’s hope the next-generation Pathfinder builds on this trim’s spirit and incorporates much more adventure-ready tech.Montana’s beautiful backdrops present loads of alternatives for literal rock creek picture shoots.
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    Editors’ notice: Travel prices associated to this function have been lined by the producer. This is widespread within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multi-day car loans from producers with a purpose to present scored editorial opinions, all scored car opinions are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial crew are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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