Comparison: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2018 Ford Explorer

Comparison: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2018 Ford Explorer

If you're in the greater Richmond area and need a three-row SUV that can seat up to seven passengers, you'll want to compare models before deciding to ensure you get everything you expect in a ute.

Below, we'll compare the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder to the 2018 Ford Explorer. These two top-selling SUVs are popular in Virginia, but which one will end up in your driveway?

Read on to see which model pulls ahead of the competition, then visit us in Stanton to get the full Pathfinder experience.

Safety Ratings and Tech

Nissan Pathfinder

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2018 Pathfinder best-possible scores in all crashworthiness categories, not to mention a Superior rating for its crash avoidance and mitigation systems. Additionally, the Nissan SUV earned a 5-Star Overall Rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Pathfinder is standard or optional with next-level safety technology, including Intelligent Cruise Control, an Around View Monitor, Automatic Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a Blind Spot Warning, and Intelligent Auto Headlights.

Ford Explorer

The IIHS wasn't as impressed with the Explorer, giving it a Marginal rating in small overlap front crash tests, and a Basic rating in crash avoidance and mitigation. Plus, the Ford SUV's headlights earned a Poor rating. To its credit, the Explorer did earn a 5-Star Overall Rating from the NHTSA.

The Explorer does not come standard with any safety tech but does come available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, a Blind Spot Information System, active park assist, forward and reverse sensing, a Lane-Keeping System, and 180-degree camera.

Performance, Towing, and Fuel Economy

Nissan Pathfinder

The 2018 Pathfinder has a 3.5-liter V6 engine under the hood, mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission. The powertrain makes 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, and all trims come with the option for Intelligent 4X4. A fully equipped Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds and comes with the option for a tow hitch receiver with 7-pin wiring harness.

According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Pathfinder with front-wheel drive gets 20 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, while AWD models get 19 MPG city and 26 MPG highway.

Ford Explorer

The 2018 Explorer has three engine options. The base is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque, while buyers can also upgrade to a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 that makes 280 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Both models have pony power comparable to the Pathfinder but have worse fuel economy on the whole. The base with front-wheel drive gets 17 MPG city and 24 MPG highway, while the Explorer AWD gets 16 MPG city and 22 MPG highway. The turbo option with FWD gets 19 MPG city and 27 MPG highway, and AWD models get 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway. (The Sport trim also adds about $15K to the base price, while the Platinum trim adds more than $20K.)

Spot and Platinum trims come with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that makes 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, and have standard all-wheel drive. This model gets 16 MPG city and 22 MPG highway.

Despite having a slight edge on power, the Explorer can only tow up to 5,000 pounds fully equipped. A hitch receiver is available via a Tow Package.

Pricing

Nissan Pathfinder

Starting at $31,040 MSRP

Ford Explorer

Starting at $31,990 MSRP