First debuting in the United States in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder name has grown to become somewhat of an iconic one in a sea of otherwise generic SUV names. Over those 33 years, the Pathfinder has evolved from a hardcore body-on-frame SUV based on the Nissan Hardbody to a curvy, three-row crossover that platform shares with Nissan’s Altima, Maxima and Murano. More of a family hauler than the off-roader of yesteryear, the Pathfinder has lost a lot of what it was known for best – off-road prowess.
All is not lost though. As a nod to the Pathfinder’s off-road roots, Nissan has introduced the new for 2019 Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition.
The $995 Rock Creek Edition package can be added to SV or SL trim level Pathfinders, and is available on both 2WD and AWD Pathfinder models. More of an appearance package than a capability package, the Rock Creek Edition adds 18-inch dark wheels riding on 255/60R18 Continental Cross Contact tires, black molded over-fender trim, black front and rear fascia accents, black model badging, and Rock Creek specific badging on the front doors to the exterior of the vehicle.
For $995, the Rock Creek Edition package certainly breathes a bit of fresh air into the standard Nissan Pathfinder, which is getting a bit long in the tooth. This package helps harden an otherwise soft shape, giving the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition’s exterior an adventurous feel.
On the inside of the vehicle, the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition features special embroidered seat inserts, high-contrast stitching, upgraded metallic interior trim, and model specific floor and cargo mats.
The SV trim Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition tester we drove for the week also featured the $980 Technology Package which adds NissanConnect Navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, heated cloth front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated rearview mirrors. As the Pathfinder is now in its sixth year in this generation, the rest of the tech is lagging behind. Don’t look for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in the Pathfinder, as you won’t find it.
All 2019 Pathfinders are powered by Nissan’s tried and true 3.5-liter direct-injection V6, which delivers 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT transmission, which sucks a little bit of enthusiast life out of the vehicle, but is perfectly adequate for crossover duty.
More than adequate is the Pathfinder’s towing capacity, which is a best-in-class 6,000-pounds in both 2WD and AWD drivetrain configurations.
The Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition has plenty of power for passing and getting away from the stoplight, while delivering a fairly solid observed 22 miles per gallon in my mixed environment driving.
Interior room on the three-row Pathfinder is excellent, and the third row can actually accommodate full-size adults with ease thanks to ample legroom and the EZ Flex Seating System third-row access with class-exclusive third-row recline. Cargo space with the third row up is 16 cubic feet, 47.8 cubic feet with the third row down, and 79.8 cubic feet with both second and third rows folded.
Nissan also includes a plethora of standard safety features on all 2019 Pathfinders. Automatic emergency braking is included, and Rock Creek models have blind-spot warning, AroundView 360-degree monitor, intelligent cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rear-door alert.
While the current Pathfinder is getting on in its years, it certainly deserves to be a contender on any crossover shopping list. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as some of the competition, it certainly can go toe to toe on the comfort and capability front. The Rock Creek Edition package is a true value at $995, and should be a must-have when buying a 2019 Pathfinder.
2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition SV
Base Price – $37,055
Price as-Tested – $39,080
Warranty – 3-Year/36,000-mile B2B, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain
EPA Fuel Economy Rating: 19 city/26 highway/23 mixed
Observed Fuel Economy over 180 miles mixed driving – 22 mpg
Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Nissan USA for the purpose of review
Photos courtesy Nissan USA