There are a number of useful off-road equipment included in the package, too

The current-generation Nissan Pathfinder is six years old, but without an all-new model on the way, Nissan has taken to rolling out special edition packages to keep its SUV as fresh as a daisy. The new package, called the Rock Creek Edition, provides an off-road look to the to three-row crossover to go along with a handful of useful equipment that you can use in the outdoors. The Nissan Pathfinder will be on display at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Available to the mid-tier SV and SL trims of the Pathfinder, pricing for the special edition SUV starts at $35,265 for the SL trim and $38,915 for the higher-spec SL trim. The Rock Creek Package itself costs just $995.

You have to hand it to Nissan. In the absence of an all-new Pathfinder, the Japanese automaker is turning to the one thing that’s in abundance at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show: special edition packages. It’s not a bad strategy on the surface, though we’d probably be more excited if an all-new Pathfinder arrived considering that the current-generation model is already six years old. But we can wish upon as many stars as we want; there’s no next-gen Pathfinder arriving at Chicago. Instead, we get the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition. Expectation versus reality? You bet.

In all seriousness, the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition is actually a rock solid offering from Nissan.

It’s mostly an appearance package given to the family-friendly SUV to give it a bit more edge.

It doesn’t sacrifice any of the comfort associated with the Pathfinder, but it does give it an extra touch of ruggedness. I can get on board with that. Heck, Nissan even threw in a few non-aesthetic upgrades that should come handy in certain off-road situations.

Nissan Adds Off-Road Looks To The Pathfinder with the Rock Creek Edition Package
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Best I can tell, there are no fancy exclusive colors available to the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition. No, that’d be too genteel for the identity that Nissan’s going for. Instead, the exterior is treated to a host of black-finished exterior bits and pieces. The front and rear fascia benefit the most from these touch-ups. The front grille, roof rails, door handles, mirror caps, and badges are all dressed up in black. Look down below and you’ll see the outdoor-specific add-ons I was talking about, specifically the splash guards that look like they’re dying to get wet, dirty, or a combination of both.

Chunky wheel well fenders are also included in the package, though that’s probably due to the new set of meaty 18-inch wheels wrapped in package-specific all-season tires.

If for nothing else, the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition looks ready to hit the trail after it stops for photos in the Windy City. Obviously, no special edition package is complete without the obligatory badges. The Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition has them, and it has them aplenty. There’s the name badge on the front passenger door, and there’s another one in the tailgate.

Nissan Adds Off-Road Looks To The Pathfinder with the Rock Creek Edition Package
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The Pathfinder’s interior benefits from a different set of upgrades, all of which are also included in the special edition package.

The seats are dressed promptly in a two-tone get-up, and there’s even a nice touch of high-contrast stitching found on the seats, center console, steering wheel, and doors.

Fancy. how about metallic trim pieces? Can’t leave home without those, apparently. They’re spread out, evenly, I must say, throughout the Pathfinder’s cabin. And, of course, the badges. How can I forget about the ultimate form of self-gratifying vanity-piece from these automakers. The Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition’s interior has them, too. Surprise, surprise. Ok, so maybe I’m not a fan of excessive use of badges in a car, but that’s a common practice in the industry. There’s no sense getting worked up about it, knowing that there’s no alternative in the way.

In any event, Nissan’s also giving the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition a slew of other packages to round out this package-heavy special edition. The most important of these packages is the Tech Package, which includes embedded navigation, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, and heated badges. Ok, so the heated badges aren’t real, but everything else is, including the $980 you’d have to pay to avail of the said package. If you’re in the spending mood, you can throw in an extra $2,110 and score the Premium Package, which adds a panoramic glass roof and a 13-speaker Bose surround system into the mix.

Nissan Adds Off-Road Looks To The Pathfinder with the Rock Creek Edition Package
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Truth be told, Nissan did well for itself with the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition. The exterior upgrades are either useful, eye-catching, or a combination of the two. It’s the same thing with the interior upgrades. They’re not going to bowl you over, but they do provide the kind of fresh alternative to the aesthetic norm that the Pathfinder may or may not need.

There’s very little downside to the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition other than the possibility that it ages quickly once the next-generation Pathfinder arrives.

Fortunately, Nissan appears to be pre-occupied with advancing its electrification efforts that we won’t see the next-gen Pathfinder for at least a few more years. That’s good news for you if you’re looking to buy the Rock Creek Edition. Should you do end up making the financial commitment, you’ll receive an SUV that’s powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the wheels via Nissan’s third-gen Xtronic CVT transmission. All that power should come in handy in the outdoors, especially if the Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition has to tow something. Fortunately, the package also includes a trailer hitch and harness that allows the SUV to tow up to 6,000 pounds. That’s more than what rivals like the Toyota Highlander and Infiniti QX60 are capable of towing.

Nissan Adds Off-Road Looks To The Pathfinder with the Rock Creek Edition Package
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If you end up deciding to buy the Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition, you’re in the hook for at least $35,265 for the SV trim and $38,915 for the higher-spec SL trim. Those price don’t include the aforementioned Tech and Premium Packages, so if you want all of that, you’ll have to spend more than $40,000 for the SUV. It’s still pretty affordable for a special edition SUV, isn’t it?

2019 Nissan Pathfinder specifications

Engine VQ35DD
Cam design DOHC
Orientation Transverse-mounted
Cylinders / configuration 60-degree V6
Block / head composition Aluminum/aluminum
Displacement (liters / cc) 3.5L / 3498cc
Horsepower 284 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (lb-ft) 259 @ 4,800 rpm
Bore & stroke (mm) 96 x 81
Compression ratio (:1) 11.0
Spark plugs Iridium-tipped
Maximum engine speed 6,600 rpm

Further reading

2017 Nissan Pathfinder High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 NIssan Pathfinder.

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