Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer

The Explorer is down on displacement, but is lighter. How does it stack up against the new-gen Pathfinder? Read on to find out

Now the three-row SUV segment is an incredibly crowded place with some popular options like the Honda Pilot, the Toyota Highlander, the Hyundai Palliside, and the Kia Telluride. Believe it or not, buyers now have a choice of 30 different vehicles to choose from, depending on their budget and size requirements.

Overview

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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Anyway coming back to today’s duel, the Nissan Pathfinder was updated recently and YouTuber Sam CarLegion decided to pit it against one of the segment stalwarts, the Ford Explorer. While the video itself is an in-depth comparison, which you can watch by clicking here, we’ll be focusing on the drag races in this post. Let’s look at the specs, shall we?

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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In the green corner, we have Nissan’s all-new 2022 Pathfinder in Platinum trim. Under the hood lies a 3.5 L naturally aspirated V-6 engine that produces 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque

Now, in the green corner, we have a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in Platinum trim. Under the hood is a 3.5 Liter naturally aspirated V-6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259-pound feet of torque. The old CVT is thankfully gone and in its place is a nine-speed automatic transmission, sending power to all four wheels. Weight? Well, the Nissan tips the scales at 4638 pounds.

2022 Ford Explorer

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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In the steely grey corner, we have the 2022 Ford Explorer in XLT trim. Under the hood like the legendary 2.3 L V-6 Ecoboost turbo mill that produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque

Meanwhile, in the steely grey corner, we have a 2022 Ford Explorer in XLT trim, that’s rocking the legendary 2.3 Liter Ecoboost four-cylinder turbo mill that produces 300 horsepower and 310-pound feet of torque. The Ford does one better than the Nissan with one extra cog. So a 10 speed auto with four-wheel-drive. While the Explorer is down on displacement, it is also about 300 pounds lighter when compared to the Pathfinder coming in at 4345 pounds. Okay, having reviewed the specs, let’s see how these numbers translate on track.

Round 1 - Normal Mode

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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And takes an easy win on this first pass

Round one is pretty straightforward. The guys set off in your normal everyday run-of-the-mill mode. Go time is here and they nail it. Sam gets a great start and easily manages to pull away from the Nissan. He maintains that lead, all the way to the finish line. So round one to the Ford then.

Round 2 - Sport Mode

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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As the speeds build, that lead only gets bigger and it manages to win this third an final pass

They switch it up to sport mode for round two. This time though, to Sam’s surprise, it’s not the Explorer but the Nissan that got the better launch. While it was in the lead for a bit, the Ford did manage to close the gap. However as the race progressed, the Nissans 3.5 Liter V-6 really came into its own and managed to pull a considerable lead over the Explorer, winning the second round.

Round 3 - Rolling Race

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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Once again, it was the Pathfinder that had the better kickdown

Round three was the rolling race. You know the drill, nail it after you get past the Cone at 50 km/h (31 mph). They hammer it down the runway and it’s the Nissan that is once again in the lead. The Pathfinder’s 9-speed kicked down better, however the Ford did manage to stay with the Nissan and it was neck and neck. In the end, the Pathfinder took this round by the thinnest of margins.

Conclusion

Three-Row SUV Battle: Nissan Pathfinder vs Ford Explorer
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To sum it up, while the Nissan might have won on paper, you could argue that this was down to the driver’s reaction times. Most people will tell you that the Nissan’s mill would be far more reliable in the long run, but don’t discount the Ford as it offers a much wider array of engines to choose from. This wasn’t an ideal spec for spec comparison and Sam says that an ST would run rings around the Pathfinder.

You can read more on how the Explorer ST took down the Dodge Durango Hellcat SRT to see what I mean. The only issue that Sam has with the Explorer is that it is used by the Police. In the end, the Pathfinder is a marked improvement over its predecessor, especially with the revised boxy avatar and Nissan ditching that dreadful CVT. If you wish to tow, look no further than the Nissan as the Pathfinder offers best in class towing rated at 6000 pounds.

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers a stick shift over an auto any day.  Read full bio
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