It's time to settle the SUV score in a head-to-head battle: let's compare the Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer. Alike in some ways, different in many, both of these SUVs stand out as capable three-row haulers. Whether that's hauling your family, friends, a wide load of cargo, or all of the above is up to you. Durability for day-to-day work and play, modern style, and plenty of advanced features can be found on both.
Despite the similarity in purpose, when you compare Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder models, specific areas distinguish one from another. Certain specs come in close; others are beaten outright. We'll take you through the full comparison so that you can make an informed decision. When the 2022 Pathfinder proves victorious for your needs, we're the certified Nissan dealership in Salem, NH, to find one through. Without further ado then, let's dive into the comparison:
A three-row SUV is an attractive vehicle. Seating for seven or eight lets you bring along all your friends. But, if you don't need passenger space, fold the seats down for a massive cargo hold. As well, adventurous go-anywhere abilities are a must, and both have them. That's the gist of it, but another major factor in the comparison is what matters when they're parked in your driveway — the looks. Both are modern, rugged-looking machines, and this is a subjective area of comparison.
That said, the 2022 Ford Explorer is an evolution of a design outlined in 2010; the design of the 2022 Pathfinder is all-new and as modern looking as can be. But enough about eye candy, let's look at some overall specs:
|2022 Nissan Pathfinder S||2022 Ford Explorer (Base)
|ENGINE||3.5-liter V-6||2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder|
|MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY||3,500 lbs3||5,300 lbs|
|CARGO (SECOND ROW SEATS UP)||45.0 cubic feet||47.9 cubic feet|
|CARGO (SECOND ROW SEATS FOLDED)||80.5 cubic feet||87.8 cubic feet|
Something to note, these are both base models, and the full story won't be revealed with just this chart alone. For instance, higher trims of the 2022 Pathfinder eclipse the towing capacity of the 2022 Explorer. There's much more to the fuel mileage and MSRP story too. So to reveal said full story, just like our Nissan Pathfinder and Kia Telluride comparison, let's take a closer look at comparable categories.
For those who want a sports car/SUV mashup, the 2022 Ford Explorer comparison will pull ahead in this battle. Why? Trims like the Explorer ST offer you a 400 horsepower engine. But, for those who want an SUV focused on composed daily duties and off-road capabilities, the 2022 Pathfinder easily takes the lead with a quieter interior, smoother ride, and more prominent all-terrain abilities. Many reviews also take issue with interior quality on the Explorer, not so with the new Pathfinder.
The Explorer does beat the Pathfinder for horsepower, but the Pathfinder wins the towing capacity battle. With a tow rating of up to 6,000 lbs.,3 the Pathfinder beats the 5,600 lbs. maximum offered on the Explorer. When it comes to towing-assists, both have an available all-around camera system monitor, and both have Trailer Sway Control as standard.
For decades, the Pathfinder has been a prime choice for off-road four-wheel-drive thrills. While the 2022 Explorer does offer a 4WD system, the one found in the 2022 Pathfinder is one of the most rugged and advanced you can get. Both have seven drive modes, with three designed for off-road terrain. On the 2022 Pathfinder, they include Snow, Sand, and Mud/Rut. On the 2022 Explorer, these modes include Deep Snow/Sand, Slippery, and Trail; essentially, the Pathfinder takes a more specialized approach.
But here's the kicker: On the 2022 Explorer, those terrain modes are an optional feature. Meanwhile, every 2022 Pathfinder comes with it as a standard feature. As well, the 2022 Explorer only offers available Hill Descent Control, while the Pathfinder offers available Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control for both climbing and descending steep grades.
As practical everyday SUVs, the interior cargo and passenger specs are even more important. With the 2022 Ford Explorer vs. 2022 Nissan Pathfinder interior dimensions, the Pathfinder wipes the floor for front seat head and legroom, with well over an inch more in each dimension. The second- and third-row dimensions are very similar, with the Explorer being larger in some areas by just under an inch. Overall, there's very little difference in passenger space. But, the Pathfinder offers available seating for eight, while the Explorer is limited to seven seats.
The real difference is in interior design and quality. On the 2022 Pathfinder, solid, high-quality materials line every surface with a beautifully laid-out modern design. When you step inside, it's a true sight for sore eyes, with few new cars similar to Nissan Pathfinder models offering such modern flair.
Both have available captain's chairs, but on the 2022 Explorer, selecting them limits you to six occupants, while the Pathfinder can accommodate seven with them. What's more important, though, is that a new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder for sale offers a suite of sound deadening throughout, giving a quiet and calm experience on the inside — a lot more so than in an Explorer. Meanwhile, both SUVs offer three-zone automatic climate control standard, available leather upholstery, and available front seat heating and cooling. But, they're more affordable on the Pathfinder.
Time for a Nissan vs. Ford SUV tech showdown. First up are screens. Both offer available digital instrument displays, but on the 2022 Pathfinder, it measures 12.3 inches. One on an Explorer comes in at 6.5 inches. As well, the Pathfinder offers an available head-up display; the Explorer does not. On to infotainment, the 2022 Pathfinder packs a standard 8-inch touchscreen — so does the Explorer. Another tie comes courtesy of Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless smartphone charging, as both have them available. Meanwhile, Nissan Door to Door Navigation easily wins the GPS navigation battle with a precise and intelligent display.
It's a close race so far, but the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder comparison favors it even further in safety features. The Nissan Safety Shield® 360 system comes standard with six driver assists, while the Ford Co-Pilot360 only offers five as standard. But "standard" is only half the story, as the Pathfinder offers even more available safety features, like adaptive cruise control through the available Nissan ProPilot Assist. All in all, the 2022 Pathfinder is your choice for more unique and value-packed tech features.
Another aspect to consider, to get 2022 Nissan Pathfinder equivalent standard features on an Explorer, you have to opt for higher trims; certain available features also cost more to get with the Explorer. To illustrate this, here's a breakdown of trims and price between the two:
Something to note, the 2022 Explorer has not yet hit dealerships, and certain trims have no official price yet. That said, for a 2021 Explorer, trims like the Platinum carry an MSRP of $52,730 — expect it to only increase from that mark. As well, a 4WD system costs an additional $2,000 on the 2022 Explorer, while it costs $1,900 on a 2022 Pathfinder.
But let's look at the feature-to-price ratio disparity. First, every Pathfinder trim comes with a drive mode/terrain selector. On an Explorer, the $46,015 (MSRP for 2021) Timberline trim is the lowest level it comes standard. For a 360-degree camera system, the $39,5901 starting MSRP Pathfinder SL trim and up have it standard, while the $45,255 (MSRP for 2021) Explorer Limited is the lowest to offer it standard. This competitive value continues to favor the Pathfinder — including heated and cooled seats, among many more features.
Like our Nissan Pathfinder vs. Honda Pilot battle, each of these SUVs has its own unique strengths. When compromising between a sports car and SUV, the Explorer is your choice, while the Pathfinder is your ticket to rugged weekend adventures and a quiet daily-driving sanctuary. To recap, the 2022 Pathfinder is your choice in regards to:
The Explorer puts up a good fight, like with its three engine choices, but falls short against the Pathfinder in many areas. We'll leave the choice up to you. But, if the 2022 Pathfinder has won your heart as effectively as it won the standard features battle, we've got one with your name on it. Stop by Patriot Nissan today, and make the value even more competitive with our Nissan Pathfinder lease deals.
The 2022 Ford Explorer is larger than a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. For the Explorer, its wheelbase is five inches longer. Its body is almost two inches longer, an inch wider, but also half an inch shorter than the Pathfinder.
The towing capacity of a 2022 Ford Explorer will vary depending on the engine and drivetrain layout you select. On the lowest end, a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. accompanies the 2022 Explorer when properly equipped. On the high end, it can tow up to 5,600 lbs. when properly equipped.
Rugged and ready to get down to business, the 2022 Pathfinder offers massive towing capabilities. The specific tow rating varies by trim, but on the base level, your 2022 Pathfinder can tow up to 3,500 lbs.3 But, other trims will boost that tow rating to a whopping 6,000 lbs.,3 meaning you can bring just about any toys or gear imaginable on your next adventure.
According to RepairPal, the Ford Explorer has a 3.5 out of 5.0 rating for reliability. J.D. Power also has given the 2021 Explorer an "average" quality and reliability rating of 74 out of 100. Reports of transmission issues and electronic defects contribute to this.
A Nissan Pathfinder will be a rugged, dependable SUV companion for years to come. Past models have earned "great" quality and reliability ratings from J.D. Power, and for 2022 especially, a new, more durable construction is set to take that even further.
Better is a complex term to define when it comes to vehicles. Both offer plenty of great SUV attributes. An Explorer will be "better" for sporty driving and slightly more cargo space. But, off-road abilities, a quieter interior, more standard features for the price, and several other attributes make the Pathfinder your "better" choice.
1Price is Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). MSRP excludes tax, title, license, options and destination charge. Dealer sets actual price.
22022 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions. Use for comparison only.
3Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped. Towing capacity varies by configuration. See Nissan Towing Guide and Owner's Manual for additional information.