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Compare The 2023 Ford Explorer And 2023 Nissan Pathfinder: Specs, Interior & Trims


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It's time to settle the SUV score in a head-to-head Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer showdown. 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 define both models.

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, while others are beaten outright. We'll take you through the full comparison so that you can make an informed decision. When the 2023 Pathfinder proves victorious for your needs, we're your Nissan dealership to find one through. Without further ado then, let's dive into the Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer comparison.

Pathfinder vs. Explorer: At a Glance

A three-row SUV is an attractive vehicle. Comparing the Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer revolves around both models being three-row SUVs for the family. Seating for seven or eight lets you bring them along in comfort. But, if you don't need passenger space, fold the seats down for a massive cargo hold. While extra space is crucial for drivers, so is appearance. Both models are modern, rugged-looking machines, and this is a subjective area of comparison, as each person has different tastes and styles.

With that in mind, the 2023 Ford Explorer is an evolution of a design outlined in 2010. The design of the 2023 Pathfinder is just one year old and as modern looking as can be. But enough about eye candy, let's look at some overall specs:

  2023 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4WD 2023 Ford Explorer XLT AWD
3.5-liter V-6 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
MAXIMUM TOWING CAPACITY 6,000 pounds3 5,300 pounds4
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 as you compare the Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer is that the full story won't be revealed with just this chart alone. There's much more to the features, fuel mileage, and size-based stories, and that's not even mentioning the lower MSRP of a new Pathfinder. So to reveal the lot, let's take a closer look at what awaits in our new Nissan Pathfinder inventory and how it stacks up to the Explorer.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer: Daily Driving Duty

Features start to become even more crucial when comparing the Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer SUVs on your daily commute. For those who want a sports car/SUV mashup, the 2023 Ford Explorer 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 the true strengths of an SUV, like composed daily duties and off-road capabilities, the 2023 Pathfinder easily takes the lead with a quieter interior, smoother ride, and more prominent all-terrain abilities. Expert reviewers also take issue with the interior quality of the Explorer5.

The Explorer does exceed the Pathfinder for horsepower, but the Pathfinder wins the towing capacity battle. With a tow rating of up to 6,000 pounds,3 the Pathfinder beats the 5,600-pound4 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.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer: All-Terrain Capabilities

For decades, the Pathfinder has been a prime choice for off-road four-wheel-drive thrills. While the 2023 Explorer does offer a 4WD system, the one found in the 2023 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 2023 Pathfinder, they include Snow, Sand, and Mud/Rut. On the 2023 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 2023 Explorer, those terrain modes are an optional feature. Meanwhile, every 2023 Pathfinder comes with it as a standard feature. The 2023 Explorer only offers Hill Descent Control, while the Pathfinder offers Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control for both climbing and descending steep grades. With off-roading in mind, the Ford Explorer vs. Nissan Pathfinder comparison continues to favor the Pathfinder.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer Size: Interior Room & Cargo

As practical everyday SUVs, the interior cargo and passenger specs are even more important. With the 2023 Ford Explorer vs. 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 2023 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.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer: Interior Features

Ford Explorer vs. Pathfinder interior appointments begin with both models offering available captain's chairs. But on the 2023 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 Nissan Pathfinder 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 2023 Pathfinder, it measures 12.3-inches. One on an Explorer comes in at 6.5-inches. The Pathfinder offers an available head-up display; the Explorer does not. On to infotainment, the 2023 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 2023 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 2023 Pathfinder is your choice for more unique and value-packed tech features.

Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer: Trims

Another aspect to consider is that to get equivalent 2023 Nissan Pathfinder standard features on an Explorer, you have to opt for higher trims; certain available features may also cost more to get with the Explorer. To illustrate this, here's a breakdown of trims:

  • 2023 Pathfinder S 2WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder S 4WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder SV 2WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder SV 4WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder SL 2WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder SL 4WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder Platinum 2WD
  • 2023 Pathfinder Platinum 4WD
  • 2023 Ford Explorer Base
  • 2023 Ford Explorer XLT
  • 2023 Ford Explorer ST-Line
  • 2023 Ford Explorer Timberline
  • 2023 Ford Explorer Limited
  • 2023 Ford Explorer ST
  • 2023 Ford Explorer King Ranch
  • 2023 Ford Explorer Platinum

Let's examine some of the trim differences between the two models. First, every Pathfinder trim comes with a drive mode/terrain selector. On an Explorer, the Timberline trim is the lowest level it comes standard. For a 360-degree camera system, the Pathfinder SL trim and up have it standard, while the 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.


Nissan Pathfinder vs. Ford Explorer: And The Winner Is ...

Each of these SUVs has its own unique strengths. When compromising between a sports car and an SUV, the Explorer is your choice. However, when you want an SUV that plays to SUV strengths, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder is your ticket to rugged weekend adventures and a quiet daily-driving sanctuary. To recap, the 2023 Pathfinder is the winning choice in regards to:

  • Towing capabilities.
  • Number of seats.
  • Modern design — inside and out.
  • High-quality interior materials.
  • Interior sound deadening.
  • A smooth ride.
  • Front head and legroom.
  • Standard features for the price.
  • Standard off-road abilities and features.
  • Standard driver assists.
  • Unique technology.

The Explorer puts up a good fight, like with its three engine choices, but falls short against the Pathfinder in many areas. The winner of the Explorer vs. Pathfinder battle is the Pathfinder thanks to these advantages. If the 2023 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 or a used Nissan Pathfinder for sale.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which is bigger, 2023 Nissan Pathfinder or 2023 Ford Explorer?

The 2023 Ford Explorer is larger than a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder. Its wheelbase is five inches longer; its body is almost two inches longer and an inch wider, but also half an inch shorter than the Pathfinder. This larger size does give the Explorer small advantages, like an extra 2.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, but this comes at the cost of versatile agility.

How much can a 2023 Ford Explorer tow?

The towing capacity of a 2023 Ford Explorer will vary depending on its configuration. On the lowest end, a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds4 accompanies the 2023 Explorer when properly equipped. On the high end, it can tow up to 5,600 pounds4 when properly equipped. This is impressive but has less of an impact when you consider the 6,000-pound3 maximum towing capacity of a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder.

How much can a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder tow?

Rugged and ready to get down to business, the 2023 Pathfinder offers massive towing capabilities. The specific tow rating varies by trim, but on the base level, your 2023 Pathfinder S can tow up to 3,500 pounds.3 But, other Pathfinder trims will boost that tow rating to a whopping 6,000 pounds,3 so you can bring just about any toys or gear imaginable on your next adventure.

Do Ford Explorers have a lot of problems?

According to, the Ford Explorer has a 3.5 out of 5.0 rating for reliability,6 33 reported problems,7 and an average annual maintenance cost of $732,7 Compare this to the Nissan Pathfinder, which has an average annual maintenance cost of $5428 (a much lower price than the segment average8), and no currently-reported problems9 according to

Is the Nissan Pathfinder a reliable car?

A Nissan Pathfinder is a rugged, dependable SUV companion that will treat you to satisfying drives for years to come. Past models have earned great reliability ratings from industry experts, and for 2023 especially, the model's new generation of durable construction and reliable engineering takes all that even further. With reporting a lower-than-average average annual maintenance cost of $542,8 the Pathfinder is ready to please.

Which is better, the Explorer or the Pathfinder?

Better is a complex term to define when it comes to vehicles. Both offer plenty of great SUV attributes, but the Pathfinder can offer more. When you're looking for ultra-advanced off-road abilities, a stronger towing capacity, a quieter interior, more standard features for the price, and several other attributes (like higher MPG potential), the Pathfinder will be your "better" choice over an Explorer.

12023 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates. Actual mileage may vary with driving conditions. Use for comparison only.

2EPA-estimated city/hwy mpg for the model indicated. See for fuel economy of other engine/transmission combinations. Actual mileage will vary. On plug-in hybrid models and electric models, fuel economy is stated in MPGe. MPGe is the EPA equivalent measure of gasoline fuel efficiency for electric mode operation.

3Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped. Towing capacity varies by configuration. See Nissan Towing Guide and Owner's Manual for additional information.

4Max towing varies based on cargo, vehicle configuration, accessories and number of passengers.

5Reference to this third-party claim is solely for informational purposes and not to be relied upon. For details regarding this claim, visit:

6Reference to this third-party claim is solely for informational purposes and not to be relied upon. For details regarding this rating, visit:

7Reference to this third-party claim is solely for informational purposes and not to be relied upon. For details regarding this rating, visit:

8Reference to this third-party claim is solely for informational purposes and not to be relied upon. For details regarding this rating, visit:

9Reference to this third-party claim is solely for informational purposes and not to be relied upon. For details regarding this rating, visit:

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