If you're shopping for family-style comfort and rugged utility, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer will make you feel like you've struck gold. These modern, three-row crossovers are exactly what big families need to tow the family boat and road-trip in style. But which is the better model? Our comparison guide is here to sort you out.
Passenger Space & Comfort: It's a Tie!
If comfort is your only criteria, you've got a tough choice in front of you. You'll find three rows of cushy, supportive seating in both the Nissan Pathfinder and the Ford Explorer. Both crossovers are also known for their smooth, compliant rides. Moreover, the Pathfinder and the Explorer suppress wind and road noise to bring you two luxuriously quiet cabins.
Max Towing: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder
If your boat is on the bigger side, you're going to need the Pathfinder to get it to your beach of choice. Properly equipped, the Pathfinder tows up to 6,000 pounds. And, on that note, the Pathfinder also offers four-wheel drive to help you navigate rugged trails without a hitch.
If your Explorer features one of the V6 engines, your SUV can tow up to 5,000 pounds. With the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, that figure drops to 3,000 pounds. Either way, the Explorer can heft a lighter boat or a couple of Jet Skis to your favorite drop-off point. Unlike the Pathfinder, which offers rugged four-wheel drive, the Explorer gives you the option of all-wheel drive. This technology was less designed for the off-road than for increasing safety on wet pavement.
Thriftiest Ride: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder
In addition to its impressive utility, the Nissan Pathfinder helps you get around with maximum fuel economy. Depending on powertrain configuration, this three-row crossover earns up to 20 city/27 highway mpg. The Explorer follows close behind with 19/27 mpg. However, drivers should note that the Explorer earns this rating with its turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, which reduces towing capabilities.
Best Crash Tests and Safety Lineup: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder
In the end, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is our overall favorite. In addition to supplying roomy comfort for big families, the Pathfinder bests the competition in terms of tow ratings, fuel economy, and standard safety features. Visit Swope Nissan to test drive the Pathfinder yourself and see what all the fuss is about.