The 2020 Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder are formidable competitors, offering an impressive combo of family-style comfort and tow-friendly power. Which is right for you? Our comparison guide takes a look.
Cabin Space & Comfort: 2020 Ford Explorer
These three-row crossovers put family first, with plenty of room for your heads, legs, elbows, and carry-on items. As you climb both the Explorer and Pathfinder trim levels, you’ll enjoy increasing luxury, with options like leather upholstery, seat heaters, and driver-seat memory functions.
However, the Explorer is the biggest of the pair and therefore gives you a travel-friendly edge. Behind the rear seats, you can load 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space with your weekend bags. To haul larger items – like gardening supplies or moving boxes – you can fold down the second and third rows to create 87.8 cubes of maximum cargo space.
By comparison, the Pathfinder offers up to 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Folding down the second and third rows will create 79.5 cubic feet. As you can see, the Explorer is quite a bit roomier.
Ride Comfort: 2020 Ford Explorer
Besides the space you need for your family road trip, the Explorer gives you the ride comfort you crave. Ford’s three-row crossover is a smooth operator, with a suspension that soaks up bumps in the road like they’re not even there. Its powerful engine and smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission is another asset, getting you up to speed in style.
Because the Nissan Pathfinder suspension tuning is on the firmer side, the ride isn’t quite as refined. Even if it’s not as smooth as the Explorer, the Pathfinder is a close second place. This family-friendly crossover offers a pretty smooth ride, unless you choose the top-trim Platinum model. Its 20-inch wheels will help you feel just about every bump in the road.
Rugged Performance: 2020 Ford Explorer
The 2020 Explorer’s new rear-wheel-drive platform is a revelation. It improves handling and overall capabilities. Combined with the Explorer’s car-like, crossover-style unibody construction, you get the best of both worlds – sporty rear-wheel drive and car-like maneuverability. For extra traction on soft surfaces, like sand, or icy pavement, add all-wheel drive to any Explorer trim model.
Like other crossovers, the Pathfinder comes standard with front-wheel drive. That means it’s not as sporty as the Explorer, especially when you’re cruising on curvy roads and taking on tight corners. But the Pathfinder does offer all-wheel drive on every trim model. Add this optional performance gear for improved traction during winter weather.
Max Towing: 2020 Nissan Pathfinder
The Pathfinder gives you more towing potential. No matter which trim model you choose, the Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds. That’s good news for drivers with big toys, like boats and campers, at home. The 2020 Explorer is almost as capable. Ford’s three-row crossover can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The Nissan Pathfinder might have a little more muscle, but the newly redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer is our first choice. It’s the most refined choice, inside and out. We think you’ll agree that it’s the best crossover for your daily drive.