2018 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L NISMO Review

2018 Nissan Pathfinder Road Test, Review

2018 nissan pathfinder ST-L nismo

The Nissan SUV range is one of the best available in Australia with the Pathfinder being a good option as a family car.

Now, in a break from tradition, there’s even a NISMO version of the Pathfinder for those who want to mix family with fun.

Based on the top-spec Nissan Pathfinder ST-L, the Nissan Pathfinder NISMO is priced from $56,425, that might seem a bit expensive, but as you’ll see below it does come (almost) fully stocked with goodies.


The Nissan Pathfinder name, to me, brings up images of the earlier generation Pathfinder that had a square and boxy type look and was very similar in styling to the Navara ute.

Today, things couldn’t be further away for the Nissan seven-seat SUV.

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder has rather flowing lines and barely a straight line to be seen. It fits in well as the big brother of attractive siblings such as QASHQAI and X-Trail.

Is it to everyone’s taste? Perhaps not, but we’ll leave that up to you.

As you can see, NISMO enhancements include the black 20″ alloy wheels and chrome-replacing black styling treatment on the grille and around the front fog lights etc.

2018 nissan pathfinder st-l nismo interiorInterior

As mentioned, this is the flagship model in the range and that is evident as soon as you open the Pathfinder doors.

There’s leather interior and big twin sunroofs (only the front one opens), as well as a large infotainment screen.

The Nissan Pathfinder offers good legroom in rows one and two, the third row, like just about every other seven-seat SUV available, is limited and is best left to youngsters.

A tick though for reasonably decent room behind the third row of seats when they’re in operation.

The fit and finish throughout is generally very good and the cabin storage areas are generally well-sized.

A slightly softer covering on the centre console arm rest would be a nice addition – evident after a long stint behind the wheel of the Nissan SUV.

The infotainment system is decent, programming the sat-nav is easy and the sound system works nicely.

Unfortunately there’s no digital radio, no Apple CarPlay and no Android Auto in the Pathfinder ST-L NISMO.

There is however a really welcome birds eye view camera system that makes maneuvering the Pathfinder at slow speeds a breeze.

The gauges ahead of the driver are clear and simple, however there’s no digital speedo option on the centre driver info screen.

Thick A pillars take some getting used to and there’s a rather odd assortment of buttons down low and to the right of the steering wheel.

Covering controls such as the blind spot monitoring, these buttons are nearly impossible to decipher from the driver’s seat.

Rear air-conditioning controls and a power outlet are good touches, but there’s no rear screen for the kids.

And you might also be slightly turned-off by the foot operated parking brake.


As mentioned, and perhaps not surprisingly, Nissan’s Pathfinder ST-L NISMO is well stocked.

You get:

  • Heated front seats
  • 13 speaker stereo
  • Power adjustable steering wheel position control
  • Around-view camera system
  • Push button ignition
  • Key in pocket central locking
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Sat-nav
  • Halogen headlights
  • Window tint
  • Twin sunroof

What’s missing? The aforementioned digital radio and smartphone integration, as well as an electric tailgate.

2018 nissan pathfinder rear seatDrive and Engine

The 2018 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L NISMO comes just with the engine on offer – Nissan’s 3.5 litre V6 petrol unit.

This is mated to a single-speed CVT automatic and drives just the front wheels.

Naturally-aspirated V6 engines can be a bit thirsty and that is the case with the Pathfinder. Expect to use over 13 litres in the city, on the highway you’ll likely see about 10 litres per 100.

The engine though is willing and the CVT works well enough to give you a smooth drive experience with good acceleration.

There’s a power to weight ratio here of 102.9, this is below that of the Pathfinder ST-L’s biggest rival, Toyota’s Kluger Grande at 111.2.

While the V6-powered Kia Sorento GT-Line is also ahead with a power to weight ratio of 109.9.

The Mazda CX-9 Azami though, now powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, is behind the Nissan at 93.7.

Despite the 20″ wheels and relatively low-profile tyres the Nissan offering rides along nicely and has decent handling too.


As mentioned, Nissan’s seven-seat SUV gets AEB as standard and there’s a five-star ANCAP safety too.

Good Bits

  • Interior space
  • Interior comfort
  • V6 performance

No So Good Bits

  • Lacks a few features like an auto tailgate
  • V6 engine can be thirsty
  • Foot-operated park brake could be a turn-off

2018 nissan pathfinder st-l nismo side and rearSummary

There’s plenty of competition in the seven-seat SUV market and that’s great news for buyers.

Nissan’s offering is worth a test-drive as it is a good mix of being family-friendly and having quite good driving dynamics/character.

It is also quite car-like to drive, rather than being big, bulky and cumbersome.

As mentioned (and not necessary particular to Pathfinder) the V6 can be a bit thirsty and you can’t help but feel a couple of those missing features should be in a top-spec model like this.

Still, the Nissan seven-seat SUV is very competitively priced and this could tip the scales for you.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L NISMO

  • Engine: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 202kW/340Nm
  • Transmission: Single-speed CVT
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
  • Origin: United States
  • Price: from $56,425

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