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Crossover SUV Comparison: 2020 Nissan Pathfinder Vs 2020 Ford Explorer

Crossover SUV Comparison: 2020 Nissan Pathfinder Vs 2020 Ford Explorer

If you're shopping for a new mid-size crossover SUV that boasts three rows of seating for your family, then you've likely considered popular choices like the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. Both of these crossover SUVs provide space for up to seven occupants as well as flexible cabins that can also hold lots of cargo, thanks to split-folding seats.

The 2020 Nissan Pathfinder has arrived, and so has Ford's 2020 Explorer, so now seems like a good time to compare the latest versions of these versatile three-row SUVs. The Ford Explorer may be all-new for the 2020 model year, but with more and more advanced Nissan technologies being added as available or standard on the Nissan Pathfinder every year, the 2020 Pathfinder remains a smart choice!

We've compiled a detailed comparison of these two mid-size crossover SUVs so that drivers and families can determine which is the better buy for their unique needs, preferences and budget. With two fine vehicles such as these, the decision may come down to factors like price, seating capacity, cargo room and desired technology features, so check out how these Nissan and Ford SUVs compare below before planning any test drives.

Let's first go over some of the main areas where the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder and Ford's 2020 Explorer differ.

Key Differences Between the 2020 Pathfinder & Explorer Models

At first glance, these two mid-size SUVs may seem more similar than different, but there are plenty of aspects that separate the Nissan and the Ford. We've mentioned that the 2020 Ford Explorer is all-new, and with that comes a dramatic shift from a front-wheel drive platform to a more traditional rear-wheel drive platform. While the current Nissan Pathfinder and the previous-generation Ford Explorer both offered a more crossover-like front-wheel drive architecture, the 2020 Explorer reverts to a more traditional SUV rear-drive layout.

When it comes to offering a smooth ride and predictable traction, drivers may prefer the Nissan Pathfinder for its front-wheel drivetrain, with all-wheel drive optional. Ford's 2020 Explorer may be the more capable performer in some aspects thanks to its sportier rear-drive architecture, but if sportiness isn't your main criteria in a family-hauling three-row crossover SUV, then Nissan's Pathfinder may be the smarter choice.

While both of these SUVs are offered with power routed to all four wheels via advanced all-wheel drive systems, keep in mind that if you opt for one of these models with the standard 2WD layout, the Nissan will provide better grip and more predictable handling when the road turns slick!

There are more differences to consider when shopping the 2020 Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer lineup, which we'll touch on later. But first, we encourage SUV shoppers to look over the comparison table below for more information.


2020 Nissan Pathfinder

2020 Ford Explorer


Nissan Pathfinder S

Ford Explorer XLT


3.5-liter V6

2.3-liter Turbo I4


284 Horsepower

300 Horsepower

Fuel Economy

20 / 27

21 / 28

Fuel Tank Capacity

19 Gallons

19 Gallons

Front Headroom



Basic Warranty

36 Months
36,000 Miles

36 Months
36,000 Miles

Standard Drive Type

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)


  • Available Features On The Pathfinder
  • Intelligent 4x4
  • Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • Intelligent Lane Intervention
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Intelligent Around View Monitor
  • Apple CarPlay™
  • Intelligent Forward Collision Warning
  • 8" Touchscreen Display
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Available Features On The Explorer
  • Intelligent 4WD
  • Terrain Management System
  • Twin-Panel Moonroof
  • Cargo Management System
  • B&O Sound System with 14 Speakers
  • Wireless Charging
  • Lane-Keeping System
  • SYNC 3
  • E-Z Entry Second Row
  • Adaptive LED Lighting

Which Crossover SUV is Right for You?

You may have noticed some glaring differences in the above table regarding the 2020 base model editions of the Pathfinder and Explorer. For one, the Nissan is significantly more affordable when comparably equipped to the Ford. Whether shopping the base models detailed above, a mid-grade trim or the range-topping versions, you'll find that Ford's Explorer costs thousands of dollars more than a comparable 2020 Pathfinder. If you're looking to drive a spacious and high-tech new crossover or SUV without busting your budget, the Nissan could be the one for you!

Both of these three-row models offer seating for up to seven passengers, but only one of them comes standard with that capacity. Every version of Nissan's 2020 Pathfinder gets seven-passenger seating; Ford's Explorer XLT starts with room for just six, with an upgrade needed to reach that seven-seat configuration.

As you shop and compare the various trim levels available, you'll discover that the Pathfinder boasts six versions to the Explorer's four. Similar convenience features, safety systems and driver-assist technologies are offered, which makes the Pathfinder's much-lower price even that more impressive!

Take your time comparing these two crossover SUVs online; then, when you're ready, stop by your local Nissan dealership to tour and test drive the 2020 Pathfinder.

Tour & Test Drive the New Pathfinder near Atlanta, GA

Crossover and SUV shoppers around Atlanta, GA, can turn to Sutherlin Nissan Mall of Georgia for access to the versatile 2020 Nissan Pathfinder. We carry the entire new Nissan lineup for you to explore online or on-site, and we've made many of our shopping tools available right here on our website. Here's your chance to get pre-qualified for financing or view current Nissan lease offers before arriving for that test drive!

Our full-service new and used car dealership in Buford, Georgia, specializes in all things Nissan, so don't hesitate to contact us or visit us from the nearby Johns Creek area for more information on any of our quality new and pre-owned Nissan vehicles, or our other automotive services!