Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2017 Ford Explorer VS 2017 Nissan Pathfinder Near Surprise, AZ

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2017 Ford Explorer

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VS

2017 Nissan Pathfinder

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 1 point, IIHS rates the frontal crash prevention system optional in the Explorer as “Basic.” The Pathfinder scores zero, and is rated by the IIHS as having no effective frontal crash prevention.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Explorer and the Pathfinder have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford Explorer is safer than the Nissan Pathfinder:

 

Explorer

Pathfinder

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

73

114

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

214 lbs.

457 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

41 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

18 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The Explorer has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the Explorer’s reliability will be 134% better than the Pathfinder.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 6 more horsepower (290 vs. 284) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 81 more horsepower (365 vs. 284) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 259) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:

 

Explorer

Pathfinder

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12.13 inches

The Explorer stops shorter than the Pathfinder:

 

Explorer

Pathfinder

 

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Pathfinder (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18). The Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (255/50R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The Explorer Base/XLT’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Explorer’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Pathfinder.

The Explorer Sport 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Explorer Limited 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 (27.7 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.8 vs. 7 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has .6 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear hip room, .6 inches more rear shoulder room and 2.6 inches more third row legroom than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pathfinder.

 

Explorer

Pathfinder

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

42.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

79.8 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the Pathfinder’s in almost every dimension:

 

Explorer

Pathfinder

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

19.7”/49”/79.8”

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

Max Width

48”

45.9”

Height

45.5”

31.4”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Explorer’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pathfinder’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s rear windows don’t close automatically.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Explorer has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Explorer offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard SYNC AppLink for the Explorer allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Explorer owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Explorer with a number “5” insurance rate while the Pathfinder is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the Pathfinder because it costs $531 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Explorer than the Pathfinder, including $16 less for front brake pads, $59 less for a starter, $101 less for fuel injection and $45 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by over three to one during the 2016 model year.

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