Ancira Nissan Compares 2017 Nissan Pathfinder VS 2017 Ford Explorer Near Austin, TX

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2017 Nissan Pathfinder

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VS

2017 Ford Explorer

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Pathfinder are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Ford Explorer doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle or rear seat belts.

The Pathfinder Platinum has standard Forward Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Explorer offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Pathfinder SL/Platinum has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Explorer only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Pathfinder and the Explorer 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 and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Nissan Pathfinder is safer than the Explorer:

 

Pathfinder

Explorer

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

MARGINAL

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

39

93

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

3 cm

13 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

15 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

2.3/.1 kN

3.7/2.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.52/.37

.87/.61

Tibia forces R/L

.8/.1 kN

2.2/.6 kN

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 Nissan Pathfinder is safer than the Ford Explorer:

 

Pathfinder

Explorer

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

159 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

101

144

Hip Force

557 lbs.

713 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

338

407

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

661 lbs.

909 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pathfinder the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 107 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Explorer was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 27th in reliability. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 31st.

Engine Comparison

The Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 4 more horsepower (284 vs. 280) than the Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. The Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 4 lbs.-ft. more torque (259 vs. 255) than the Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Pathfinder gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer:

 

 

Pathfinder

Explorer

 

2WD

n/a

19 city/27 hwy

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

3.5 V6/CVT

20 city/27 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

n/a

18 city/25 hwy

2.3 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

 

3.5 V6/CVT

19 city/26 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Pathfinder uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Explorer Sport/Platinum requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pathfinder has almost a gallon more fuel capacity than the Explorer (19.5 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pathfinder stops shorter than the Explorer:

 

Pathfinder

Explorer

 

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Pathfinder has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Explorer doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pathfinder’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the Explorer (114.2 inches vs. 112.8 inches).

For better maneuverability, the Pathfinder’s turning circle is .2 feet tighter than the Explorer Base/XLT/Limited’s (38.7 feet vs. 38.9 feet). The Pathfinder’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Explorer Sport’s (38.7 feet vs. 40 feet).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pathfinder has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Explorer (157.8 vs. 151.5).

The Pathfinder has .8 inches more front headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more third row hip room and 6.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Explorer.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pathfinder’s middle and third row seats recline. The Explorer’s third row seats don’t recline.

Ergonomics Comparison

If the front windows are left down on the Pathfinder the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Explorer can only raise the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pathfinder has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Explorer doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

When the Pathfinder SL/Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Explorer’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Pathfinder has a standard dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air-conditioning costs extra on the Explorer and isn’t available on the Explorer Base.

The Pathfinder’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Explorer Base doesn’t offer automatic air-conditioning.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pathfinder is less expensive to operate than the Explorer because typical repairs cost much less on the Pathfinder than the Explorer, including $539 less for a water pump, $291 less for an alternator, $178 less for a fuel pump, $103 less for front struts and $397 less for a power steering pump.

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