The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Was Long Overdue: First Drive

The only issue with this is that the Rock Creek really struggled to maintain a speed of less than 6 mph on the off-road trail, which is required to maintain the surround-view camera’s automatic activation. It would have been wonderful to be able to creep a little more slowly in Sand mode with less effort, even though this wouldn’t be a problem on harsher trails. The display may swap between various camera perspectives for terrain that is more difficult.

In contrast to some competitors’ systems, this one has seven drive modes that are activated by a knob and have cute drawings. Sand mode turned on the off-road camera system and significantly increased grip on the trail. For everyday driving and to add a little additional zip, choose Standard or Sport. The menu’s other items include Eco, Snow, Mut/Rut, and Tow. For the selected terrain, each mode modifies the 4WD torque dynamic, steering weight, stability control, and throttle responsiveness.

If you don’t use hill descent control frequently, it can be nerve-racking even if it theoretically allows the driver to unwind briefly after reaching a peak. Even when you cognitively know that an SUV would perform better than you, it nonetheless causes anxiety to allow it to drive down a hill on its own. Noting that the Rock Creek’s application of the feature is the same is not a criticism.

Rock Creek Front Seats
Pathfinder Rock Creek Steering Wheel
Pathfinder Rock Creek Storage
Pathfinder Rock Creek Cabin

Where does it leave us, then? With an MSRP of $42,820, it falls squarely in the middle of this year’s Pathfinder selection. Keep in mind that includes 4-wheel drive, which adds $1,900 to the price of every other Pathfinder variant.

The base Pathfinder S and SV models, which start at roughly $35,000 and $39,000, respectively, are adequate for what they are, especially in light of the extensive list of safety features. However, once you see the Rock Creek, you won’t see much point in spending a little more for the SL level or a lot more for a Platinum unless you absolutely want leather seats, wireless Apple CarPlay, and the rest of the gizmos. A Pathfinder would not be your greatest option in such situation.

There are some hints as to how Nissan managed to keep the price fair. The hard plastic used throughout, while clearly serving its purpose, is nonetheless hard plastic, which is the most affordable way to make a storage cubby tough and long-lasting. Although the front passenger’s seat can be adjusted manually, the driver’s seat has power support. These grievances, though, are modest. The Rock Creek would be difficult to sell at any price point higher than that, but even if more upmarket and pricey Pathfinder variants are actually pretty damn nice inside, they kind of miss the point.


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