Childre Nissan Compares 2016 Nissan Pathfinder VS 2016 Ford Explorer Near Macon, GA

Responsive image

2016 Nissan Pathfinder

Responsive image

2016 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 (except S/SV) offers an optional 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, 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:



Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

3 cm

13 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

15 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

2.3/.1 kN

3.7/2.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



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:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

120 G’s

159 G’s

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

557 lbs.

713 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




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.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 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 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 60 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Nissan Pathfinder is faster than the Ford Explorer ECOBoost 2.0:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

84.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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





20 city/27 hwy

17 city/24 hwy




18 city/26 hwy

4 cyl./Auto


19 city/26 hwy

16 city/23 hwy



16 city/22 hwy

ECOBoost 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:



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 6.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Explorer (157.8 vs. 151.6).

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 operate 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.

Recommendations Comparison

The Nissan Pathfinder won three awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.

© 1991-2016 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. Who We Are
Click here to view the disclaimers, limitations and notices about EPA fuel mileage, crash tests, coprights, trademarks, and other issues.