The Dodge Durango and Nissan Pathfinder are two of the top three-row SUVs in the market. Let’s take a look at how these two models stack up for 2015 in terms of features, power, fuel economy, safety, resale value and passenger and cargo space.
The Durango first debuted in 1997 but it has been on a recent upswing. In January 2014, Chrysler reported that sales of the Durango were up 22 percent compared to January 2013. In August 2014, the model won a Motor Trend six vehicle comparison among three-row SUV models.
The Durango comes in five trim lines: the SXT, Limited, Citadel, R/T, and SRT8 with a base starting price of about $30,000 but like the Pathfinder, the $40,000 price point is more common with added options. While the Durango is built on the same platform as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and has a unibody construction, it’s still the heaviest model in its class.
The current generation of the Pathfinder came out as a 2013 model . While many of its models have seen a sales up-tick in recent years, the Pathfinder hasn’t been a strong performer of late for Nissan. But this doesn’t mean the Pathfinder is chopped liver. The model finished third in the aforementioned Motor Trend comparison, behind the Durango and Highlander.
Power & Towing
The Durango has a definite edge in power over the Pathfinder. It’s base V-6 produces 290 horsepower, while the Pathfinder’s produces only 260 horsepower, which is sub-par for the class. The Durango also has quicker acceleration and greater towing capacity of 6,200 pounds, compared to just 5,000 pounds in the Pathfinder.
The Durango also offers the most powerful engine in the class with the 5.7-liter 360 horsepower V-8 option. The Hemi engine boosts it to a 7,400 pound towing capacity.
For 2015, Nissan has revised its Continuously Variable Transmission which has improved the Pathfinder’s fuel economy to best-in-class. The Pathfinder has an edge of 2-mpg better than the Durango with a fuel economy rating of 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway without four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder Hybrid does even better with a fuel economy rating of 25-mpg city and 28-mpg highway.
Passenger Space and Comfort
The Pathfinder offers a spacious second row of seats that move forward and back 5-1/2 inches. This allows for easy access to the third-row and good leg room. The third row of seats recline offering comforting for those in the back.
The Durango is spacious inside and has a unique, handy feature in the class; a rear-hatch close button inside the cargo area.
Even with all three rows of seats in use, the Pathfinder can still fit up to 16-cubic feet of cargo space. With the third row down it goes up to 47 and with both the second and third rows downs, it goes up to 79.8 cubic feet. While this is spacious, it is below average for the class. The Pathfinder also has a large floor storage space to keep valuable out of sight.
In comparison, the Durango’s cargo space figures are 17.2/47.7 and 84.5.
Safety & Resale
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety awarded the Pathfinder a five-star crash rating while the Durango scored a four-star rating. The Pathfinder historically has had a higher resale value than the Durango.
The Durango wins in power, towing, and size while the Pathfinder prevails in fuel economy, safety, and resale value. Choosing between the 2015 Durango and 2015 Pathfinder ultimately comes down to your preferences as a driver and family needs.
If you want the larger amount of space, more powerful engine, and more of a traditional large SUV feel go with the Durango. If you want a more nimble and fuel-efficient crossover, the Pathfinder is a solid choice.