By on February 5, 2019

Image: Nissan

Subaru may have shacked up with outdoorwear maker LL Bean a while back, but Nissan’s new Rock Creek Edition Pathfinder looks ready to mount kayaks to its roof rack, stop for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s, visit the college-age daughter in Burlington, then head into the mountains for rugged, ecologically sound adventures. Then, a safe return home to work on that dissertation.

Maybe it’s this midsize crossover’s unique Midnight Pine paint that conjures up images of 1990s New England stereotypes, but can you blame this writer for thinking it? Look at the thing.

So, what does a paddle up Rock Creek do for the owners of this 2019 vehicle?

First off, it gets you that paint color, plus three other shades unique to the special edition. Midnight Pine looks best when contrasted with the tan/beige cladding and should have strangers asking if it’s a Subaru. The 18-inch wheels don a lustrous shade of black, with machined surfaces adding a bit of brightwork.

Also going dark on this particular vehicle are the grille mesh, bumper accents, door handles, roof rack and crossbars, and side mirrors. The two-tone motif continues inside, with dual-color leather seating and high-contrast stitching galore. A tow hitch and harness comes standard on all Rock Creeks, with (up to) 6,000 pounds of tugging capacity provided by the 3.5-liter V6 and Xtronic transmission.

Output for the lone mill stands at 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft.

Offered on two- or four-wheel-drive Pathfinders of SV or SL trim, the Rock Creek Edition package warrants a $995 outlay for U.S. buyers; Nissan calls it a $1,315 value, given the package’s contents. Standard fare includes automatic emergency braking and the brand’s rear door alert system.

Should you desire more convenience and safety, Nissan offers two packages: a technology one ($980) than brings aboard NissanConnect with Navigation, plus Sirius XM and heated seats and mirrors, and a premium one ($2,110), which delivers 13-speaker Bose audio and a panoramic moonroof.

Canadian buyers have access to an identical model that only differs from its American counterpart in terms of price.

Introduced in 2013 as a 2014 model, Nissan’s current-generation Pathfinder faces no shortage of competition from other three-row crossovers; the Rock Creek Edition’s job as an individualist perk is to lure fence-sitters into showrooms. Pathfinder sales sank 16.7 percent in the U.S. last year as Nissan slashed incentives across the board, with January volume showing a slight decline (-0.3 percent) over the previous January’s tally.

[Image: Nissan]

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21 Comments on “No, It’s Not a Windbreaker – It’s the 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition...”

  • avatar

    Also as standard are views of the hanging down exhaust from several angles, and the annoying divets Nissan puts in wheel arch cladding to match the Titan.


  • avatar

    Remember when Pathfinder was kind of cool like the 4-Runner? Nissan sold the Pathfinder out a long time ago and this Rock Creek will not get it’s cred back

  • avatar

    Look, it’s the Eddie Bauer edition!

  • avatar

    Looks like its heeling to port while standing still. Ammo for the #HighCoGbad crowd.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Oh Boy! Another SUV!!!!! Goody…goody goody! zzzzzzz!

    Will the market for these ever soften?

  • avatar

    At least they didn’t call it the “Chilkoot II”, after the late-1990s Pathfinder special edition which actually had some off-road DNA in spite of its unibody construction.

  • avatar

    Nissan: Still phoning it in.

  • avatar
    Kosher Polack

    Is this the highest-towing-capacity CVT on the market?

    I don’t want one, but I do want to take one apart to see however that’s supposed to be accomplished…

  • avatar

    “Hello, Ethan. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves maintaining the pretense of adventurism you imagined you had in your youth. Taking any one of your team members, affix a brand-new kayak to the rook rack of your Rock Creek Edition Pathfinder and make a brief appearance at Ben and Jerry’s in an effort to establish your identities, before travelling to Burlington to visit your daughter. Following this, you’re to head into the mountains to receive your assignment. As always, should you or any member of your team be caught or killed, Nissan will disavow all knowledge of this marketing campaign and any warranties. This transmission will self-destruct in 5 seconds.”

    • 0 avatar

      …and that’s why I have a hard time recommending a Nissan vehicle equipped with the CVT. Sis is looking to replace her 2011 Explorer (currently zeroing in on the Mazda CX-9, with the Highlander running second, potentially the Edge ST as third). I’ve driven the new Pathfinder. The interior looks outclassed and the driving dynamics were, um, meh. Couple that with the fear of having to completely replace a CVT for several grand down the road, and I just can’t add the Nissans (Murano or Pathfinder) to the list.

  • avatar

    Looks ready for anything BUT…finding paths.

  • avatar

    Nice looking car . . . but it doesn’t seem to be much more than an appearance package. I’d like to see a crossover that’s rugged enough to handle some moderate off-roading. It needs to be big enough for my family of six. the big BOF suvs are too expensive. So I settled for an Acadia which is great for general family transport. But when I’m camping with the family it would be nice to have a little more ground clearance and maybe even a lightweight skid plate underneath. If Nissan really wants to compete with Subaru and Jeep for the off-road/crossover market, they need to do more than just make it look rugged.

  • avatar

    Sadly, given Nissan’s CVT track record you stand a good chance of being up the creek (without a paddle) but it won’t be Rock Creek. It’ll be the other one.

    Rock Creek, by the way, winds it’s way through the wilds of northwest Washington, DC – right next to the National Zoo. How’s that for the rugged outdoors?

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