Greene Ford Compares 2016 Ford Explorer VS 2015 Nissan Pathfinder Near Cumming, GA

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2016 Ford Explorer

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VS

2015 Nissan Pathfinder

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The Pathfinder doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Ford Explorer has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Explorer has standard SYNC ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Explorer and the Pathfinder 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, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (280 vs. 260) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 30 more horsepower (290 vs. 260) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (255 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 105 more horsepower (365 vs. 260) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 240) than the Pathfinder’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Pathfinder:

Explorer

Pathfinder

Front Rotors

13.85 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

12.13 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the Pathfinder (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R18). The Explorer’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pathfinder (255/50R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The Explorer Base/XLT’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pathfinder S/SV/SL’s standard 65 series tires. The Explorer’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Pathfinder Platinum’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Pathfinder’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Pathfinder.

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pathfinder (7.8 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has .6 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, .7 inches more rear hip room, .6 inches more rear shoulder room and 2.6 inches more third row legroom than the Pathfinder.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the Pathfinder.

Explorer

Pathfinder

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

42.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

79.8 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the Pathfinder’s in almost every dimension:

Explorer

Pathfinder

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

19.7”/49”/79.8”

19.2”/43.7”/78.9”

Max Width

48”

45.9”

Min Width

40”

45.4”

Height

45.5”

31.4”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Explorer and the Pathfinder have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Explorer is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pathfinder prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Explorer’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Pathfinder’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Explorer’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Pathfinder S’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Explorer’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Explorer has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pathfinder S.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Explorer offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pathfinder offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Standard SYNC AppLink for the Explorer allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Explorer, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Nissan doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the Pathfinder S.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT/Sport)’s optional Enhanced Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Pathfinder doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Nissan Pathfinder by almost three to one during 2014.

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