2019 Honda Passport Elite AWD vs. 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition: A little bit country.
This week: Nissan Pathfinder.
Price: $44,455 as tested.
Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes the "solid value in this class, cushy cabin experience, notable 6,000-pound towing capacity," but not that it "drives more boat-like than it should, middling cargo storage, small third row."
Marketer's pitch: "Adventure, advanced."
Reality: I'd settle for better on-road handling.
What's new: The Rock Creek Edition is the big news of the model year. For 2020, not much will change.
Nissan writes: "The Rock Creek Edition name was chosen to connect the vehicle to Pathfinder's family outdoor adventure-minded target customers. The Rock Creek Edition name also connects to Pathfinder's proud rugged heritage."
I never put the Pathfinder to a toughness test, but people looking for the real thing will have found it. The model's intelligent four-wheel drive does offer a 4WD lock mode, as well as automatic and two-wheel drive modes. The SUV also tows up to 6,000 pounds, and the Rock Creek comes with a trailer hitch as standard. So it's a step above the Passport in that regard.
On the road: With Nissan's takeover of Renault -- stymied by the French government -- fresh in my mind as I drove, I kept going back to one of my favorite French phrases: rabat-joie, translated literally for me as "joy-stealer," but more like a spoilsport.