The 2024 Nissan Pathfinder and 2024 Volkswagen Atlas are midsize SUVs with three rows of seating and the lofty driving position car shoppers love. Each can be had in front- or all-wheel drive format, depending on whether you prioritize better fuel economy or added grip in slippery conditions. 

Still fresh from a total redesign for the 2022 model year, the Pathfinder is fitted with a 3.5-liter V6 that gives it excellent towing capability if that’s what you need from your sport-ute. 

Meanwhile, the Atlas gets a midcycle refresh that updates the exterior styling, adds more standard comfort touches, and sees a single new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine replace the previous model’s choice of a 4-cylinder or optional V6.  

Let’s take a closer look at the Nissan Pathfinder and Volkswagen Atlas.

2024 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2024 Pathfinder has a starting price of $37,470, including the factory-to-dealer destination fee. There are now five trims to choose from: S, SV, SL, Rock Creek, and Platinum. 

Standard on the entry-level Pathfinder S is an 8-inch touchscreen, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, four USB ports, and tri-zone climate control. 

Pony up the $51,290 asking price of the Pathfinder Platinum, and you get 20-inch alloys, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a panoramic moonroof, head-up instrument display, and 13-speaker Bose audio system.

Nissan Pathfinder Highlights 

Surround-view camera system: People love the added stretch-out space and cargo capacity of a typical SUV. Yet most of us can live without the hassle that comes with squeezing one into snug parking spots. Helping alleviate this common complaint is a surround-view parking camera, which is standard on the Pathfinder SV and higher trims. 

Stowable second-row console: A removable center console resides between the Pathfinder’s optional second-row captain’s chairs. Need more cargo space? Well, here’s your solution. Prefer easier access to the third row? Remove that console and stow it in a storage nook under the rear cargo floor, and off you go. This is a convenient and clever way to customize the interior space. 

Great for towing: When properly equipped, the Pathfinder has a maximum tow rating of 6,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds more than the Atlas’ best. 

Fatigue-reducing ProPilot Assist: Standard beginning on the SV trim, ProPilot Assist is a semi-autonomous driving aid that keeps the Pathfinder centered in its lane of travel and manages acceleration, braking, and safe gaps between surrounding vehicles.  

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Pathfinder models for sale near you. 

2024 Volkswagen Atlas

2024 Volkswagen Atlas SEL in red with hills in the background.

The updated 2024 Volkswagen Atlas has a starting price of $39,420, including the destination fee. Adding all-wheel drive to the base model costs an additional $1,900, equal to Nissan’s charge for upgrading the Pathfinder to AWD. In total, the Atlas is offered in six trims, and its price is competitive with not only the Pathfinder but also other rival midsize 3-row SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, and Ford Explorer. 

A range-topping Atlas SEL Premium R-Line with AWD commands $54,315 and includes bells and whistles like upmarket leather seating, a surround-view camera, black exterior trim, 21-inch alloys, and a Harman Kardon stereo. 

Volkswagen Atlas Highlights 

Spacious seating: The Atlas is one of the roomiest midsize SUVs in its class. It has more than enough headroom and legroom for adults seated in all three rows. Its 33.7 inches of third-row legroom is about five inches more than the Pathfinder’s rearmost seats offer. 

Expansive infotainment screen: Newly added for the 2024 model year is a 12-inch touchscreen positioned prominently in the center of the dash. Wireless smartphone connectivity and six USB-C ports are all included. It’s complemented by a configurable 10.25-inch digital instrument display, too.

Loads of cargo space: We pointed out that Atlas holds an edge over the Pathfinder when it comes to legroom. It also wins when comparing trunk space behind the third-row seats. You get 20.6 cubic feet in the VW versus 16.6 cubic feet in the Nissan.

Punchy turbocharged engine: Volkswagen simplified the Atlas by replacing the outgoing model’s two engine choices. In their place is a turbocharged 4-cylinder with more torque and better fuel economy than the outgoing optional V6.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Atlas models for sale near you. 


There is plenty of overlap when comparing the Pathfinder and Atlas. In terms of pricing and feature content, these two perform admirably and have similar degrees of straight-line performance and ride comfort. Fuel mileage is also a toss-up; each vehicle returns an EPA-rated 23 mpg combined in a mix of city and highway driving. They even both score Top Safety Pick+ status, the highest rating available, in crash and safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).


If you need adult-friendly rear seating and lots of cargo space to boot, the Volkswagen Atlas takes the easy win. It simply has more space inside than the Pathfinder. Yet we do love Nissan’s creative removable second-row console and its sliding middle seats. 

Let’s also not forget the Pathfinder’s Rock Creek trim has a toughened-up suspension for off-road travels, plus it uncorks the Nissan’s maximum tow rating. If you’re fine keeping the third-row seats strictly for little tykes, the midsize SUV pendulum swings back in favor of the more affordable Nissan. 

  2024 Nissan Pathfinder  2024 Volkswagen Atlas
Starting Price  $37,470 $39,420
Popular Powertrains      
Engine  3.5-liter V6 Turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower  284 hp @ 6,400 rpm 269 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque  259 lb-ft @ 4,900 rpm 273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
Transmission  9-speed automatic    8-speed automatic 
Fuel economy MPG 20 city/27 highway/23 combined 20 city/27 highway/23 combined 
Also Available  295-hp 3.5-liter V6 (Rock Creek), AWD AWD
Basic Warranty  3 years/36,000 miles  4 years/50,000 miles 
Powertrain Warranty  5 years/60,000 miles  4 years/50,000 miles 
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5-Star  5-Star
Max Seating Capacity  8
Wheelbase  114.2 inches  117.3 inches 
Overall Length  197.7 inches  200.7 inches 
Width  77.9 inches  78.3 inches 
Height  70.9 inches  70.4 inches 
Turning Diameter  38.7 feet  40.5 feet 
Headroom, Front  42.3 inches 41.3 inches 
Headroom, 2nd Row  39.6 inches  40.4 inches 
Headroom, 3rd Row 37.8 inches 38.3 inches
Legroom, Front  44.3 inches  41.7 inches 
Legroom, 2nd Row  35.5 inches  37.6 inches
Legroom, 3rd Row  28.0 inches 33.7 inches 
Shoulder Room, Front  60.8 inches  61.5 inches 
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row  59.6 inches 60.8 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row 58.4 inches 54.9 inches 
Cargo Volume  16.6 cubic feet   20.6 cubic feet 

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