Read the manual closely. It is purposefully misleading so they can market the "Best in Class TC capacity" statement, ONLY.. There Bragging rights and the numbers do not add up nor is there common sense to it. You are right in thinking if it seems to good to be true, IT IS NOT. You cannot pull a 5000-6000 travel trailer with a PF, safely in almost all cases! Nor will you have a "
when properly equipped" vehicle from the factory according to NISSAN HO to tow 6000LBS.
BTW, the 2017 TC is only 5000LBS. Nissan quietly published an addendum to the owners manual that states the change in TC back to 5000 and a GCVR of 10,000. This is still true even though people keep referring to the marketing info that was published previously. It is the same vehicle as the QX60. Max TC is still 5000LBS.....and that is not practicle for a travel trailer in some conditions(Like trying to bring your family in the vehcle with you....with lugage). It may be ok for short trips to a campsite, or for a nicely tucked in aerodynamic an boat!
The 2019 and the previous years owners manual states clearly
A weight-distributing hitch system (Class IV) is recommended if you plan to tow trailers with a maximum weight over 5,000 lbs.(2,268 kg).
Nissan does not sell a Class VI hitch for the pathfinder! It does for the Titan.
I called Nissan and pushed them for a legal answer to what they support. At first they kept referring to the manual, then I pushed it to legal and said their manual was publishing inconsistencies. They were just arbitrary facts that the consumer was drawing their own conclusions on. The final outcome from Nissan engineering and legal was The Pathfinder with the Uni-body frame does not support WDH's because it is not structurally capable.
It is unfortunate that people keep throwing out that TC # like it is just that easy. The problem is that the audience often is uninformed and doesn't know that there are many more factors to consider that just that TC#, like GCVR which makes the concept of towing a 6000LB trailer behind a PF almost impossible, by spec.
Consider this when you see TC .... You go to the gym and the most you can lift and carry around a track is a 150lb 3' log with a handle. They put a tag on your shirt that says LC is 150LBS. Someone shows you a 150lb 7'x10' piece of plywood on the floor and asks you to pick it up and walk to the other end of the room with it and back.. A travel trailer wind resistance matters as much as weight.
You might be able to pick it up, but it will be a struggle and unsafe! That is exactly how the spec is determined and exactly how people are applying it when they focus only on the TC of the PF. Understanding how vehicle manufactures determine TC, like the towing sled they use does not correlate to towing a travel trailer and that needs to be considered. Also part of the spec is that it is a stock vehicle with a ~170LB driver inside only. All getting down to what professional drivers already know. There is a lot more to this that ringing off any one spec.
The pathfinder is a great family vehicle. It is not a truck for towing a 21 travel trailer just because it's dry weight of 5500LB is less than the 6000LB TC. That is not how it goes....
Here is a great read, and should be the go to answer when people ask ..."So what is the real towing capacity of my pathfinder", so that it reduces disappointment and increases safety.
This link will provide you with good information to help you make the right decision on what size travel trailer would be good to pull behind your pathfinder.
The recommendation for a vehicle like the pathfinder is a travel trailer that is between 3000-3500 Dry Weight.
How much can I really tow?
Many people recommend giving yourself a buffer on the max tow weight. If your truck can tow 5,000 pounds your trailer should not exceed 4,000 pounds. This is to keep you safe in case you encounter any wind or weather that would require a little extra power.
There are also other factors besides the weight that will limit how big of trailer a car can tow. Those include the max tongue weight, how many passengers will be in the car and will there be anything in trunk or bed while you’re towing. Elevation can also be a factor.
Hope that helps,
Here's the 2017 manual, link:
11k lbs GCVR,
6k lbs TC.
Black on white. Not 5k guys.
I am not going to propose to anyone to drive a travel trailer on the PF weighing 6k with a full family in the vehicle. You'd exceed your GCVR by about 500lbs (illegal, but do they really check for that? never heard of anything like that).
But someone could theoretically do it (get right to the 6k limit TC, and max out GCVR at 11k).
You'd sure be slow in ascents, and descents, and you'd sure have to know what you're doing.
I would assume that excludes a lot of people right off the bat. : )
I tow a 2.9k dry trailer with PF 2017 awd, and we are not reaching our GCVR (11k). We could possibly go heavier. But I wouldn't be able to go much higher. Based on my family, I could go to 4k ish, and that's it. But then you'd be at the absolute limit all the time. I am not saying that it would drive well in the ascents.
4k ish dry seems to be the upper limit, not 3k, on a 2017+ PF AWD.
YOU WOULD HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO TOW THIS KIND OF WEIGHT. TOWING IS DANGEROUS BY DEFINITION.
Now I just read the unibody idea not being able to withstand a Weight distribtion hitch past a certain lbs value... I have to investigate that. if it's true, that changes all that I just said...