The Nissan Pathfinder returns to its design roots with an all-new model for 2022.
The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is all-new, launching this midsize three-row crossover’s fifth generation. With room for eight, an updated powertrain, and available off-road chops, the latest Pathfinder is more versatile than before.
Nissan offers the 2022 Pathfinder in four trims: S ($33,410), SV ($36,200), SL ($39,590), and Platinum ($46,190). Add $1,150 for the destination charge. The Pathfinder comes with standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive, the latter adds $1,900 to your cost.
The earliest Pathfinder vehicles were rugged off-roaders, underpinned by truck platforms designed to take a beating. This platform supported what’s now known as the Frontier pickup truck.
In 2012, Nissan switched to a car-based platform to present a more comfortable model that largely lost its off-road capabilities. The then-new Pathfinder also had a softer look, which some found a jarring change. Even with intermediary refreshes, the fourth-generation Pathfinder never regained its tough looks.
For 2022, Nissan went back to the drawing board and brought traditional design elements to the canvas. The look includes a more robust horse-collar grille topped by three slots, a look that hearkens to the original. Modern touches are evident too, including sweeping LED accent lights and futuristic headlamps. Nissan’s designers struck a balance between old and new. And it works.
Other exterior design elements include profile sculpting for a beefier look, C-pillar trim that also brings forth a reminder of past Pathfinders, and chrome and alloy trim on some models. From the rear, the wraparound LED taillamps and bumper cladding are new. We also noticed the “PATHFINDER” lettering is larger than before and sits beneath Nissan’s new logo design.
The roomy Pathfinder supplies space for eight with bench seating across all three rows. Optionally, swapping out the middle row seat for a pair of captain’s chairs may be worth the drop to seven-passenger capacity. Those chairs feature push-button activation – just one touch causes the seat to bend and move forward for ease of access to the third row.
We praise Nissan for designing an interior that’s clean and sophisticated. Generous use of soft-touch materials is apparent with hard plastics hidden below eye-level. The front seats are very comfortable with ample back, hip, and thigh support. There are lots of cubby places throughout the interior for squirreling away what have you.
Cargo capacity is a big deal for families and with 80.5 cubic feet available, it is a family pleaser. But Nissan doesn’t stop there: a “secret” cubby area under the rear floor is ideal for stashing gear, including wet swimwear.
Safety & Tech
It’s a new era in automotive safety, with manufacturers typically loading vehicles with the latest driver-assist equipment. We give Nissan high marks for offering the main items as standard equipment.
These include blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and rear automatic braking. Also, high-beam assist, lane-departure warning, and rear cross-traffic alert make the grade. Also available are an around-view monitor, front and rear parking sensors, and the semi-autonomous ProPILOT Assist package. When activated, ProPILOT supplies driver inputs to keep the Pathfinder centered and appropriately spaced behind the vehicle in front. You still must keep your hands on the wheel, but the system eases some of the monotony of long-haul driving.
On the tech front, Nissan equips the Pathfinder with an 8-inch touch-screen display and a six-speaker audio system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Bluetooth, satellite radio, and four USB ports are standard.
The list of upgrades includes a 9-inch touch-screen display and a 13-speaker Bose audio system. Our test model came with the available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, that’s fully customizable and easy to read. Navigation, wireless device charging, and two additional USB ports are optional.
Nissan Pathfinder Performance
The new Pathfinder comes with a familiar 3.5-liter V6 engine. This one delivers 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. What’s new this year is a 9-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the previous continuously variable transmission.
We immediately noticed the new transmission does a better job of managing low-end torque. Moreover, this new powertrain combination delivers faster off-the-mark acceleration than before. In all, this is a welcome change that delivers a more robust system. It also yields a decent 3,500-pound towing capacity or 6,000 pounds when properly equipped.
Nissan also improved the Pathfinder’s off-road capabilities. However, we cannot comment from experience here as Nissan supplied us with a front-wheel-drive model. Even so, our colleagues have looked at the model’s all-wheel-drive system with favor. What’s noteworthy is that Nissan calls it “four-wheel drive,” but it lacks a locker or a two-speed transfer case common to four-wheel-drive vehicles.
When needed, up to 50 percent of the power transfers to the rear wheels for improved grip. Also, if you enjoy playing in the mud, dialing in the mud/rut mode is ideal for uneven terrain. The automatic hill descent control provides additional stability. In short, the Pathfinder has average off-road chops. Alternatively, we recommend choosing the Nissan Frontier pickup truck if you want to venture on more rigorous courses.
Nissan Pathfinder: Our Recommendation
The 2022 Pathfinder is an all-around improvement that’s hard to ignore. Chances are the middle two trims will have what you want, with both offering package options to supply further customization. Thus, driving away in a vehicle you want for about $40,000 is certainly within reach.
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