Every auto enthusiast knows the Nissan Pathfinder originated as an SUV version of the Hardbody. The earliest versions were tough, rugged, and went nearly everywhere. Times change and so did the Pathfinder. It eventually went to unibody construction, effectively turning it into a car-based SUV. Unfortunately, that generation aged quicker than the rest of the segment. Now, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder has arrived and it’s taken inspiration from its forefathers and promises a more refined experience.
A New Look for the Modern Age
The 2022 Pathfinder sports Nissan’s new family look. It pairs the familiar U-shaped grilled with angular tiered headlights creating that imposing appearance. As before, the Pathfinder retains its boxy, upright greenhouse. The taillights, on the other hand, slimmed down, adding volume to the rear. For the first time, Nissan offers two-tone exterior colors in the Pathfinder, enhancing its road presence.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Same Bones, Different Personality
If no one told you that the latest Pathfinder uses the same underpinnings as its predecessors, you’d never know. Extensive upgrades turn the SUV into a formidable machine that rides well and does a fantastic job isolating the cabin even with the available 20-inch wheels. Credit tires with generous sidewalls for additional compliance. Further highlighting the major changes made to the platform is the Pathfinder’s handling. This is now one of the best driving three-row SUVs on the market. Eager turn-ins, great body control, and accurate steering all contribute to the car’s confident road manners.
Unlike the chassis and suspension, the powertrain only partially carried over because Nissan ditched the CVT for a ZF nine-speed automatic. As a result, you get a more conventional driving experience thanks to the geared transmission. This is also the smoothest and most responsive iteration of this gearbox; it shifts quickly and doesn’t get clunky like versions found in Honda, Stellantis, and Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. You’re able to get the most out of Nissan’s formidable 3.5-liter V6, which makes 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque in this application. The linear power delivery makes passing and merging a cinch while the transmission’s tight gear keeps you in the engine’s sweet spot for effortless hill climbing.
Despite the improved capabilities, fuel efficiency remains similar to the outgoing model. The EPA rates the Pathfinder at 21/26/23 mpg city/highway/combined for FWD models or 21/27/23 mpg with AWD. Getting the range-topping Platinum grade with AWD drops the latter numbers to 20/25/22 mpg.
Upscale and Family Friendly
Like the smaller Rogue, the latest Pathfinder morphs into a vehicle that punches above its weight and that’s most evident in the interior. Nearly everything you touch or use feels expensive while surfaces that you interact with frequently have soft-touch materials or thick padding. The controls also have a satisfying level of tactility along with nice clicks when you press a button or turn a knob. Platinum models take things a step up with soft semi-aniline leather upholstery that enhances the cabin’s atmosphere. Excellent sound insulation also amplifies the upscale vibes by keeping exterior noises down.
Nissan did a great job ensuring that the Pathfinder excels as a family vehicle. Depending on the configuration, four or five passengers fit comfortably in the first two rows. The third row easily fits two adults for shorter drives or kids on longer ones. Climbing back there is a cinch, too, because all you need to do is press a button for the second row to slide out of the way. Getting the captain’s chairs adds a removable center bin in the second row that gives you extra storage. You also get plenty of cubbies for mobile devices, wallets, and small bags. However, as with nearly every three-row SUV, you don’t get much cargo space with all seats up. That means it’s best to keep them folded and use them sparingly.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Foolproof Tech Features
Nissan’s latest infotainment system uses either an 8.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreen. This Platinum test car came with the latter, featuring quick responses and a simple menu layout meant to nearly negate the learning curve. Crisp graphics on the main display and available 12.3-inch digital cluster give the Pathfinder a techie feel from behind the wheel. The clean layout keeps information easy to understand while giving you more personalization options. Variants with the optional 13-speaker Bose audio system provide a fantastic listening experience and lots of customization options to give you that perfect sound profile.
Every Pathfinder gets a long list of active safety features as standard equipment. These include forward-collision warning, front and rear automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and lane departure warning. You must go up to at least the SV grade to get lane-keeping and Nissan’s ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous system. Just like in the Rogue, the Pathfinder’s suite works well, gently nudging you back into your lane the moment you drift. ProPilot Assist remains one of the best of its kind. It does a fantastic job maintaining your set distance, following traffic flow, and keeping you centered. In SL and Platinum models, it uses navigation data to detect oncoming turns and slow down the vehicle, allowing you to complete them at safe speeds.
Formidable in Every Sense
The latest Pathfinder gives Nissan a strong entry in the three-row SUV segment. Impressive refinement, better road manners, and class-leading tech features contribute to this version’s viability as a family vehicle. These come at a price but thankfully, Nissan managed to keep them in control. Starting at $35,935, you get a well-rounded, generously equipped SUV with seating for eight. Load up a Pathfinder Platinum with AWD puts you at roughly $50,000. While that sounds expensive, the build quality, tech features, and upscale appoint more than compensate for it, retaining the SUV’s strong value play. The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder brings the popular nameplate back to the top. This isn’t another price-focused offering, there’s genuine substance here and that’s what makes it formidable.