New SUV

Redesigned, 8-seater 2022 Nissan Pathfinder gains throwback looks, smart innovations

Nissan introduced the redesigned Nissan Pathfinder today.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The fifth-generation Nissan Pathfinder was revealed today wearing throwback looks with an interior chocked full of innovation and modern technology. As ever, it remains a family-friendly staple of the Nissan lineup.

The new Nissan Pathfinder was inspired by the original Nissan Pathfinder. That doesn't mean that it's a square-bodied relic. Quite the contrary. All-new from the ground up, the Pathfinder is designed to look rugged and aggressive, saying a firm farewell to the bubble-like body of its predecessor. At the front is Nissan's new take on the V-motion grille and the company's new logo with C-shaped standard LED headlights on either side with upper daytime running lights. It looks a lot like the Armada.

The SUV's grille is reminiscent of that on the new Armada.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The side of the vehicle reveals a two-tone paint job, a first for Pathfinder, with the shape of the steel giving the Pathfinder a muscular identity. Nissan will offer the Pathfinder in a total of 14 color combinations including five new two-tone treatments. The Pathfinder shown today is wearing Scarlet Ember body paint with a Super Black Metallic roof.

Circling around the back, the eye catches slim taillights with an elongated "Pathfinder" across the tailgate.

The 2022 Pathfinder will be offered in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels. Depending on the trim level, the Pathfinder rides on 18- or 20-inch wheels.

Under the hood of the three-row SUV is a 284-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine that yields 259 pound-feet of torque - that's unchanged for the new generation. Nissan has paired the engine with a new nine-speed automatic transmission. That's right, no more continuously variable transmission (CVT). Fuel economy numbers are expected to remain about the same for the new model.

The design of the new Pathfinder is inspired by the original Pathfinder.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2022 Nissan P

Two-wheel drive is standard on the new Pathfinder. Nissan will sell the model with available Intelligent 4WD with a seven-position Drive and Terrain Mode Selector. Drive modes include Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow.

The 2022 Pathfinder has a 6,000-pound towing capacity when properly equipped, which is better than the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Kia Telluride, and Honda Pilot. A 3,5000-pound capacity is standard. Like on the 2022 Nissan Frontier, Trailer Sway Control is also standard.

In front of the driver is an available 12.3-inch fully digital information cluster, which first appeared in the 2021 Rogue. A 10.8-inch head-up display is available as well and can offer turn-by-turn directions. An 8.0-inch infotainment touch screen is standard and a 9.0-inch screen is available for the center stack. It sits above revised climate controls that cleanly simplify operation of the vehicle.

An electronic shifter, just like the one in the Rogue, sits next to the SUV's cup holders, an electronic parking brake lever, drive mode selector, and an easy-to-reach button that shuts off the engine's auto start/stop functionality.

The interior of the Armada has been refined and offers additional soundproofing.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

As show in a high trim level, the Pathfinder offers a near-premium in-cabin experience. Seats are wrapped in standard woven cloth but buyers can upgrade to leather or premium quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats. Brushed bronze metallic accents are features in the cabin of the model shown and are part of one of the seven interior schemes available. There is new ambient lighting.

Nissan has improved the interior noise level of the Pathfinder for the new model year adding acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass, increased door and floor isolation, and a 60-percent increase in engine noise absorption.

Pathfinder seats up to eight people, including the ability to fit three adults across the back row. Captain's chairs are available for the second row and the center console of that row can be quickly removed using no tools. The standard second-row bench seat features one-touch release fold and slide functionality that allows car seats to remain in place on both the driver and passenger sides. The third row features 60/40 split-folding capability.

The three-row SUV now has seating for eight.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

There is 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. The rear cargo area of the Pathfinder can accommodate a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags with all three rows up. With the third-row folded, there is 45 cubic feet of cargo space and with the second- and third-row folded there's 80.5 cubic feet. Those numbers are all an improvement on the outgoing generation's. The SUV can carry 4x8-foot sheets of plywood with no problem, according to the manufacturer.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder standard NissanConnect technology with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Available features include 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, climate controlled front seats, tai-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless smartphone charter, wireless Apple CarPlay, a 13-speaker Bose Premium Audio system, NissanConnect Services, navigation, and an upgraded 360-degree camera view.

Nissan is making ProPilot Assist available on Pathfinder SV and SL. It combines steering assist and adaptive cruise control to control acceleration, braking, and steering on the highway. The top-tier Pathfinder Platinum upgrades to ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link, which was just introduced on the Rogue. It combines the driving assistance tech with navigation map data to further automate the driving experience.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Wireless Apple CarPlay is available on the new model.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan Safety Shield is standard on the Pathfinder. It's a suite of technology that includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking. Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention, a seat-mounted supplemental airbag, and traffic sign recognition technology is available.

Pricing for the model is not yet available. It will go on sale this summer.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder arrives on dealer lots this summer.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder doesn't have to be capable of rock crawling or deep water fording. What it has to do is service the needs of families in their daily life and give them the opportunity to competently go off-roading on rocky trails should they desire. The new, fifth-generation models does just that and adds in enough nifty features to make it among the most compelling choices for three-row SUV buyers.

The 2022 Pathfinder is thoroughly modern though not the boxy off-roader it once was. The SUV's styling harkens back to that time with a tilted, darkened C-pillar and a return to a more muscular body style. That styling makes straightforward visibility good but for shorter drivers seeing what is immediately in front of the grille is a challenge that necessitates using surround view camera technology (available only in upper trim levels) when navigating challenging terrain.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can easily handle the roads less traveled.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Under the hood is a 3.5-liter V6 that offers up 291 horsepower and torque - plenty to do the job without complaint. The SUV's nine-speed automatic transmission replaces the continuously variable transmission (CVT) from the previous generation and delivers smooth shifts. Though low-end torque isn't as robust as I like it to be, once up over 35 mph, the Pathfinder's powertrain delivers smooth, powerful sailing.

The redesigned architecture and components underpinning the Pathfinder make it stable on the road and don't allow it to wallow on winding roads. Even off-road, the suspension provides the right blend of stability while the drive dynamics allowing the driver to feel engaged with their surroundings whether on freshly paved roads, city streets, or muddy trails.

Nissan has given the Pathfinder a 6,000-pound towing capacity and even when maxed out the engine's functionality is strong as ever. The transmission can get held up in a gear mid-range when performing this function, however, with 5,000-6,000 rpms registering on the tachometer but a quick release of the gas pedal recalibrates the offering bringing it down to a more traditional 2,000 rpm range.

The eight-seater Pathfinder clearly has the Toyota Highlander in its sights, with good reason. It's the top-selling three-row SUV in the country. Nissan boasts that three adults can fit across the rear bench seat of the Pathfinder and, as long as they're average size or smaller, the marketing talking point holds up. There is gobs more room back there than there is in the Highlander.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Nissan has given the Pathfinder ample cargo space.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Getting in and out of the third row is easy thanks to one-touch buttons on the outboard side of the second-row chairs that move the SUV's captain's seats forward creating enough room to get through to the back. Smartly, Nissan's engineers have put duplicates of these buttons on the back side of the same seats allowing third-row passengers to simply press the button to move the seat up.

The third row can also be accessed via a split between the captain's chairs as well, a space traditionally occupied by a center stowage bin/cup holders/arm rest. Owners can quickly remove the center console by opening a panel on the front and pulling the release mechanism. The one-handed operation takes seconds and the console can be easily stored in the under-floor trunk space behind the third row seat for ease.

Speaking of cargo space... The Pathfinder is one of the most spacious midsize SUVs on the market today for both passengers and cargo. There is a substantial amount of room behind the third-row seat and the under-floor storage area is nearly twice the size of the one in the Highlander. Plus, it has a feature that allows the area cover to be automatically propped up when pushed up by a user. This is especially help when carrying groceries or plants home and keeps them from being crushed.

The first- and second-row seats are suitably comfortable, even for extended periods of time and standard trig-zone climate control makes finding the right in-cabin mix easy. Bottle holders in the pockets of the front doors are exceptionally large, fitting even bulky water bottles.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder's front row seats are comfortable.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In front of the driver is a standard tachometer, speedometer, and 7.0-inch driver information display. Buyers can upgrade to a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and head-up display but they're not reason enough to upgrade to the top-tier Pathfinder Platinum on their own.

Nissan packs the new Pathfinder with a host of desirable features that make living with the Pathfinder easier including one-touch auto up/down windows, a wireless phone charger, grocery hooks in the rear cargo area, USB ports in all three rows, second-row sunshades, rear door keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay, and a motion-activated lift gate.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is priced to start at $33,410 for the two-wheel drive S base model and $35,310 for the four-wheel drive S base model. The model tops out around $50,000 with destination and delivery included, which seems fair when comparing the Pathfinder to other vehicles in the market.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

If you're thinking of purchasing a Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot, or Highlander, do yourself a favor and schedule a test drive of the new Pathfinder when it arrives at a dealer lot near you. You may just be surprised how seamlessly it fits into your daily life compared to the competition.

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