- 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Paves a Better Path
Nissan’s mid-size three-row SUV looks tougher, even if it still rests on car-like unibody underpinnings.
After a single-year hiatus, the Nissan Pathfinder returns for the 2022 model year. Having shed its predecessor’s jelly bean shape, the 2022 Pathfinder instead wears more butch bodywork that more closely resembles the look of the larger body-on-frame 2021 Nissan Armada. Don’t let the three-row SUV’s styling fool you, because the 2022 Pathfinder retains front-drive-based unibody underpinnings.
This will surely only dampen the spirits of the most fervent off-road and Pathfinder enthusiasts. Typical three-row SUV buyers, however, will surely welcome Nissan’s decision to ditch the prior Pathfinder’s dull design while still maintaining its pleasantly car-like ride and handling characteristics.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Midsize Insides
Although the 2022 Pathfinder’s squarer shape, swollen fenders, canted C-pillar, and imposing mug make it look larger than its 2020 counterpart (at least in photos), the three-row Nissan SUV actually sees its overall length shrink by 1.5 inches. As before, the 197.0-inch long 2022 Pathfinder’s wheelbase measures 114.2 inches.
Predictably, the 2022 Pathfinder’s available cargo capacity changes little. With 16.6, 45.0, and 80.5 cubic feet of space behind the third, second, and first rows of seats, respectively, the 2022 Pathfinder sees gains of 0.4 and 1.0 cubic feet with all seats in place and with its rear rows folded. With only the third-row seats tucked away, the latest Pathfinder is actually down 2.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
While the Pathfinder’s available cargo capacity tops that of smaller competitors like the Mazda CX-9, it falls noticeably short of class leaders such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Kia Telluride.
Despite the 2022 Pathfinder’s dimensions changing little relative to its forebear, the new SUV actually packs more seats within its cabin courtesy of a three-across third-row bench that complements the standard three-across second-row bench and two front buckets. (The last Pathfinder only fit two passengers in its third row). As such, the latest Pathfinder offers places for as many as eight individuals, although opting for the available second-row captain’s chairs lowers the total count to seven.
Like its exterior, the 2022 Pathfinder’s interior trades the outgoing model’s soft-edged design for tougher and blockier decor. An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, a 7.0-inch gauge cluster display, and tri-zone automatic climate control are all standard fare. Moving up the Pathfinder trim ladder opens the door to additional features, including a 9.0-inch infotainment system, 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and 10.8-inch head-up display that projects onto the windshield. Additionally, Nissan offers adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering assist (or ProPilot Assist in Nissan-speak) on Pathfinder SV, SL, and Platinum models. The base S, though, is unavailable with the feature. All 2022 Pathfinders come standard with LED headlights, automatic forward and rear emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and automatic high-beam headlights.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Tow Finder
Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-6 returns to power the 2022 Pathfinder. Once again, the engine produces 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Gone is the continuously variable automatic transmission of the prior SUV. Instead, a new nine-speed automatic transmission takes its place and metes out power to the drive wheels. Front-wheel-drive remains the default setup, however, an all-wheel-drive system with seven drive modes (Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow) is available to help this Nissan SUV better live up to its name.
Like the last Pathfinder, the 2022 model offers a maximum towing capacity of up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped—only the rear-wheel-drive-based Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee L offer higher tow ratings in this segment. The setup is standard on the top-end Pathfinder Platinum and optional on SV and SL trims. Forgoing the extra towing kit, or opting for the entry-level Pathfinder S, drops the model’s maximum towing capacity to 3,500 pounds.
The 2022 Pathfinder’s fresh exterior and interior designs, additional safety and convenience features, and new nine-speed automatic gearbox fix the biggest flaws of the previous model. That said, its small-for-the-class cargo capacity may prevent the latest Pathfinder from toppling segment stalwarts. Look for the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder to go on sale this summer, likely with a starting sum of less than $35,000.
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