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2022 Nissan Pathfinder - Review by Larry Nutson

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Find your path

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Nissan’s midsize three-row utility vehicle, the Pathfinder, has been around for 35 years. The original Pathfinder was introduced in 1987. After skipping a 2021 model, the Pathfinder is all-new for 2022.

Earlier this year I joined an online overview provided by Nissan to introduce the new 2022 Pathfinder to the automotive news media. This presentation was facilitated by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), of which I am a member.

Vishnu Jayamohan, Nissan’s Senior Manager of Product Strategy and Planning, opened the presentation by sharing Nissan’s mission with the new Pathfinder, which was to “fuse truck-like brawn and people-mover brains into an unbeatable product.”

The Pathfinder is entirely new from the ground up and rides on a 114.2 inch wheelbase. It’s 197.7 inches long and a touch under 71 inches high, two key dimensions to note for those who have a home garage. The exterior design is completely new and fresh. It’s got a rugged and yet refined look.

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Nissan’s signature V-Motion grille design is flanked by full C-shaped LED headlights. Sculpted body sides and a floating C-pillar lead to LED taillights and full-width Pathfinder badging across the rear hatch. LED fog lights are available. Depending on trim level 18- or 20-inch wheels are fitted.

All Pathfinders have a standard 3.5-L V6 producing 284-HP. The engine is equipped with an idle stop/start system that helps reduce both tailpipe emissions and fuel consumption. New on Pathfinder is a 9-speed automatic that transfers the power to the drive wheels.

Both front-wheel (2WD) and all-wheel (4WD) drive configurations are available. 2WD models feature Drive Mode Control with five settings: Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow and Tow. Intelligent 4WD models feature Drive + Terrain Mode Control with seven settings: Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow. The Pathfinder should be a decent “soft-roader.”

This new combination of the torquey (259 lb-ft) V6 and nine transmission gears deliver very smooth and responsive performance, quick acceleration from stop, and good response when powering out of a corner. It’s a nice combo. 

The new transmission has helped improve the Pathfinder’s EPA fuel economy ratings. The front-drive 2022 Pathfinder has EPA ratings of 21 city mpg and 26 highway mpg. The AWD versions are rated 21 city mpg and 27 highway mpg, except the Platinum trim is rated 20 and 25, respectively.

The hot topic these days is driving range---you know, EVs. The Pathfinder has an 18.5 gallon fuel tank which will theoretically give you just about 500 miles of highway driving. Remember, your mileage may (will) vary!

The Pathfinder is offered in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trims. Seating is for eight or seven when equipped with second-row Captain’s chairs.

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The cabin has been nicely refined and updated with quality materials, refined surfaces and touch points, metallic accents and an overall premium look and feel. An electronic shift-by-wire drive selector, available 10.8-inch Head-up Display, 12.3-inch digital dashboard, 9-inch. touchscreen, ProPILOT Assist with Navi-Link, wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless charging all provide the technology to aid driving for today’s busy parent.

Nissan Safety Shield 360 includes a complete suite of advanced driver-assist safety (ADAS) features. The cabin is nicely quite for conversation or listening to your favorite music genre on the 13-speaker Bose premium audio system.

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The new Pathfinder has 10.6 cubic feet more interior space than the previous model. Behind the third row there’s 16.6 cu.ft.; fold that 60/40 split seat down and you get 45.0 cu.ft. With the second row also folded the total is 80.5 cu.ft. Another benefit of the new 9-speed transmission is improved towing ability with capacity up to a maximum of 6,000 lbs.

More details on the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder can be found at Two premium packages are available, an SV Premium and SL Premium.

Prices start at $33,410 for the S 2WD and top out at $48,090 for the Platinum 4WD. For each trim 4WD costs an additional $1,900. Destination and handling charge is $1,150.

In the presentation about the Pathfinder Jayamohan said it was designed for the “super-parent” who needs the “swiss-army knife” of a three-row family hauler. Most buyers of three-row utility vehicles are doing so for the passenger room. If you have four children in the family you need three-rows. An plus with a three-row utility is more space behind the second row compared to a two-row utility.

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My most recent drive in the Pathfinder was in a Platinum 4WD trim. I liked the Pathfinder’s overall design both in and out. The cabin design was especially to my liking. I was the chauffeur for my wife and another couple who also commented on the niceness of the interior.

Overall, the Pathfinder is dynamically enjoyable and satisfying to drive with comfortable ride, confident handling and smooth, responsive acceleration. At cruising speed the cabin noise level is comfortable for easy conversation and audio listening. The new 9-speed transmission makes the Pathfinder a viable consideration if you tow a trailer.

I’ve had some decent driving time with the Pathfinder--a week’s time around my Chicago home; at a MAMA-produced Summer Drive event in the Chicago suburbs that also provided a Nissan presentation on the Pathfinder; and, at an early-October MAMA-produced Rally that took place in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. It’s great to test drive a new vehicle under varied road conditions to really get to know it.

Happy motoring!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy