Auto123.com - Helping you drive happy

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Review: Re-re-rebirth

2022 Nissan Pathfinder | Photo: D.Heyman
Get the best financial rate for your car loan at Automobile En Direct
Dan Heyman
The chameleon of Nissan’s lineup goes through yet another change
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, front
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, front | Photo: D.Heyman

Auto123 reviews the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder.

The Nissan Pathfinder is one of the more interesting case studies when it comes to modern SUVs or crossovers.

It’s a nameplate that has endured ever since SUVs really hit the big time, with the Nissan appearing alongside the likes of the Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer, the real pioneers of the genre. The Nissan, though, has arguably had the biggest transformations – that’s transformations, plural – over the five generations through which it’s passed since it debuted in the mid-1980s.

Back then, it was a body-on-frame mini truck with back seats instead of a pickup bed. Then, it was softened into a much more civilized SUV, then it became V8-powered and hulking, then it made an about face and transitioned to a unibody three-row SUV with a short-lived hybrid option. All the while, the Explorer and 4Runner have stayed pretty true to their roots, especially in the case of the Toyota. To a fault, some would argue.

Which brings us to the latest all-new Pathfinder. It remains a unibody platform with a single V6 engine choice, but on the styling front it now channels the older, tougher trucks more than previous.

Shopicar.com, 100% online, shop for your next car, buy online and get it delivered to you anywhere in Quebec!

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, profile
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, profile | Photo: D.Heyman

You can see this especially when taking in the truck side-on, with the creases on the lower doors and slight flaring of the rear haunches and slightly squared fenders. The Pathfinder looks properly chunky from this angle, and that will appease those that found the last version somewhat soft looking, which it was. I’d still liken it closer to a Highlander than a 4Runner here, but then the new Highlander looks pretty good and the 4Runner, well, nothing else looks like it, really, this side of a Ford Bronco or Land Rover Defender and that’s a different kettle of fish.

The situation changes a bit when the front fascia gets involved; it looks closer to what you’d find on a Rogue than what you would on the new Frontier pickup, for example. Which is too bad because after all, the original Pathfinder did share many of its bits with the Nissan Hardbody pickups of the era. The rear, meanwhile, is dominated by massive “Pathfinder” scripting and full-width taillamps, which provides a unique look - and that’s not something easily achieved in the SUV/CUV world.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, interior
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, interior | Photo: D.Heyman

Inside this Platinum version of the Pathfinder, we find all the niceties you can get for the model: leather seating with contrast-colour stitching, digital gauge cluster (that could use a little sprucing up; it’s fairly tame style-wise, and can’t be re-configured), 9-inch NissanConnect infotainment (8-inch is standard), navigation, AroundView parking camera with selectable views and tri-zone climate control

There are also the requisite Nissan ProPilot Assist driver aids, including lane-centering, intelligent adaptive cruise control, speed limit assist and a few other goodies. It’s a nice, un-invasive system although even after driving a number of Nissans with the tech, I still have to reacquaint myself with how to activate and deactivate it every time I start my testing as there are few single-press buttons; you have to navigate menus within the gauge cluster. The AroundView monitor, on the other hand, takes no learning at all and it remains one of the most precise and well-implemented versions of this tech you’ll find on the market today; I just wish the display itself was in a slightly higher res.

I have little to complain about when it comes to the rest of the on-board amenities. The Platinum’s 13-speaker Bose sound system is a good one and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, and I found the former to work like a charm whenever I stepped in. Overall, the NissanConnect infotainment system is a fast one.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, third row of seats
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, third row of seats | Photo: D.Heyman

As has become expected with the Pathfinder, interior space is very good including the third row, which is suitable for adults. It’s also accessed by second-row seats that tilt and slide with a single button press, so you can leave a child seat installed in the second row and not limit your access to the third. It’s worth noting, however, that while the Platinum version gets second row captain’s chairs as standard, you'll need to remove the storage bin between them if you wish to access the third row without having to tilt the seats forward.

Keep the third row folded, and you have access to 1,274 litres of cargo space, which is fine, but less than you’ll get in the Honda Pilot or either the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade twins - all vehicles that will surely be compared with this Pathfinder. The Hyundai and Kia also get the ultra-cool auto rear tailgate that will activate as soon as you stand nearby with the fob in your pocket; the Pathfinder also gets a handsfree system, though you do have to wave your foot underneath the rear bumper to open the tailgate, a move that I’d say worked for me on the first try about 75 per cent of the time.

You won’t find many seats more comfortable than what you have here, because the Pathfinder gets Nissan’s patented Zero Gravity seat technology in both the first and second rows. These seats will support you and offer cushioning in all the right places, so you maintain a comfortable posture without feeling like you’re in one of the desks Bart and Milhouse had to deal with when Springfield Elementary switched to those posture-perfect desks.

The comfort provided by the seats (which come heated and ventilated up front and heated in the second tow at this level) is matched by the ride, which is smooth, controlled and altogether luxurious here. Coupled with a steering rack that doesn’t get upset over even larger undulations – very little wheel vibration here – this is a ride that punches above its weight class. The Pathfinder has just seen its Infiniti QX60 cousin get reimagined for this year; it’d be interesting to see how much better of a ride that could offer.

One thing I’d expect them to fix when it comes to the QX60, however, is an HVAC system that I could never get to operate a quietly as I’d like in the Pathfinder. One expects noise when the front defrost is on, but not in simple “auto” mode, which left me having to play more with the settings than I should need to.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, badging
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, badging | Photo: D.Heyman

Power comes from a 3.5L V6 good for 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque and yes, those are the exact same figures made by the previous version of the Pathfinder. Gone, however, is the acceleration-sapping CVT auto, replaced by a 9-speed automatic that does well to help, shall we say, “encourage” better acceleration. There’s also a set of paddle shifters attached to the wheel for just a little more driver involvement, and I appreciate that. Why not?

Many – including myself – like making use of manual mode when off-roading, which I wouldn’t put past this Pathfinder. Its standard-on-all-trims AWD system has been tweaked to be faster and three of the seven drive modes are tuned specifically for off-road use. Put them and the Pathfinder to the test, and you’ll find the SUV to be quite the able companion for off-road excursions. Power is nicely shuffled about to provide optimal traction and provides a tonne of confidence. Otherwise, the Pathfinder operates as an FWD vehicle to help conserve fuel.

In addition to being frugal enough on fuel – I ended with 10.8L/100 km in combined driving – and delivering a smooth ride, the Pathfinder handles well too, exhibiting light steering and low body roll reminiscent of a smaller vehicle. Smart chassis and suspension work has made this Pathfinder drive smaller, without feeling smaller inside.

Specifications sheet of 2022 Nissan Pathfinder S

Specifications sheet of 2022 Nissan Pathfinder SV

Specifications sheet of 2022 Nissan Pathfinder SL

Specifications sheet of 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum

Specifications sheet of 2022 Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, rear
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, rear | Photo: D.Heyman

Thing is, as mentioned before, it is in fact a little smaller inside than the competition and makes a bit less power than its Korean rivals the Telluride and Palisade, while being priced pretty much on the same level. With the Pathfinder, though, you do get one of the best-looking and best-riding of the segment, plus one that can tow 6,000 pounds and left me thinking “luxury” as soon as I settled into it. Not a bad impression to leave for a vehicle in this segment. Not bad at all.

We like

Looks
Smooth, quiet, confident ride
Very capable
    
We like less

Some NVH issues
Low-res parking camera
        
The competition

Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Traverse
Dodge Durango
Ford Explorer
GMC Acadia
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Palisade
Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Kia Telluride
Mazda CX-9
Subaru Ascent
Toyota Highlander
Volkswagen Atlas

2022 Nissan Pathfinder, three-quarters rear
2022 Nissan Pathfinder, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Heyman

Road Tests and Reviews

Consumers
2022 Nissan Pathfinder
Review this Vehicle
Styling
Accessories
Space and Access
Comfort
Performance
Driving Dynamics
Safety
General Appreciation
Name
Email
Comment
Password
Forgot your password? Click here
Cancel
Photos:D.Heyman
2022 Nissan Pathfinder pictures
Dan Heyman
Dan Heyman
Automotive expert
  • Over 12 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 70 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists