2022 Nissan Pathfinder Review

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - All new for '22, Pathfinder is now a compelling families on the go.


A mainstay in Nissan's lineup the midsize Nissan Pathfinder is all-new for 2022. This redesign marks the fifth generation of the Pathfinder lineup in the US. Over the years it has vacillated from SUV to Crossover and this this is tries to strike a balance between the two. Though it returns as a 3-row 7- or 8-passenger 4-door wagon, almost everything else is new. The new Pathfinder gets new styling, new transmission, revised suspension turning, retuned steering, additional interior storage, and new technology features. Competitors include the Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas.

Pathfinder is offered in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trim. All trims get a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. The engine pairs with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional. The S, SV and SL trims come with second- and third-row bench seats for a passenger capacity of eight. Second-row captain's chairs, which reduce capacity to seven, are available on the SV and SL and standard on the Platinum. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 6,000 pounds.

Prices range from $36,000 to $49,000. Standard safety features include blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning with brake intervention, rear automatic braking, and lane-departure warning. Also offered are adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. LED headlights and infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto integration are also standard.

About the only thing not brand new on the Pathfinder is its engine, and that's OK since it was plenty powerful. Whether pulling away from a stop light or pulling out to pass on a two-lane road, the normally aspirated V6 provides plenty of punch. From a stop, the engine can accelerate the Pathfinder from 0 to 60 MPH in scant 6.7 seconds - making Pathfinder quicker than a Telluride or Highlander. In addition, the engine is smooth and makes power across a wide powerband. Transmission performance is also remarkable in that you hardly feel upshifts and downshifts are prompt.

Though some previous versions of Pathfinder have had a two-speed transfer case, the 2022 edition has more traditional all-wheel drive. That makes Pathfinder perfect for daily on-road use in northern climates and capable in trail driving. The all-wheel drive system also includes selectable drive modes for sand and mud/ruts.

EPA estimates for the front-drive Pathfinder come in at 21 MPG city and 26 MPG highway. The AWD Pathfinder nets 20/25 MPG ratings. Those numbers fall in line with most others in the class, but trail hybrids like the Highlander. Thankfully, Pathfinder doesn't require more-expensive premium-grade gasoline. In routine suburban commuting expect to average about 23 MPG overall, perhaps as high as 25 MPG if you throw in some gentle highway cruising. The large 18.5-gallon fuel tank gives Pathfinder an impressive highway range of more than 450 miles.

From a dynamic perspective, Pathfinder strikes a middle balance between providing a comfortable family-orientated ride and still maintaining a reasonable amount of agility. The suspension is tuned with bump absorption in mind, but there's enough roll control to maintain an even keel over the rough stuff. Steering feel is numb but at least it is precise and affords enough precision to maintain a comfortable highway ride. Brakes have adequate stopping power, but the pedal is spongy and imprecise.

Interior noise levels are quite low thanks to Nissan's extra attention to sound-deadening elements. There's little engine and road noise around town and wind nice is suppressed on the highway.

Inside, Nissan designers struck an excellent balance designing an interior that is both elegant and rugged. The design can come across as plasticity at times, but materials are price appropriate and, over time, occupants will appreciate all of the storage cubbies.

Driver's face a digital instrument cluster that can be configured several different ways. There's also an available head-up display on upper trim levels. The standard infotainment screen is 8-inches across, and the upgraded screen is a disappointing 9-inches. Both have connectivity for Android Auto or Apple Car Play. HVAC controls are quite conventional, but the audio controls are absorbed into the infotainment screen, at least they have separate dials for volume and tuning. Ancillary controls are well placed.

The front seats favor comfort over support, but with a tilt/telescope steering wheel just about anyone will find a suitable driving position. Head and leg room are quite good. The second-row bench is flat but provides good rood and enough width for three-across seating. Optional captain's chairs are more comfortable and come with a removeable center console. The rear seats might be the most roomy in the class, but are difficult to access.

Outward visibility is good to all directions and the step-in isn't so high that it is a chore to get in our out.

Though Pathfinder is loaded with tech, none of it stands out. Nissan's ProPilot Assist driver aid suite includes adaptive cruise control and a lane-centering system. The navigation system itself works well, with clear turn-by-turn directions and an easy-to-use interface. A wireless charging pad is great is available and smartphone integration is of the wireless variety.

Pathfinder offers a middling 16.6 cubic feet behind the third row, allowing just enough space for a load of groceries. Things open up a bit to 45 cubic feet with the third row folded or 80.5 cubic feet with all seats down. Both numbers trail class leaders a smidge. There's plenty of storage for small items like sunglasses, water bottles, hand sanitizer and more in various bins and pockets throughout the cabin.

Bottom Line -- Nissan has made all the right changes to Pathfinder, giving it a better interior, more technology and safety features, and improving the driving dynamics. It is also priced very competitively compared to its rivals. Like any 3-row crossover, Pathfinder gets expensive in top trim, but the nicely-equipped SV offers a lot of features for its under $40,000 price tag.

Mark Bilek

Mark Bilek is the Senior Director of Communications and Technology for the Chicago Auto Trade Association and the General Manager for DriveChicago.com. He is also responsible for developing and maintaining the Chicago Auto Show Web site.

Mark has been reviewing vehicles for more than two decades. Previously, he was associate publisher at Consumer Guide, where he oversaw publication of Consumer Guide Car & Truck Test, Consumer Guide's Used Car Book, and ConsumerGuide.com. He was also responsible for publication of "Collectible Automobile" and various hardcover automotive titles. In 2001 and 2002 he served as president of a Midwest Automotive Media Association. Mark has appeared on NBC TV, ABC TV, Fox News, WGN and MotorTrend TV as an automotive consultant. He hosts the Drive Chicago radio show on WLS 890 AM and was a regular guest on WGN Radio's Steve & Johnnie show. Mark lives in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three sons.