• Car Review

Driven: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Review

By Josh Noel | April 4, 2022

Vehicle Type: A three-row, midsize, four-door, seven or eight-passenger crossover SUV.

Price Range: $34,560-$47,340

Powertrain: 3.5-liter V6 engine making 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Front-wheel-drive is standard with all-wheel-drive optional across the trim range.


What’s New for 2022?

The Pathfinder is all-new for 2022. Exterior styling receives a more rugged look, the interior redesign is significant and brings the Pathfinder closer to the rest of the class. The engine carries over, but a new automatic transmission replaces a CVT found in the previous generation.


What’s Good?

  • Quiet, comfortable interior with plenty of functionality
  • 6,000 pounds available towing capacity
  • Impressive build quality and materials
  • Reasonable value

What’s Bad?

  • Exterior design may not be for everyone
  • No hybrid powertrain offered
  • Below-average cargo space
  • So-so fuel economy

Would we buy one? We would! It's a nice mix of practicality, comfort, and safety.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Photos.


Overview:

2022-nissan-pathfinder-overview-image

The Nissan Pathfinder enters its fifth generation with a full redesign for the 2022 model year. It competes in a crowded segment with the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Subaru Ascent, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, and Mazda CX-9. With seating for seven or eight passengers, the Pathfinder is aimed at buyers looking for a semi-rugged crossover SUV that can carry the whole family to almost any place they need to go.

New features include more truck-like exterior styling, which moves with the trend of most of the Pathfinders competition. Inside, the design is equally different from the outgoing models. Plenty of additional cubbies and spaces for personal items have been added, including 12 cupholders. Captain's chairs are now available for the middle row, and materials have been upgraded in an attempt to rival the excellent selling Kia and Hyundai mid-sizers.

Though not a true off-road specialist, the Pathfinder does back up those rugged looks with up to 6000 pounds of towing capacity, acceptable 7.1 inches of ground clearance, and available all-wheel drive with seven driving modes for different conditions. Paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel give the driver the option to control gears in a snap. Buyers wanting something with real off-road prowess in this segment should look at the aging, but capable Toyota 4Runner.

Inside, technology and luxury have also been upgraded with a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster and 8.0-inch infotainment screen as standard features, with larger screens optional in both locations. Second-row captain's chairs are now available and feature a center console with extra storage, and the third-row is comfortable for adults, though climbing back there may be a challenge.


Overall Score: 3.6/5 stars

Safety Features: 5/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-safety-image

Nissan equips the Pathfinder with a nice array of standard safety features including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high-beams, and lane-departure warning. Higher trims get semi-autonomous ProPilot Assist, which includes adaptive cruise control.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did not award the Nissan Pathfinder with a Top Safety Pick designation for 2022.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Pathfinder a five-star safety rating for 2022, the agency's highest rating.


Value: 3/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-value-image

The Pathfinder delivers much better value after the redesign, with better soft-touch materials and interior build quality. In all trims, the Pathfinder offers appropriate features and materials for the cost.

Though it is a vast improvement to the outgoing model, the Pathfinder falls behind the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade when you compare price, fit, and features. With the Korean brands, you just get a little more at each step.

The Nissan compares more favorably to the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot, and it is definitely worth considering if you are in the market for a three-row SUV.

Toyota's Highlander can't quite match the Pathfinder in terms of outright space, but it offers both a gas and a hybrid model and its more conventional styling may appeal to buyers over the Pathfinder's look.

Even though Nissan redesigned the Pathfinder for the 2022 model year, it feels like something that could have come out for 2019. Nothing separates it from models that have been on the market for almost half of a decade.


Tech Features: 3/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-tech-image

The Pathfinder features a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 9.0-inch screen comes on upper trims, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto go wireless as well with the upgrade. The system works well, though some reviewers found it could use more robust voice command features.

Available tech features include a 13-speaker Bose premium sound system, head-up display, WiFi hotspot, wireless charging pad, and satellite radio.

Overall, the Nissan Pathfinder offers enough tech to be competitive but isn't groundbreaking in standard or optional tech features.


Practicality: 4/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-practicality-image

Seating for all seven or eight passengers is comfortable, even for adults. We were able to pack our test model full of people in all three rows (with a pair of car seats in the middle seats) and we're happy to report everyone was happy during a long-ish road trip. Legroom and headroom have been improved over the outgoing model, and meet the class standard.

If you don't need eight seats, the captain's chairs offer a great balance of flexibility and comfort. Oh, and they are heated as well (on some trim levels).

Cargo space is 16.6 cubic feet behind the third-row seat, 45 behind the second row, and just over 80 with both the second and third-row seats stowed. Those numbers fall behind Telluride, Palisade, Pilot, and Explorer. The Pathfinder does best the Mazda CX-9 for cargo space.

Standard towing capacity is 3,500 and the Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 pounds when equipped with the towing package. 6,000 pounds beats nearly every vehicle in the class for maximum towing capacity. The Dodge Durango can tow more at a max of 8,700 pounds, but the Pathfinder is above average in this area and should be able to handle smaller trailers with ease.


Styling & Design: 3/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-styling-image

Exterior styling has a more upright windshield and grille that differentiates the Pathfinder from the outgoing model, while also making it look more modern. Crossover SUVs are largely trending toward this more truck-like appearance. This crossover's exterior styling may not be for everyone, but we liked it for its mix of futuristic looks plus assertive demeanor.

Inside materials have been upgraded. Designers also clearly put an effort into adding storage spaces for personal items and putting them in places that make sense. Seating is easy to fold away for extra storage, and an under-floor cargo area keeps items out of view.

Despite Nissan's recent reputation for extremely comfortable seats, some reviewers found the front seating surfaces to be on the firm side. Generally, seating is spacious in all three rows, even for adults.

Buyers looking for a daily driver with some added capability should add the Pathfinder to their comparison list. It does a good job balancing plenty of what most people need, with extra capability SUV buyers want.


Driving Experience: 4/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-driving-image

The Pathfinder delivers a smooth and comfortable ride. The suspension easily absorbs road imperfections, without being so soft as to be unwieldy.

Handling is good for such a large vehicle, but the feedback at the steering wheel is near zero. The chassis communicates very little back to the driver, which is probably fine for most driving duty.

Despite very average power numbers, the Pathfinder gets to freeway speeds at a reasonable clip and is slightly faster than many popular options in the class. The switch to a traditional automatic transmission from the continuously variable transmission in the previous model feels more natural to most drivers and actually improved city fuel economy slightly.

Nissan paid close attention to interior noise when designing the Pathfinder, and it shows. The cabin is one of the quietest in the class and compares well even to some luxury models.

The upright shape of the redesigned exterior lends itself well to excellent visibility. Large windows and mirrors make it easy to see all around the vehicle, and a high seating position gives the driver an even better view.

The Pathfinder does not bring exciting handling like the Mazda CX-9 but competes well with other models in the class. Buyers in this segment are likely less concerned with driving thrills than they are with comfort and utility.


Fuel Efficiency: 3.5/5 stars

2022-nissan-pathfinder-fuel-image

The EPA estimates the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder to get 26 MPG on the highway and 21 in the city in base FWD trim. Oddly, AWD models receive a better rating of 27 mpg highway and 21 mpg city. Top-tier Platinum trim suffers a slight decrease in fuel economy dropping to 25 MPG highway and 20 mpg city, likely due to larger wheels and additional weight of its luxury trappings.

Numbers for the new Pathfinder represent a slight increase in city mpg over the outgoing model.

Compared to the V6 competition, these numbers are nearly identical to the Pilot, Telluride, and Palisade, and turbocharged four-cylinder competition like the Subaru Ascent and Mazda CX-9 are only marginally better.

In our week testing a loaded 4WD Pathfinder Platinum, we averaged 20 MPG in 275 miles of testing, in more freeway driving than city streets.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

2022-nissan-pathfinder-cost-image

In base S trim, the Nissan Pathfinder starts at an MSRP of $34,560. S trim includes tri-zone climate control, cloth seating surfaces, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 60/40 split second-row seating. Nissan Safety Shield 360 features the previously mentioned standard safety tech as well as driver alertness monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear sonar. 18-inch dark painted alloy wheel, push-button ignition, and six-speaker stereo round out the base specs.

The Pathfinder SV starts at $37,350 and adds heated front seats, ProPilot assist with semi-autonomous features, power-adjustable driver's seat, and remote start with intelligent climate control. Additional safety features include lane-keeping assist and blind-spot intervention. Tech upgrades for the SV trim include a SiriusXM satellite radio and a WiFi hotspot. Exterior upgrades include black roof rails and heated side mirrors.

Stepping up to the Pathfinder SL raises the base price to $40,740. SL trim is where the Pathfinder starts to get a little luxurious with leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen, and rear sunshades. The ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system links with the navigation system to automatically adjust the vehicle speed for corners, and Intelligent Around View Monitoring gives you a 360-degree view of your vehicle. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work wirelessly in SL trim, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink universal garage door opener is also included.

The top-tier Nissan Pathfinder Platinum that we tested starts at $47,340. Notable exterior changes include 20-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, and an included tow hitch. Inside Platinum models a wireless phone charging pad, Bose premium sound system with 13 speakers, quilted leather upholstery, and interior accent lighting up the luxury quotient. Captain's chair second-row seats with removable center console mean less seating capacity, but easier access and more comfort for middle-row passengers. Front seats are also more comfortable thanks to both heating and cooling functions. The gauge cluster is upgraded to a semi-customizable fully digital screen, and a head-up display is also included.

Adding all-wheel drive to any trim costs an additional $1900 and includes seven driving modes: Mud/Rut Mode, Sand Mode, Snow Mode, Tow Mode, Sport Mode, and Eco Mode.

For the best value, we'd choose the SL and then add the SL Premium Package, which adds the 20-inch wheel, tow package, Bose stereo, moonroof, wireless charger, and heated second-row captain's chairs from the Platinum model for just $2,900.


More Photos:

See more 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Photos.