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  5. First Look: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Derek Shiekhi | Feb 11, 2021

Exterior view of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

In the late 1980s, Nissan made one SUV for the U.S. market: the Pathfinder. That was it, a one-size-fits-all adventure vehicle. There was no array of models that fit into different segments. Pathfinder was just a word to describe the anti-hero in a movie. A crossover was only something you'd see Magic Johnson perform on the court at the Forum.

These days, there's a Nissan CUV or SUV to fit almost any lifestyle. The Kicks is made for people who need a small two-row vehicle that's nimble enough to zip through urban environments. The Armada has three rows, room for up to eight passengers and four-wheel drive to get them where they need to go. Despite all of the market fragmentation and white spaces that Nissan has filled with people-movers, the Pathfinder is still going strong as an SUV that not only functions as a comfortable every-day vehicle, but also as a means of getting far away from the 9-to-5 world.

The 2022 model marks the start of the Pathfinder's fifth generation. Available in S, SV, SL and Platinum trim levels, it adopts the upright design language of some of its younger siblings. Thanks to substantially updated technology, a new transmission and an available new four-wheel drive system with a variety of different drive and terrain modes, it's more prepared for adventures than ever before.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Exterior

Exterior view of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

With its wide, chrome-framed V-motion grille, two-level front lighting, harder lines, "floating" roof and available two-tone paint jobs, the newest Pathfinder fits in with Nissan's more recently updated SUVs.

While Nissan stopped short of returning the Pathfinder to its body-on-frame roots, it did give the newest version of it a blockier, sturdier look than its curvier predecessor. If you look closely, you'll see the visual connections to the original model, such as the three slots cut into the top of the grille and pronounced fender flares over the available 18- or 20-inch wheels. It's impossible to miss the big letters on the stamped-out rear liftgate spelling out P A T H F I N D E R.

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Interior

Interior view of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

In standard form, the Pathfinder can seat eight people with its second- and 60/40-split third-row bench seats. In properly equipped models, folding and sliding the EZ Flex second row forward to ease entry to the third row is as easy as pressing a button on one of the outboard sides. A new seven-seat configuration is available for the first time ever on the Pathfinder and features two captain's chairs in the second row separated by a removable console. All passengers benefit from acoustic laminated front glass, thicker glass in the second row and increased sound insulation in the door panels and floor. Altogether, those changes absorb 60 percent more engine noise.

According to Nissan, even with all three rows of seats in place, there's enough cargo space for a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags. When both back rows of seats are down, the Pathfinder can haul 4x8-foot sheets of plywood.

The newest Pathfinder receives significant tech updates in every major area. Two of the biggest ones are behind the new steering wheel. An available 10.8-inch head-up display is new to the Pathfinder lineup. A seven-inch digital dashboard is standard equipment, but can be upgraded to a massive 12.3-inch display. There are two different sizes for the center touchscreens. The basic unit measures eight inches diagonally; the larger display spans nine inches. NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a no-cost feature in all grades of Pathfinder. A wireless version of Apple CarPlay and a wireless charging pad, as well as an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot, are available for the ultimate in convenient connectivity.

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Powertrain

View of the engine block of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder


The naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 is a carryover from the last Pathfinder and still has 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. However, it's no longer connected to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). Nissan replaced it with a conventional nine-speed automatic. No word on fuel economy figures yet, but they shouldn't be wildly different from the outgoing Pathfinder's ratings, which went as high as 20 city, 27 highway and 23 combined mpg for two-wheel-drive models.

On the low end, the new engine/transmission combo helps the Pathfinder tow 3,500 pounds; with the available tow package, that number shoots up to 6,000 pounds. Trailer Sway Control across the model range helps make pulling those loads less stressful.

Four-wheel-drive Pathfinders are equipped with an all-new Intelligent 4WD system that offers seven drive and terrain mode settings: Standard, Sport, Eco, Tow, Snow, Sand and Mud/Rut.

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Safety

View of the safety features of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2022 Pathfinder joins other Nissan vehicles in getting the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of features, which includes Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and more. Nissan upped the resolution and broadened the viewing angle of the available Intelligent Around View Monitor.

Nissan's ProPilot Assist comes to the SV and SL versions of the Pathfinder and works with the Intelligent Cruise Control and steering assist systems to maintain a preset speed and following distance, bring the Pathfinder to a full stop, if necessary, and bring it back up to speed when the traffic ahead clears. ProPilot Assist, Navi-link and the Door-to-Door Navigation System slow the Pathfinder Platinum down for upcoming curves in the freeway and highway exits.

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Overall

Exterior view of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Nearly 40 years after its debut, the Pathfinder is still moving ahead. The 2022 version will be more technologically modern and capable in the rough than the outgoing model, and look right at home alongside its fellow crossovers and SUVs in showrooms.

Expect to see the 2022 Pathfinder in AutoNation Nissan showrooms and for Nissan to release a full pricing breakdown this summer.

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