Nissan’s Pathfinder finds a new path

Passion runs deep for the iconic Nissan Pathfinder. Owners love its long heritage of rugged capability, and they want more of it – while seeking family flexibility and advanced connectivity and safety features. (Photo: Business Wire)

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Passion runs deep for the iconic Nissan Pathfinder. Owners love its long heritage of rugged capability, and they want more of it – while seeking family flexibility and advanced connectivity and safety features. (Photo: Business Wire)

Redesigned for 2022, Pathfinder stays relevant amongst crowded field

Everyone needs to find their path in life. So in this way my tester is appropriately named. The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder can help you find such a path, at least behind the wheel of this midsize SUV. Certainly this segment is one of the most crowded and most competitively and the Pathfinder isn’t first on the minds of consumers, but that’s why the automaker redesigned it for 2022.

And on looks alone, the refreshed Pathfinder should garner attention. It certainly had my attention. Call me old school, but I like the looks of the Pathfinder. Even with the redesign it still looks stout, rugged and holds true to some of the older crossover looks, as in a little bit station wagon, a little bit SUV and a little bit car. And what’s wrong with that?

The stark difference for this model year is in the classy and near luxurious-looking back end. As the Jeep Wagoneer as emerged as a frontrunner in the segment with elegant looks, the Pathfinder feels the need to keep up by offering improved looks with refinement and a hint of ruggedness. All in all, the overall new looks work well for the Pathfinder and this is the best-looking Pathfinder ever.

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Can I get a hallelujah? It is called for as the most drastic and significantly improved feature to the 2022 Pathfinder’s powertrain is the nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces the continuously variable transmission prior. I despise CVTs and noticed immediately how smoother the new transmission was. Sure the 3.5-liter V6 seems less impressive and lacks a turbo (as others in the segment have) and the 284 horsepower comes off pedestrian but can still be defined as adequate. But just getting rid of the CVT makes the Pathfinder so much better.

Off the line the Pathfinder is peppy but the other area that is impressive is in the confident steering. There’s no body sway through turns, which can’t be said for many other similarly-sized SUVs in this segment.

Inside the big criticism for the Pathfinder is the same for so many other seven/eight-passenger SUVs out there. What size are these passengers because the third row is cramped and not comfortable for adults. Otherwise, the interior is widely improved with high-quality materials used and a quiet cabin overall.

Nissan’s infotainment is outstanding. It offers up plenty of technology and smart phone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but is not overly cumbersome. I appreciate the intuitive nature of the system and it gets high marks for doing all you need a system like this to do.

As for cargo room, the redesign seems to be conducive to increasing the overall interior volume. There’s 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row of seats which is adequate and improves to 45.1 cubic feet with those cramped seats folded flat. Overall there’s 80.5 cubic feet of cargo room in the Pathfinder.

My tester was the top-of-the-line Platinum trim with all-wheel drive (AWD). MSRP is $48,090 and had a few extra niceties like illuminated kick plates and welcome lighting and captain’s chair floor mats. As such, my tester’s final price was $50,290.

The 2022 Pathfinder with AWD has an EPA rating of 20 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of suburban driving, I averaged nearly 23 mpg which felt impressive for a vehicle this size, with all-wheel drive.

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It’s unlikely you’d take the Pathfinder too far off the path, although you certainly could. But a vehicle like this well suited as a family hauler with a spirited side. Now redesigned, the 2022 Pathfinder stays relevant and current. And it warrants mentioning one more time, the new looks are only outdone by that new and improved transmission.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $48,090/$50,290
  • Mileage.......................................... 20 mpg/city; 25 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 3.5-liter V6
  • Horsepower................................. 284 hp/259 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. 9-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ Four-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Smyrna, Tennessee

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