Like many of today’s three-row SUVs, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder aims to be a replacement for a minivan, but with a rugged appearance and a bit of towing and off-road capability. To that end, the Pathfinder receives a comprehensive redesign for the 2022 model year, which Nissan is hoping will put its three-row mid-size SUV in contention with segment leaders such as the Hyundai Palisade, the Kia Telluride, and the Toyota Highlander. A V-6 engine is paired to a nine-speed automatic; front-wheel drive is standard but buyers who plan to venture off-road will want the optional all-wheel drive system. The cabin features room for seven or eight passengers across three rows, and Nissan offers a host of standard driver-assistance and infotainment features—with even more advanced tech available as options.
What’s New for 2022?
Completely new for 2022, the Pathfinder sheds the frumpy design of the 2020 model in favor of a rugged and modern look. Expect to see the new Pathfinder in Nissan dealerships in summer 2021.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
While the 2022 Pathfinder retains the 284-hp 3.5-liter V-6 from the previous generation model, it drops the continuously-variable automatic transmission (CVT) in favor of a new nine-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard but all trims can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Upgrading to the all-wheel drive system also adds a set of seven drive modes, including off-road focused Sand and Mud/Rut modes. At our test track, our front-wheel drive Pathfinder SL test vehicle got to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds; the all-wheel drive managed it in 6.6 seconds. Those results mean the all-wheel drive Pathfinder is quicker than the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander. Handling is utterly forgettable and not in the least entertaining, but the Pathfinder’s ride is fairly smooth, and Nissan’s attention to sound deadening elements makes the cabin extra quiet when cruising.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
According to the EPA, the most efficient Pathfinder is actually the one with optional all-wheel drive, which earned ratings of 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined; the front-wheel drive model earned the same city and combined ratings but only 26 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel economy test, our all-wheel drive test vehicle beat its EPA rating and returned 28 mpg. For more information about the Pathfinder’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
It’s inside where the 2022 Pathfinder takes its biggest leap forward over the outgoing 2020 model. A far more modern and truck-like interior design replaces the dated styling of the last generation. The Pathfinder remains a three-row SUV but buyers can now choose to swap the standard second-row bench seat for captain’s chairs—a desirable feature in a family crossover. Nissan has integrated more storage cubbies this time around, including a large bin below the center console that’s accessible by the driver or front-seat passenger. Upper trim levels come appropriately decked out with luxuries such as semi-aniline leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof.
Infotainment and Connectivity
An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard and runs the latest version of the NissanConnect software interface; a larger 9.0-inch display is standard on the SL and Platinum models. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard and the former can be synced wirelessly on upper trims. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display, an on-board Wi-Fi hotspot, a wireless smartphone charging pad, SiriusXM satellite radio, a head-up display, and an in-dash navigation system are all optional features. A fairly basic six-speaker stereo is standard but a 13-speaker Bose system is optional.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
All Pathfinders come with a host of driver-assistance features as standard, including automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic high-beam headlamps. A semi-autonomous driving mode that Nissan calls ProPilot Assist is standard on SV, SL, and Platinum trims. For more information about the Pathfinder’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode