2022 Nissan Pathfinder

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Test Drive Review: Getting The Job Done

by Jay Traugott

The Nissan Pathfinder continues on its path (pun intended) as a key player in the midsize crossover segment. Redesigned inside and out for 2022, the Pathfinder still rides on the same platform as its predecessor, meaning it's a unibody crossover and not a body-on-frame SUV like the originals. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available, but all Pathfinders ship with a familiar naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, good for 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, paired to a nine-speed automatic which replaces the old and unexciting CVT.

The new Pathfinder's greatest strength is its spacious and well-designed interior. During our week-long test drive of a fully-loaded 4WD Platinum model, this reviewer moved to a new apartment and used the Pathfinder as his personal U-Haul. It did everything requested and more. Folding flat the second and standard third-row seats and electronic liftgate made moving day far easier than expected. With competitors like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and the Chevrolet Traverse, the Pathfinder's mission isn't easy but it's more than up to the task.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2021 Pathfinder?

The Pathfinder is all-new for 2022, and thankfully it found a path toward a new design team. The old Pathfinder was such a frumpy nondescript SUV. If it were an ice cream flavor, it would be fat-free vanilla. The new model is a massive departure in the design department. One might even call it striking. The 3.5-liter V6 engine has been carried over, but the terrible CVT transmission has been ditched in favor of a nine-speed automatic transmission. Along with the new body and gearbox, Nissan also designed an interior boasting all the latest technology.

Pros and Cons

  • Excellent value for money
  • Loads of interior space
  • Impressive towing capacity
  • Lots of standard safety features
  • Acceptable fuel economy
  • Old-school engine
  • Competition is strong
  • Expensive upper trims

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Pathfinder is not exciting to drive nor is it intended to be. But that doesn't make it a bad SUV.

Our Platinum grade's AWD system was nice to have but the local Denver weather was unseasonably warm and sunny; we didn't get to experience the Pathfinder in the snow. That's a shame because Nissan has several drive settings, including Snow, Standard, Sport, Mud/Rut, and Tow. Around-town and highway cruising was done entirely in Standard mode and was fuss-free. The Pathfinder provides a confident driving experience thanks to a new steering system that offers relatively fast response times though it's certainly not what you'd find in a BMW X5, for example.

The overall ride is quite smooth but one of our second-row passengers complained they felt too many bumps, even on paved roads. This could be partially blamed on our top grade Platinum's 20-inch wheels. Lower trimmed models come standard with 18-inch wheels and we predict they'll help provide a slightly smoother ride.

One key area Nissan needs to improve upon is the turning radius. It's huge. Maneuvering into tight spaces and parking spots can be a bit difficult. It just takes some getting used to.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder a good SUV?

The new Nissan Pathfinder is a solid choice for any family desiring a spacious three-row crossover. It's not the most thrilling vehicle to drive but that's okay. The Pathfinder's mission isn't to be a sporty vehicle but rather a multipurpose all-rounder. Just don't let its more aggressive, SUV-like exterior styling fool you. It's also not a serious off-roader because of its car-based platform. The optional AWD system can easily handle wintry weather and some rough spots but it does not take the place of a tried and true SUV like the Toyota 4Runner.

Without question, the Pathfinder's greatest attribute is the well-designed and spacious interior. A great deal of thought went into this and it shows. From the second and third-row USB ports, abundance of cupholders, and extremely comfortable captain's chairs, the 2022 Pathfinder's interior packaging is hard to beat. We like the sharpened, more SUV-like exterior appearance, but the interior is what owners will see and experience the most. Aside from the touchscreen that needs to be a bit larger, the Pathfinder's interior layout and design is its strongest selling point. That alone will continue to attract plenty of new and old customers and plenty of very satisfied owners.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Toyota Highlander CarBuzz

2022 Nissan Pathfinder vs Honda Pilot

The battle with both the competitors mentioned here has always been one-sided. The previous-generation Pathfinder felt old compared to the Honda Pilot, which has always been a firm favorite in the family transportation category. Now, the gap is closer than ever. The Honda 3.5-liter V6 is 4 hp shy on power but has 3 lb-ft more torque. Both now use nine-speed automatic gearboxes, and both are capable of similar performance, although the Pathfinder can tow up to 6,000 lbs while the Pilot manages only 5,000. Both vehicles also achieve nearly identical gas mileage estimates.

The Honda is more engaging to drive, but its interior isn't as elegant as the Pathfinder's new interior. And compared to the Pathfinder, the Honda also looks a bit generic. But Honda wins back points for more legroom for second- and third-row occupants and a higher passenger volume overall, also translating to slightly more cargo volume in all configurations. Both come with an impressive array of driver assistance features, which is really the most crucial buying decision considering the segment is family-focused. But there's one big differentiator, and that's price. The Nissan starts at $3,000 less than the Nissan and is $2,000 cheaper at the top of the spectrum. The Honda edges out the competition in a number of small metrics, but we feel the Nissan is strong value for money with not much compromise.

See Honda Pilot Review

2022 Nissan Pathfinder vs Toyota Highlander

The Highlander is a strong product, and there isn't any real criticism you can level at it, apart from the tiny third row and the uninspired handling. The Pathfinder is hardly a Z car, so that we won't hold that against the Toyota. Toyota's 3.5-liter V6 is slightly more powerful at 295 hp, but the performance figures are identical. The Pathfinder can tow a full 1,000 lbs more than the Highlander, though.

Their fuel consumption figures are close enough not to matter, and the Toyota is also equipped with a full suite of driver assistance features. The Highlander's interior technology is not as advanced, however. The center console is a bit clunky, and Toyota could have done better with the graphics.

Other than that, these two cars are pretty evenly matched. The top-spec Toyota is more affordable than the top-spec Pathfinder, but the Nissan comes with a lot of cool technology not available in the Toyota. At the bottom of the range, the Nissan is a couple of grand cheaper. This one is close enough to boil down to brand preference.

See Toyota Highlander Review

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Popular Comparisons

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