2022 Nissan Pathfinder Review

Jack R. Nerad, Independent Expert | Jun 09, 2021

Introduction - Find the best Nissan deals!

The Nissan Pathfinder has been a perennial favorite among midsize SUV buyers, but it has been a bit overshadowed by new entrants in the segment in the past few years. The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are among some of the newer crossovers that have stolen the Pathfinder's thunder. In the face of this, Nissan has created an all-new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder designed to recapture some of the model's old magic and provide new features that today's midsize SUV buyers treasure.

Following Nissan's most recent strategy, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in relatively few trim levels compared to some competitors. Those trims are S, SV, SL, and Platinum. All trims are offered in both front-drive and 4-wheel-drive configurations. To supplement the trims, Nissan offers two equipment packages and 35 accessories for safety, security, or convenience. While the newest Pathfinder doesn't have a dedicated off-road trim, its design and equipment suggest a new commitment to off-roading.

The Pathfinder is entirely new for the 2022 model year. The exterior design has changed, and the interior is completely revamped. One fundamental change is the vehicle has significantly more space than its predecessor — a whopping 164.6 cubic feet of total interior volume compared with 154 for the outgoing model. For comparison, the 2021 Ford Explorer has 152.7 cubic feet of interior space, while the 2021 Toyota Highlander offers 141.3.

What Owners Say About the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder - Find the best Nissan deals!

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Green Front Quarter View

Photo: Jack Nerad

According to data collected from verified owners for the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 56% of previous-generation Nissan Pathfinder owners are male (matching the upper midsize SUV segment), and the median age of a Pathfinder owner is 54 years (vs. 55).

Owners say their favorite things about the previous-generation Pathfinder are (in descending order) the:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Interior design (in a tie with Powertrain)

Owners indicate their least favorite things about the previous-generation Pathfinder are (in descending order) the:

  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the J.D. Power 2020 APEAL Study, the previous-generation Pathfinder ranked number 12 out of 13 upper midsize SUVs.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder - Find the best Nissan deals!

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a Pathfinder Platinum with 4WD. Pricing for the vehicle evaluated for this review is not available, but Nissan has announced that the MSRP for a 2022 Pathfinder Platinum 4WD will be $48,090. The price does not include the $1,150 destination charge.

Getting In and Getting Comfortable

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Front Seats

What immediately impresses you when you enter a top-of-the-line 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is how attractive and luxurious the interior is. Its cabin could match up well with those of many luxury makes.

A buzzword these days about interior materials is "soft-touch." There is a buzz around it because car buyers like soft, upholstered surfaces versus hard plastic. And the 2022 Pathfinder Platinum fills the bill on that score, plus it offers leather seats, synthetic leather trim, and appropriate metal decor. 

Another currently popular feature is the panoramic sunroof. It's part of a package available on SV and SL trims, and we appreciate the natural light it casts into the cabin of the top-level Platinum trim.

In the all-new 2022 model, for the first time in its history, the Pathfinder features standard 8-passenger seating — bucket seats up front and two rows of bench seating for three passengers each. The driver's seat in the Pathfinder Platinum is 10-way power-adjustable with 2-way power lumbar support. The front passenger's seat is 4-way power-adjustable. The seats in the Platinum version tested had supple and attractive premium leather with luxurious quilting. They are both heated and ventilated.

The second-row seating is remarkable for a different reason: convenience. Whether captain's chairs or a bench, the "one-touch" seating arrangement enables the second-row seats to slide forward or to both slide and tilt forward to allow easier access to the third-row seating area. Notably, the slide-and-tilt feature works even when a child safety seat is fastened into the seating position that is being moved. Rear doors that provide large openings and swing out 90 degrees aid this process.

The third row can accommodate three passengers, and our exploration suggests that three kids or two adults could be reasonably comfortable in them, mainly if the second-row passengers cooperate.

Even with a family aboard, the 2022 Pathfinder provides good luggage space. With all three rows of seating in place, it has 16.6 cubic feet of cargo area, enough for six TSA-sized carry-on suitcases. With the third-row seat folded, cargo space jumps to 45 cubic feet.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder NissanConnect Infotainment System Review

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Interior Dashboard

The NissanConnect infotainment systems in various 2022 Pathfinders offer suitable screen sizes — 8 or 9 inches — and clarity of operation. They are not particularly flashy or in-your-face, but the best news is that they are immediately intuitive. Get in, and you know how to use them. No issues.

In the top-of-the-line 2022 Pathfinder Platinum, the infotainment system includes:

  • 9-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay (wireless and wired)
  • Android Auto (wired)
  • Satellite radio
  • NissanConnect Services with collision notification and other connected services
  • Door-to-door connected navigation (continues to provide directions via smartphone app after parking some distance from ultimate destination)
  • Surround-view camera

A wireless smartphone charging pad is conveniently located at the front of the center console. It is standard on the Platinum trim and optional on the SL. The up-level audio system is from Bose and offers 13 speakers, including subwoofers. The sound quality is excellent, and the system is standard on the Platinum trim and an option for SL buyers. The NissanConnect-facilitated Wi-Fi hotspot is another plus.

There is no mistaking the infotainment system's screen location. It is positioned high in the dash center, making it easy to see at a glance. In combination with the legible color head-up display, the result is excellent readability while driving.

While some might want innovative features and deep menus in the infotainment system, most of us want the simple-to-use operation the Pathfinder's NissanConnect system provides. I used the system for several tasks — music, news, navigation, phone calls — and it responded with no hiccups and caused no driver frustration. Familiar stereo volume and tuning knobs aid the cause. I'd call that a win.

What It's Like to Drive the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Blue Side View

Photo: Jack Nerad

You can now add another name in a world filled with competent three-row SUVs: the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. It offers a comfortable, quiet ride with little body lean in moderate cornering. Steering is responsive enough without being fussy or twitchy. And the brakes stop the Pathfinder with reassuring regularity. You might not fall in love with the Pathfinder's driving demeanor, but you certainly won't hate it.

Under the hood of the crossover is Nissan's stalwart 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. In this incarnation, the engine delivers 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Riding on liquid-filled engine mounts, the V6 is as smooth as the bald head of a baby. 

It drives either the front wheels or all four wheels; Nissan calls the latter "intelligent 4-wheel drive," though it doesn't have a transfer case or other attributes of a classic part-time 4WD system. It is front-drive biased and sends torque rearward when its electronics anticipate that might be beneficial, not waiting for wheel slip. 

The most remarkable feature of the 4WD system is its direct coupling that allows torque transfer directly on the clutch pack using oil pressure. This helps with starts from a standstill in low-traction situations.

We had the opportunity to test the mettle of the 4WD system in some moderately difficult off-road climbing and descending situations, and the Pathfinder acquitted itself well. Jeep needn't fret, but this edition of the Pathfinder certainly has more serious off-pavement chops than its most recent predecessor.

Every 2022 Pathfinder uses a new 9-speed automatic transmission with shift-by-wire gear selection. The steering wheel paddles enable you to select gears manually if you must, but we found the transmission was pretty much spot on in its choices. Pathfinders with the Intelligent 4WD system also have mode selection. Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow are your choices; all displayed as a pop-up notification on the instrument cluster.

The new dual-pinion electric power steering results in good control without the vagueness that some electric power steering units can suffer. Both front and rear suspensions are tuned for increased roll stiffness, and the results are palpable.

In all, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder has all the earmarks of a buttoned-up vehicle that is on target for its audience, although driving enthusiasts may not get overly excited. That said, Nissan engineers have tightened up the Pathfinder's handling without injuring ride quality, and that should make pretty much everyone happy.

Nissan Safety Shield 360 Review

2022 Nissan Pathfinder ProPilot Assist Display

Nissan was one of the first automakers to package and promote its advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS), and it calls its system Nissan Safety Shield 360. All 2022 Nissan Pathfinders have the following features within the Nissan Safety Shield 360 ADAS:

  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Rear automatic emergency braking
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

Additional standard safety features on the new Pathfinder include: 

  • Intelligent forward-collision warning
  • Driver attention monitor
  • Rear door alert
  • Rear sonar

The following features are optionally available:

  • Blind-spot collision assist, in which the system applies braking force to each wheel to help return the vehicle to its original lane
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Traffic sign recognition

In addition to Nissan Safety Shield 360, the Pathfinder offers another group of driver-assist features called ProPilot Assist. Previously a feature primarily reserved for top trim levels, it is available for the first time on the Pathfinder's SV and SL trims. It combines lane-centering assistance with adaptive cruise control to take some of the burdens out of open-highway driving and commuter stop-and-go traffic.

In the Platinum trim, ProPilot Assist with Navi-link connects the system's electronic brain to the navigation system. That allows it to use map information to help control the Pathfinder's speed on off-ramps and at highway junctions.

Over a full day of driving, the driver-assist features functioned just as they were designed. In many instances, their operation only becomes apparent with a gentle nudge here and there. The adaptive cruise control was easy to deploy, and it worked well. Happily, or unhappily as the case may be, the Montana test venue did not offer bumper-to-bumper traffic, so that functionality went untested.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder FAQ - Find the best Nissan deals!

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Green Rear Quarter View

Photo: Jack Nerad

How much cargo space does the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder have?

The 2022 Pathfinder has 16.6 cubic feet of cargo space with all three rows in use, 45 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 80.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. 

The midsize SUV is designed for real-world situations like toting a 120-quart cooler or four standard golf bags in the cargo area. Nissan engineers widened the cargo area and devised a hatch opening that enables the Pathfinder to haul 4x8 sheets of building materials flat on the floor.

In addition to the standard cargo area, the rear cargo area floor conceals a luggage box that offers nearly two cubic feet of storage. Learning from previous experience, the engineers made the new luggage box easier to clean.

Does the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder get good gas mileage?

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is EPA-rated to get 23 miles per gallon in combined driving in front-drive form. The Platinum trim with more equipment will get one mpg less. Unfortunately, we were unable to run a comprehensive fuel-economy test in our day with various Nissan Pathfinder models. However, our observed fuel economy using Nissan's instrumentation was 22 mpg.

Since it is equipped with an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, it is not unreasonable to expect that the Pathfinder will have a range of nearly 400 miles on a tankful of fuel.

Is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder safe?

Because the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is so new, at this writing, it has not been safety rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

How much is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder?

Pricing for the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder ranges from $33,410 for the Pathfinder S 2WD to $48,090 for a Platinum 4WD. Those prices do not include the $1,150 destination charge.

What are the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder competitors?

In the J.D. Power 2020 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Kia Sorento ranked highest in the upper midsize SUV segment. The Dodge Durango and the Toyota Highlander were the next highest-ranked models.

In the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout Study (APEAL), the Kia Telluride ranked highest in the upper midsize SUV segment. The Hyundai Palisade and the Dodge Durango were the next highest-ranked models.

Other competitors to the 2022 Pathfinder include the Chevrolet TraverseFord Explorer, and Honda Pilot.

Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Nissan deals!

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Red Rear Quarter View

The previous edition of the Nissan Pathfinder was a good vehicle with many virtues, but the all-new 2022 model is better in just about every way possible. The new Pathfinder looks better, rides better, and offers more interior space than the outgoing model. In addition, it is stuffed with helpful convenience features and has more safety equipment than ever before.

Some fans of the original Pathfinder might be disappointed that the new one doesn't embrace the off-road lifestyle as much as the first couple of generations did. The fact of the matter is that is not what today's Pathfinder buyers want. They want what the 2022 will give them — a safe, comfortable ride for their family in a vehicle that can handle all the gear they take with them. 

No, the new Pathfinder might not find every path. But it will go where its target buyers want it to go.

Jack R. Nerad has been road testing and writing about vehicles for decades for internet and print publications, including JDPower.com and others. He has a weekly podcast called America on the Road, and his work has appeared in scores of prestigious newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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