The Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize three-row SUV that we've long praised for its spacious cabin and strong towing figures. Outside of those attributes, however, the current Pathfinder struggles to make an impact amid a competitive set of rivals. Now, Nissan has redesigned the Pathfinder with a new transmission, updated chassis and exterior design that marks a departure from the soft — and, frankly, sleepy — look of the previous model. And there are a lot of advancements under the skin too.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder
The new Pathfinder uses the same engine as its predecessor: a 3.5-liter V6 making 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. But that doesn't mean it will feel identical from behind the wheel. Nissan has mated the engine to a nine-speed automatic transmission sourced from auto supplier ZF, which we expect will improve on-road feel. (Although, secretly, we quite liked the continuously variable automatic in the last Pathfinder.)
Mirroring its blocky exterior design, the interior of the new Pathfinder has adopted an adventurous motif. Large, wide panels emphasize the breadth of the cabin, while the available digital instrument panel and large central touchscreen offer a touch of modernity. The traditional console-mounted shifter is out and replaced by a smaller electronic version that takes up less real estate. Rounding out the dash upgrades is a new steering wheel with a thin outer rim and flat bottom. It's a serious visual upgrade over the droopy-looking predecessor.
All 2022 Pathfinders will come equipped with a solid set of tech features. Standard equipment includes a 7-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Nissan's Safety Shield 360 suite of driving aids is also included, and it's packed with features including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning.
Most Pathfinders will be able to tow a maximum of 3,500 pounds and feature standard sway control. Optional for the SV and SL grades — and standard on the Platinum — is a towing package that increases this capacity to 6,000 pounds. That puts the Pathfinder near the top of its class, beating out rivals including the Ford Explorer (5,600 pounds) and Honda Pilot (5,000 pounds). However, the Dodge Durango bests all with a mighty 8,700-pound tow rating.
Yes, it looks like a wall of sheer granite, but there are notes of finesse and nuance to the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. Especially in the area of technology, this SUV has grown up quite a bit. Ultimately, though, with its carryover engine and a revised version of its aging frame, it seems a stretch to imagine the new Pathfinder measures up to modern champs like the Kia Telluride, Honda Pilot and our other top-rated picks in the three-row SUV segment.