The All-New 2022 Nissan Pathfinder: Legends Never Die

·7 min read
Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

The Pathfinder’s reputation precedes it. When the boxy Nissan made its debut as a two-door sport-ute in 1987, it became the “it” vehicle for a generation of voyagers and thrill seekers. Originally based on Nissan’s Hardbody Truck, its unmistakable angular build boasted a modern interior and serious off-road capability. A premium vehicle with a penchant for outdoor leisure activities, the Pathfinder was quick to develop a cult following among adventure aficionados, and it lasted through the decades. After 34 years of evolution, Nissan has honored its heritage by delivering a fifth-generation Pathfinder that is more rugged, more capable, and more luxurious than ever before.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

In Pursuit of Adventure

After spending more than a year indoors, we’re ready to take a much-needed detour off the beaten path and the all-new, ruggedly redesigned 2022 Nissan Pathfinder—starting at just $33,410—is an ideal companion for the journey ahead. Flexing an athletic new physique, it’s available in four well-appointed trim levels (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and has been refreshed with its most robust styling to date; its exceedingly bold stature feels mighty and refined all at once. Under the hood, the Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter 284-hp V6 engine, and it’s outfitted for the first time ever with a nine-speed automatic transmission that delivers predictive and responsive shifting. On the road, its steering is quick and predictable as a result of new, dual-pinion electric power steering, and its muscular stance comes standard with wider 255/50R20 tires that offer greater contact with the pavement than before, for more controlled handling.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

Available with an Intelligent 4x4 system, the Pathfinder gives drivers confidence and support through challenging weather or terrain. The sure-footed system is able to help anticipate wheel slip before it occurs, by monitoring throttle angle, vehicle speed, and steering to transfer torque to the wheels accordingly. The 4x4 configurations also see the addition of hill descent control as well as an intuitive Drive and Terrain Mode Selector, which offers the ability to switch between seven different drive modes (Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Mud, Rut, and Tow). A turn of a dial tailors the vehicle’s performance and response to road conditions.

The capabilities don’t end there; the Pathfinder is also a towing champ. While most competitors’ towing capacities top out at 5,000 to 5,600 pounds, the Pathfinder is primed to handle a maximum of 6,000—more than enough to tow most mid-size campers, let alone two ATVs. The Pathfinder is also equipped with Trailer Sway Control, which will automatically slow down the vehicle in the event it senses potentially hazardous swaying movement from the trailer, offering an extra level of assurance as you travel with precious cargo in tow.

Relentlessly Versatile

The Pathfinder’s performance and handling is matched by its versatile interior. The wide-opening doors reveal a spacious family hauler. Second-row bench seating comes standard, providing enough room for eight. And the available second-row captain’s chairs include a detachable center console that requires no extra tools to remove or reinstall. The third row is generously sized to accommodate taller adults, measuring up with more headroom than most competitors and—thanks to the convenience of EZ FLEX® seating—getting into the rear seats is also effortless. Located behind the second-row seats on both driver or passenger sides, Nissan’s one-touch push button alleviates any strenuous lifting and sliding in order to access the third row. The sensible design of the EZ FLEX® seating is not inhibited by a car seat, either; it can angle most empty front-facing child seats to provide third-row access without the need to uninstall the seat.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

There’s also ample storage for everything from smaller essentials to larger gear and supplies. The floating space beneath the center console has plenty of room for packages and purses, and, up top, the passenger dashboard is fitted with an open slot that’s ideal for holding large cellular devices. It’s lined in non-slip rubber, a thoughtful design element that helps to keep your items in place in the event you encounter bumpy roads or venture off-road. The Pathfinder is also outfitted with 16 beverage holders, including enlarged door pockets which keep your favorite oversized reusable water bottles secure. The cargo hold is large enough for a variety of bulky paraphernalia, such as four golf bags, six carry-on suitcases, or a jumbo 120-quart cooler. It even has the width to transport a piece of 4x8 building material laid flat on the trunk floor. Cleverly designed to accommodate additional supplies, a plastic-lined storage compartment sits beneath the cargo floor and features a self-supporting lid for easy cleaning and loading. The myriad of expansive and adaptable cargo options means there will be enough room to finish up those lingering home projects or pack up and leave town for a spontaneous weekend excursion.

Brawn and Brains

Underpinning the Pathfinder’s able-bodied physique is a heap of smart tech, safety features, and innovative driver assists. The infotainment center’s available 9-inch touchscreen offers seamless connectivity, crisp graphics, and an easy-to-use interface. All trim levels come standard with NissanConnect® linked with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. A Wi-Fi Hotspot, wireless smartphone-charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay® integration, and a 13-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system are available on higher trim levels as well. Behind the wheel, the modern 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is complemented by an available 10.8-inch Head-Up Display, bringing nearly three feet of customizable technology to your sightline. Up front, the Pathfinder has both Type C and Type A USB ports, while the rear rows each get a pair of USB ports with an additional 120-volt power outlet in the second-row for juicing up larger electronics such as tablets and laptops.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

Every Pathfinder comes with Nissan Safety Shield® 360, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist, and Rear Automatic Braking. Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert also come standard alongside class-exclusive Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, available Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention, and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Implemented for the first time ever on SV and SL trim levels, Pathfinder will have available Nissan ProPILOT Assist that combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to offer hands-on, driver-assist technology. The smart system aids in controlling acceleration, braking, and steering in both heavy traffic and open-highway driving. The Pathfinder’s Platinum trim level will have ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link, which works in conjunction with real-time navigation cues to proactively reduce speeds for freeway curves, junctions, and exits en route to your destination.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

Capable Across Generations

The fifth-generation Pathfinder is packed with design elements inspired by its iconic predecessors, from the strong, flared-out fenders to the angular quarter windows. The diagonal C-pillars and trio of signature slots positioned just below the hood also serve as an homage to previous Pathfinders—lending an air of nostalgia for their erstwhile “hidden” rear door handles and chamfered front ends. Its V-Motion grille—flanked by two sleek LED headlights—and floating roofline are hallmarks of contemporary Nissan design, making the Pathfinder both instantly recognizable as a Nissan and exceedingly easy on the eyes. With 16 new colorways, it's hard to choose just one, but each looks equally appealing with mud strewn across the fenders.

Paying homage to the past while embracing the now, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a reflection of the capability, versatility, and fun that’s been synonymous with the nameplate for 34 years. The Pathfinder’s highly anticipated return to ruggedness is long overdue, so give it the warm welcome it deserves.

Photo credit: Nissan
Photo credit: Nissan

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