The 2021 Nissan Pathfinder Finally Earns Its Namesake

Following a gap year, an all-new generation of the Nissan Pathfinder has arrived for the 2022 model year. The redesign helps return the Pathfinder to its former glory. The fourth generation’s style earned it the name of “Mallfinder” from MotorTrend. The fifth-generation 2022 Nissan Pathfinder returns the SUV to a more aggressive styling, but more importantly, it also enhances its off-road capabilities.

Off-road enhancements in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Green 2019 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Nissan Pathfinder | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder now includes a knob that lets the driver adjust the driving mode for the appropriate terrain. The seven driving modes are Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow, reports MotorTrend. It includes a hill descent control switch as well, which keeps the speed when you release the accelerator. The previous model year Pathfinder had only a four-wheel-drive lock.

Improvements to the system that engages drive to the rear wheels are also a help for off-road driving. As MotorTrend explains, “a motor-actuated clamp can now proactively engage drive to the rear in varying amounts up to a 50/50 split.” The Pathfinder also features a forward camera to give drivers a view of the trail ahead when going over a hill.

Driving the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder has a completely different transmission. It has a nine-speed planetary-gear transmission instead of the continuously variable transmission (CVT) of the previous generation. MotorTrend reports that the new transmission “has a 55 percent broader gear ratio spread” than the old CVT did. While power and torque largely remain the same for the Pathfinder, acceleration should improve.

The new transmission should also make it easier to tow up to 6,000 pounds, and the Pathfinder now has a new trailer-sway control system. All-wheel drive is now available in addition to front-wheel drive. The powertrain includes a 3.5-liter engine, producing 284-hp and 259-lb-ft of torque.

Auto stop/start is new, and fuel efficiency generally improves (although all-wheel drive drops the fuel efficiency by one MPG). And, despite being much boxier, the Pathfinder is more aerodynamic. The Pathfinder has increased stiffness and a firm ride. Additional sound-dampening materials have been added, making the cabin quieter than in the past.

The interior is no slouch either

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is great for passengers and cargo. The rear doors open nice and wide, helping easily load kids or car seats. The Pathfinder has proximity-key unlocking on the rear doors as well.

All trims except the base model have a power release to lift and tilt the second-row captain’s chairs out of the way for entry to the third row. This works even when an empty child seat is in a second-row seat. The third row is wide enough to comfortably fit three kids.

In addition to a spacious cargo area, the Pathfinder also has almost two cubic feet of underfloor storage. The front seats have extra-large cupholders in the door, and the passenger side has a wide shelf that can hold two smartphones.

Available tech features include a Wi-Fi hotspot, a larger 9-inch touchscreen, Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an around-view monitor, a Bose audio system, wireless device charging, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, and a 10.8-inch head-up display. The Pathfinder comes standard with Nissan Safety Shield 360. Additional advanced safety features are available as part of the ProPilot Assist, which includes adaptive cruise control, steering assist, and traffic sign recognition.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is truly able to go out on the path now. The starting price is $34,560, but adding all-wheel drive is an additional $1,900. If you go all the way to the top trim, it starts at $47,430. The new Pathfinder will go on sale in July 2021.

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