Close Look: Here’s Why the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Is a Massive Leap Forward

I should start this close look at the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder with a bit of honesty. I wasn’t exactly a massive fan of the last-gen Pathfinder. Despite offering great value, the older model never truly impressed me with its interior quality or exterior aesthetic. However, I approached this brand-new model with an open mind, and my opinion on this family SUV did a complete 180.

Before I walk you through this all-new SUV, it is worth noting that I got my hands on a pre-production model. Regardless, here is what you can expect to see when it arrives in dealers this summer.

Is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder completely re-designed?

An image of a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder parked outdoors.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder | Nissan

In short, absolutely. The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder features a completely reworked aesthetic that features similar styling cues to the current Rogue. Upfront, you’ll find the brand’s V motion grille with large horizontal slats directly behind the front emblem. If I had to summarize the Pathfinder’s new look, it would be sharp, but not overstyled.

Nothing ages a mass-market vehicle quicker than overly complex design elements. Thankfully, the new Pathfinder strays away from this. Instead, you get strong pronounced body lines that seemingly cut through the front and rear fenders. Since these meet nicely with both the headlights and taillights, this SUV’s design feels quite cohesive in person.

One benefit to this design choice is that the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder looks more robust than previous generations, even muscular from some angles.

Nissan told me this new model takes inspiration from the 1987 model. This is most apparent in the rear end, where a major trim piece unites the taillights. Additionally, this carries that aforementioned shoulder line from the rear fender into the rear hatch.

My only drawback with this SUV’s exterior is the massive letters on the rear hatch. Since they are quite large, they can be quite distracting, taking some attention away from the rest of the elegant design.

The massive leap forward is in interior quality

An image of a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder parked outdoors.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder | Nissan

Exterior aside, the best part of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is undoubtedly its interior. Despite looking at a pre-production model, all of the stitching and leather quality seem like a massive leap forward over the previous generation. This is especially noticeable once you sit inside and begin to poke around with some of its new gadgets.

Speaking of gadgets, you can now get an optional nine-inch infotainment screen housed in a glossy black bezel. This is an important detail since the rest of the interior features a combination of leather and plastic. Having the difference in color and texture serves to liven things up considerably. Most important of all, it makes the interior look quite premium.

To my surprise, the Platinum trim I looked at now has an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Aside from its sheer size, the level of adjustability is massive, a major improvement from the last gen’s analog gauges. Aside from being pretty, it’ll allow you to clearly see information from the ProPilot driver assist and the variety of onboard safety systems.

Depending on the trim level, you can have seating for seven or eight people. However, the seven-seater version I saw had one unusual party trick. That’s because the center console in the second row is completely removable. If you’re going on a road trip, that extra space could be a lifesaver.

Is the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder built well?

An image of a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder parked outdoors.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder | Nissan

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We could sit here and talk about design or tech all day, but none of that matters if your daily driver isn’t built well. To this end, even a pre-production 2022 Nissan Pathfinder managed to impress me. During Nissan’s walkaround presentation, I found myself touching just about every surface and checking for squeaks and rattles. To my surprise, everything inside of this family SUV seems very well put together.

Admittedly, I’ll have to get on the road to test this fully. However, this family SUV impresses in the flesh thanks to its details and fit and finish. If you’ve previously written off the Pathfinder, this new model is definitely worth a closer look.