By Peter Perrotta
There is something about the term “all new” that gets most consumers excited.
There is an excited anticipation. Is this product really “all new” or did they just slap a new label on the Clorox bottle and make it look like it’s been updated?
The folks at Nissan have been producing their popular SUV model, the Pathfinder, for 35 years. That’s a pretty nice run of sales success for any model.
For 2022, however, the powers that be at that Japanese auto maker decided that the Pathfinder not only needed a refresh, but an “all new” look from the ground up.
I recently jumped behind the wheel of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4WD for one week to see just how new the “all new” Pathfinder is.
While the new edition Pathfinder is about the same size as its predecessor, it now carries an overall more “substantial” or “rugged yet luxurious” look that gives its curb presence a richer look.
The front fascia and grill work have been reconfigured to give it a more rugged stance.
Jared Haslam, vice president of Product and Services Planning for Nissan USA, says that is the exact look that their product engineers were going for.
“Thirty-five years after the launch of the original model, Pathfinder has returned to its rugged roots, loaded with the benefit of everything learned along the way,” says Haslam. “Today’s large SUV owners want a vehicle that conveys strength and rugged capability, while using advanced safety and technology features to keep their family safe and comfortable during everyday adventures.”
So besides the bold, new rugged but stylish look, what else is new on this 2022 Pathfinder?
The power plant and transmission, for starters. The 2022 Pathfinder now features a 284 horsepower, 3.5 liter direct injection V6 engine and an all new 9-speed transmission.
The new power plant and transmission is coupled with an “intelligent” 4WD system that features a 7 position drive and terrain mode selector designed to give you optimal traction on any kind of terrain and in any kind of weather.
During my one-week test drive I drove the new Pathfinder in a wind and rain storm and I took in off road on some sandy Pinelands trails.
The new 4WD drive train and transmission held up very well under any adverse weather or off road conditions I drove.
At the same time, I thought, while the handling could be more refined, this new Pathfinder also does very well cruising on smooth highway surfaces.
Moreover, the 284 horsepower, 3.5 V6 engine is plenty powerful to get this Pathfinder on and off the highway merge lanes rather smoothly.
Other new features for 2022 Pathfinder include: an available 6,000-pound towing capacity; flexible seating options featuring a third row allowing for an 8-passenger configuration or 7-seat option with second row captain’s chairs; a new 10.8-inch heads up display and a 12.3-inch digital dashboard.
I found the new Pathfinder to be very roomy and comfortable inside. When you settle behind the wheel of this SUV there is plenty of head and leg room and the sight lines are clear.
The interior cargo space is very ample. It just so happens that the week I test drove this Pathfinder was the same week my wife and I were doing a home improvement project. It withstood several trips to Home Depot hauling wood, lumber and large boxes quite easily.
The only refinement I would make on this new Pathfinder is in its overall ride “feel”. This large SUV offers a more sophisticated ride suspension and handling feel. It kind of floats over the road. I personally prefer a more “sticky” ride where the driver gets to feel the road underneath a bit more.
The folks at Car and Driver tended to agree with me. Car and Driver gave the new Pathfinder high marks for its quiet cabin, impressive towing capacity and plentiful storage cubbies and bins.
On the other hand, Car and Driver handed out low marks for its “lackluster handling and numb steering.”
“This latest Pathfinder offers more tech and more space than the previous generation, and new, rugged styling that’s appealing,” states Car and Driver.
The base price of the SL model I tested is $41,490. With options and destination charges it carried a bottom line sticker of $47,435.
Added options included: $2,900 for the SL premium package; $470 for black painted grill and badging; $255 for carpeted floor mats; $795 for illuminated kick plates and welcome lighting and $350 for two-tone paint,
The SL premium package includes: power moonroof; 20-inch alloy wheels; tow hitch; an upgraded Bose sound system; heated second row captain’s chairs and a wireless charging pad.
The new Pathfinder gets an overall 23 miles per gallon rating from the EPA – 27 mpg on the highway and 21 in city driving.
On average, this Pathfinder uses about 4.3 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven and will cost about $1,550 per year in fuel costs.
The new Pathfinder has not been crash tested for safety by the NHTSA.
Overall, I feel the new Pathfinder is worth checking out if you and your family are in the market for leasing or purchasing a three-row SUV.
It’s not going to be an easy road to haul for this new Pathfinder as it competes in a segment with some popular models, like the Hyundai Palisade the Kia Telluride and the Toyota Highlander.
Peter Perrotta’s On the Road column appears weekly. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and questions.
This week’s “On The Road” column is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars.