New Pathfinder’s redesign draws on its rugged, adventure-going roots

Closer look at the 2022 model - 35 years and going strong.

Nissan’s mid-size SUV has been going strong for 35 years — for 2022, the Pathfinder hits the market hard with a rugged look and redesign, a more responsive 9-speed transmission paired to 4WD, better towing capabilities, seating for 8, and a massive 12.3-inch digital dashboard, to get things started. Need more space? There’s also the larger and refreshed 2021 Armada.

The new model enters its 5th-generation, and while the iconic Japanese family hauler has proven its longevity, this redesign was much needed for a model last overhauled in 2013 with some facelifts along the way.

But in an exploding SUV market, facelifts aren’t going to cut it anymore. Fortunately, the new Pathfinder is a completely new beast from the ground up, both inside and out. And from the looks of it, worth the wait — for weekend adventure-seekers and everyday families alike. 

(Though, we’d still take a vintage, off-road 1986 Pathfinder any day!)

New design pays homage to the original 

Aside from gaining a bigger presence — from larger tires and wider stance to a more dominant front end — Nissan’s goal here was to return to the Pathfinder’s adventure-going origins. As they put it, “returning to its rugged roots, loaded with the benefit of everything learned along the way.” 

- Advertisement -

Paying homage to the original Pathfinder, the new model finds the iconic three-slot grille up front, and a more squared-off rear liftgate design at the back. Plus, that huge, satin chrome PATHFINDER logo.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
2022 Nissan Pathfinder. Photo: Nissan

Compared to the outgoing version, the 2022 SUV gains blister fenders, a shorter front overhang, C-shaped headlights, floating roofline, and more streamlined rear LED taillights. A Pathfinder first, the back C-pillars are designed to accommodate the use of two-tone paint. 

Coupled with new aluminum-alloy wheel designs and new solid dark green paint scheme (dubbed Obsidian Green Pearl), the Pathfinder’s overall new look adds more strength and ability than anything we’ve seen in the past few generations of this SUV.

Performance: same engine but with a new transmission and Intelligent 4WD 

Under the hood is the same 3.5L Direct Injection V6 making 248-hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. But it’s now matte to an improved 9-speed transmission Nissan promises now “provides a smooth, strong, direct vehicle response.” 

Of course, we’ll put this to the test once we get behind the wheel of the 2022 offering — including the Pathfinder’s improved driving dynamics courtesy of a new dual-pinion electric power steering system and wider 255-mm tires.

All models come with 4WD, 7 drive modes (Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow), and standard Trailer Sway Control for the available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Interior

2022 Nissan Pathfinder interior
2017 Pathfinder (left. Photo: Amee Reehal) vs 2022 Pathfinder (right. Photo: Nissan)
- Advertisement -

Sure, while we can appreciate the new Pathfinder’s bolder design cues and ramped-up performance, we know families are looking for that comfortable interior loaded with enough tech to keep the kids quiet on those long haul road trips. 

This starts with some key standards across all 2022 trims, including NissanConnect which opens the door to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, and WiFi Hot Spot. As well as ProPILOT Assist on select models and Nissan Safety Shield 360 with a suite of safety features, all included on all trims. Note, in Canada ProPILOT Assist (without Navi-link) is standard. Other interior “freebies” include:

  • wireless Apple CarPlay
  • wireless smartphone charging pad 
  • Premium 13-speaker Bose audio system
  • navigation
  • improved resolution Intelligent Around View Monitor 

New screens and more upscale interior materials

Bigger screens are the norm these days, and the 2022 Pathfinder is no exception with an optional 12.3-inch digital dashboard with driver screen options. In the cockpit, a massive 10.8-inch HUD is also available — a Pathfinder first — splashing pertinent info on the windshield including turn-by-turn directions. 

In the centre up front, Nissan adds an optional floating-style 9-inch colour touchscreen centre display up top, with a spacious new “bridge” front centre console housing a new electric shifter down below.

Quick look at the overall interior environment, it’s clear Nissan ramped up quality of material as well, including woven cloth, leather- or premium quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats offered in a range of new colours and materials. Along with some new ambient interior lighting and brushed bronze metallic accents in the mix.

New 2nd-row captain’s chairs and standard 8-passenger seating

2022 Nissan Pathfinder interior seating
2022 Nissan Pathfinder. Photo: Nissan

A major Pathfinder cabin upgrade for 2022 are the seats, including available 2nd row captain’s chairs with a removable centre console (no tools required, by the way). The 2nd row bench seat will offer a one-touch release fold/side with push button activation from both the driver and passenger sides — a huge bonus for families with rear passenger kids. 

Unlike the outgoing Pathfinder, the 2022 will come with 8-passenger seating as standard. 

2022 Pathfinder Trims

4 trims will be available across North America, including

  • S
  • SV
  • SL
  • Platinum

However, the Canadian market Pathfinder gains standard features (less one package) not available in the US. These include:

  • NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM
  • NissanConnect with WiFi Hot Spot
  • Blind spot intervention
  • Intelligent lane intervention 
  • Heated washer nozzles 
  • Heated leather steering wheel
  • Heated front seats
  • Panoramic Moonroof (standard earlier in the Canadian gradewalk than the U.S.’ – standard on Pathfinder SV and above in Canada)

Interior and exterior 2022 Pathfinder pictures:

Amee Reehal
Shooting cars professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has appeared in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's the managing editor & founder of Find him travelling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, poorly.