2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD
This week’s tester is here yet another 3-row SUV, but this time it is a special guest, at least for me. I personally have been waiting for the new Pathfinder for a long time. Not because that SUVs are exciting to drive, but Pathfinder is one of the most important models for Nissan in terms of brand image.
Well, it seems like it is a total shift after seeing the latest Pathfinder. The previous generation was not known as the class leader in any part, it was focused more on being the budget-oriented option. It is true that it offered a lot of bang for the buck back in time, but it was obvious that the trend could not survive for long.
Nissan not only changed the Pathfinder in a good way but also the overall brand image. They started from scratch and even updated their logo. Now, like the new Pathfinder, the logo looks much more modern and represents the new era of Nissan.
Despite having a totally new design and logo, Pathfinder still carries over some design elements from the past. It definitely looks like a bigger and wider version of the new Rogue. Of course, there are some significant changes, such as the headlights being one piece, instead of the two-piece design that comes with Rogue.
Other than that, it has a huge chrome front grille and plastic parts wrapped around the fenders for a more rugged look. Compared to the previous generation, the new Pathfinder looks very upscale yet keeps traditional rugged body lines from the 1990s.
The rear end even looks more upscale with the huge Pathfinder logo, Nissan wants to make sure that what you are seeing is a Pathfinder, as it is placed throughout the hatch with huge fonts. The taillights are physically connected to each other and it has a huge silver part on the rear bumper like a skid plate to make it look even more rugged.
Like the rest of the car, it looks great from the side, it has nice but sharp body lines all around the vehicle. I think the new Pathfinder is one of the better-looking 3-row SUVs as of 2021. Our tester had the two-tone Scarlet Ember Tintcoat / Super Black Metallic combo and I love this color combination.
When you get behind the steering wheel, you immediately realize how far they have come along in terms of interior quality. This trend started with the new generation Rogue, and Nissan decided to keep the same design language with better materials and an overall larger cabin feeling with the Pathfinder.
There are some common parts used in other Nissan models though, which is okay considering they also have decent quality. Essential features traditionally have dedicated physical buttons, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to find the touch-sensitive buttons anywhere in this interior.
The only problem with this interior is the material choice. This is not only Nissan’s problem, but they used a lot of gloss black materials in the center console, or wherever you use it daily. It looks great right out of the showroom, but it gets dirty very quickly and it is really hard to keep it clean.
Everything aside, like many other modern Nissan models, Pathfinder is really good at one thing as a family car, its seat comfort. SUVs are not only for getting groceries, but it’s also a family hauler and great vehicles for long trips, and Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats really make a difference especially if you drive for long hours.
As expected from a large SUV, the new Pathfinder has tons of rear legroom and headroom space in the second row, and this trim has the captain’s chair option. This is where you should decide if 3 row SUV would be sufficient for you, as they can’t be as spacious as Minivans.
2021 Nissan Pathfinder offers a decent amount of overall legroom and headroom for the 3rd-row passengers, but still, it should be good for only short trips. Compared to other 3-row SUVs, where it shines is the accessibility to the 3rd row, as the second-row seat can move forward quite easily, and offers a lot of space. You can keep a front-facing child seat while doing this, which is a huge advantage for large families.
We have to discuss trunk space and cargo accommodation as it is very important for SUV shoppers. It comes with 16.6 cubic feet (470L) behind the 3rd-row seats. Trunk practicality is one of Nissan’s strongest selling points, and the new Pathfinder is no exception, it has a big compartment under the trunk floor for smaller items.
Many 3-row SUV owners usually keep their 3rd-row seats folded down, meaning that they even have more cargo space for bigger items. If you fold down the 3rd row, you get approximately 45 cubic feet (1274 L) of cargo space. If you need maximum cargo accommodation, it goes all the way up to 80.5 cubic feet (2280 L) when you fold down 3rd and 2nd-row seats altogether.
Engine and Drivetrain
Like the previous generation, the new Pathfinder uses a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 engine that produces 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. Nissan’s V6 engines are known for great sounding machines, and it still sounds excellent. You have to keep the rpms a little bit high, as the midrange is not as punchy as turbocharged entries.
The big departure from the previous platform, it no longer uses continuously variable transmission (CVT), and this is probably the biggest “technical” change in Nissan’s modern history. The new Pathfinder uses 9-Speed regular torque converted automatic transmission which is sourced by ZF.
The automatic transmission has been on the market for the last few years, now it’s in the second generation and it is also used by several other manufacturers. It offers a wide range of gear ratios, first gear is quite short for towing, which can tow up to 6000 lbs. and the 9th gear is quite tall for better fuel economy. In our tests, we were able to average 11.0L / 100 km, a pretty good number for a heavy 3-row SUV.
As expected from a top trim 3-row SUV, the All Wheel Drive system is available with the Pathfinder. In fact, all Pathfinder trims have AWD system standards in Canada, which is a huge plus. Although Nissan calls it a “4WD” system, it is just an AWD system that works on-demand basis.
As the engine is placed horizontally, it is a front-biased AWD system that sends power to the rear at lower speeds, or when the front wheels lose traction. It usually sends up to 50% of the power to the rear, but most of the time, it keeps sending full power to the front wheels at higher speeds to get better fuel economy. You can use different driving modes, and off-road modes to send more power to the rear.
Driving Impressions and Features
I am not going to go into details and list all the features, but the new Pathfinder comes with almost all modern safety and convenience features. One of my favorites is Nissan’s Adaptive Cruise Control system. It comes with a Lane Centering feature and it works pretty well. It also has 3-zone climate control for rear passengers and buttons are placed in the center console.
The infotainment system is also used in other Nissan models, it works with little to no input lag. My opinion is that it can look better by having larger icons, but I’m okay with the overall user-friendliness of the infotainment system. As expected, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but it also comes with a wireless feature for the CarPlay.
Of course, having a panoramic sunroof makes the whole driving experience more enjoyable, and it comes standard with our tester – which is the Platinum trim. Considering some 3-row SUVs come only with a small sunroof, I think it is a huge plus for a family hauler.
So far, I only mentioned good things, but I think there are some areas where Nissan should have done better. Though the infotainment system is good, the screen has a huge bezel and looks old from day one. Nissan should have used a bigger screen like some Korean entries, and the rear camera resolution should be better.
Pricing and the Verdict
Fighting in the 3-row SUV segment is not easy, but the Pathfinder name is well-known in this segment, as it dates back several decades ago. The previous version was more of a budget-oriented 3-row SUV, and it completely lost its traditional rugged character you found in 1990s SUVs. With the new generation, Nissan not only brought back it’s rugged feeling but also added a premium driving experience on top of that.
Like the new Rogue, the Pathfinder is the new face of Nissan, and it is not just a design change. It’s much better in almost every category compared to the previous generation. It means that it is more competitive than ever. 2021 Nissan Pathfinder starts at $43,798 (S) and $54,398 (Platinum) if you want all the features available in a modern 3-row SUV.
For more details – please visit www.nissan.ca