For the duration of the nameplate’s almost 35-year existence, the Nissan Pathfinder has moved back and forth in terms of being built with either car-style unibody construction, or with a truck-style body on frame design. With just about everybody going for crossover sport utility vehicles these days, the Pathfinder has stuck with a more car-like platform since the 2013 model year, allowing the larger Armada to take the distinction of being a rolling body-on-frame bank vault for those looking for something a little more heavy-duty. With a brand new fifth-generation hot off the presses, Daddy’s Digest recently took a 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD out for a week of testing courtesy of Nissan Canada. Considering that the previous model was around long enough to lose a lot of its competitive edge, we’re happy to note that the new Pathfinder is back with a vengeance.
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While the base Pathfinder starts at $43,998 Canadian before taxes and fees, the top-tier Platinum checks in at an as-tested $55,348 including $950 optional pearl paint. This pricing is right in line with its peers such as the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, and Toyota Highlander (among others), which all come in around the mid-$50,000 range for their upper trim levels. Buyers looking to save a bit can consider the Subaru Ascent, which isn’t quite as nice or refined but tops out at $51,795.
Standard features on the Pathfinder Platinum include a panoramic moonroof, a tow hitch receiver with 7-pin harness, quilted semi-aniline leather seating surfaces, 20-inch alloy wheels, Bose premium audio, navigation, LED headlights and taillights, a head-up display, memory settings for the power driver’s seat, second-row captain chairs, second-row manual sunshades, wireless phone charging, tri-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and front and rear parking sensors. Other than a rear-seat entertainment system that can be had in the Honda Pilot, these are about all of the bells and whistles available in this class.
With seating for seven passengers, the 2022 Pathfinder’s cabin can only be described as cavernous. Eight-passenger seating is available on lower trims, but the Platinum gets captain chairs in the second row along with a removable centre console. In the first two rows, adults and rear-facing child seats have ample space for activities, with each seating position pretty much having its own area code. The third row can handle adults for shorter stints, or in-laws for longer ones. With a width of 1,978 millimetres (77.9 inches), the Pathfinder is a wide vehicle – and while this makes it drive very big, it does explain why there’s so much interior space for both people and cargo.
The quilted semi-aniline leather seats are comfortable, and the extra space means that the Pathfinder is likely a good vehicle for bigger and taller people. The overall design lifts the Pathfinder into being competitive against its class, although some of the materials and fit and finish could stand to be improved somewhat (the feel of the shifter, for example). Nissan’s latest infotainment suite contains just the right amount of hard buttons and knobs, and the addition of wireless Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone integration is a big plus. The Platinum’s 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster is clear and has good resolution and clarity – make sure to set the layout to the more futuristic layout (pictured) for best results.
All trim levels of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder are equipped with the same engine and transmission – Nissan’s 3.5-litre “VQ” V6 engine carries over from the previous generation and makes 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. This year, however, brings a new transmission into the mix: the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) from Japanese supplier Jatco is gone, and a nine-speed conventional automatic from ZF is now in its place. For those keeping track, Honda also uses the German nine-speed gearbox in the Pilot. The VQ V6 is smooth and refined, even if its basic design dates back to the mid-1990s – it’s an oldie, but a goodie.
The transmission is smooth and tries its best to make the most of the available power, but does require the engine to wind up to higher revs in order to merge and pass effectively. It does what it can with the Platinum’s hefty 2,098 kilogram (4,625 pound) curb weight. In the towing department, drivers who need to pull trailers can take comfort in the Platinum’s 2,722 kilogram (6,000 pound) towing capacity, which is about 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds) better than most others in its class.
As mentioned earlier regarding the interior cabin of the Pathfinder, the new Nissan drives big. Front seat passengers feel far apart as if they were seated in a pickup truck, and keeping the SUV in its lane on the highway requires a little more attention because of the size. Aside from this, the ride is smooth yet somewhat truck-like, even though the Pathfinder is built on a car’s platform. Road and wind noise are decently controlled, which adds to the Nissan’s credentials as a good road trip car.
Thankfully, drivers who may need a little bit of help keeping the wide Pathfinder between the lines can take advantage of Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist safety suite, which comes standard on all trims. ProPILOT Assist brings to the table a forward-collision warning system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, traffic sign recognition (on the Platinum), blind-spot warning with steering assist, lane departure warning with steering assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The lane-keeping and semi-autonomous cruise control systems work fairly well, but the Koreans (Hyundai, Kia) are still tops for that in this segment since they do a better job at keeping the car centred in its lane.
Overall, the new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD is a much-improved unit compared to the previous generation model that it replaces. Like the Rogue – the other new Nissan SUV in their lineup – the redesign puts the Pathfinder in the upper range of its mainstream three-row SUV classmates in terms of competitiveness. Its competitive advantage is interior volume and width, which it has in spades. Add to that a set of features, styling, and quality that buyers have come to expect, and you have a solid choice that is sure to satisfy families who intend to stuff them full of loved ones and all their belongings.