Nissan’s signature V-motion grille dominates the 2022 Pathfinder’s front. Look closely and you’ll see three slots at the top, a tribute to the original 1986 Pathfinder. (Manufacturer photo)

Nissan’s signature V-motion grille dominates the 2022 Pathfinder’s front. Look closely and you’ll see three slots at the top, a tribute to the original 1986 Pathfinder. (Manufacturer photo)

Nissan Pathfinder comes full circle with all-new 2022 version

The three-row mid-size SUV gains modern amenities but returns to the rugged impression of the original.

Nissan’s long-standing Pathfinder started as a rugged two-door SUV built on a compact pickup truck frame in the mid-1980s. It eventually transformed into a civilized three-row mid-size SUV with carlike unibody construction.

A fully redesigned Pathfinder made its debut last summer as a 2022 model. There is no 2021 model.

Pricing starts at $34,635 including a $1,225 destination charge.

In a sense, specifically the sense of sight, the Pathfinder has come full circle for 2022. It looks rugged again. Nissan’s modern interpretation of ruggedness for the all-new Pathfinder includes a big bold front, wide stance, protruding fender flares, and shortened front and rear overhangs.

Nissan’s signature V-motion grille dominates the Pathfinder’s face, and a close look reveals three slots at the top of the grille, in honor of the original Pathfinder.

The 2022 Pathfinder is available in four trim levels: S, SV, SL, and Platinum. For every model, two-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is an extra $1,900.

A 3.5-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission are the powertrain setup across the board. The engine makes 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. Its fuel economy rating is 21 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, and 21/27/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. The top-tier Platinum trim with AWD is an exception. It’s rated 20/25/22 mpg. The engine’s recommended fuel is regular unleaded.

A center row bench seat is standard on S, SV, and SL models, giving them seating for up to eight passengers. Second-row captain’s chairs are optional on SV and SL, but standard on the Platinum, and with this arrangement, maximum seating capacity is seven. A center console between the chairs is optional on SV and SL, standard on Platinum. The console is removable and no tools are necessary for the procedure.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder’s modern tech-filled interior blends comfort and quiet with rugged-looking design. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder’s modern tech-filled interior blends comfort and quiet with rugged-looking design. (Manufacturer photo)

Access to third-row seats or the expansion of cargo space is simplified by second-row seats that slide and pitch forward easily. Nissan’s handy one-touch seating system can move the seats forward even with a car seat attached.

I drove the Pathfinder Platinum model with AWD. If you enjoy reading long paragraphs of listed items, here are special features standard on the Platinum that are optional or not available on the other models: a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, two-driver seat adjustment memory, 20-inch dark finish alloy wheels, outside mirrors with tilt-down in reverse gear and memory (they automatically position in sync with driver’s seat), a panoramic moonroof, motion-activated power liftgate, heated and cooled front seats, automatic enter and exit driver’s seat adjustment, a delicious 13-speaker Bose premium audio system, 12.3-inch digital dashboard, head-up display, wireless smartphone charging, a 120-volt power outlet for the second row, and two third-row USB ports.

Pathfinder’s able-bodied V6 engine propels without effort and the new nine-speed automatic transmission keeps it looking good by staying in the background with seamless operation. The SUV’s bulky appearance becomes an illusion when it maneuvers gracefully in tight spaces and demonstrates a compact turning radius.

With my test car’s AWD, at the twist of a dial I had seven different drive modes to choose from: Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow.

Pathfinder’s interior is a nice blend of contemporary styling, comfort and quiet, tech abundance, and truck ruggedness. Useful and well-designed stowage places are everywhere, including long and wide door pockets, a deep center console bin, an integrated tray in the lower dash, and a big open space beneath the bridge-style console.

I found nothing about the infotainment system to complain about, which is really saying something about its caliber.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder can accommodate up to seven or eight passengers, depending on seating configuration. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder can accommodate up to seven or eight passengers, depending on seating configuration. (Manufacturer photo)

2022 NISSAN PATHFINDER PLATINUM AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $49,315

Price as driven: $51,790

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control

content of the reviews.

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