Nissan has taken the wraps off the all-new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder. All-new from the ground up, the new Pathfinder is wearing a bold new design and more modern amenities than the antiquated current version. Will an attractive exterior design be enough in the competitive midsize SUV space?

Nissan deserves some props for the 2022 Pathfinder’s design. Instead of taking the safe approach, this new design really is a fresh take from the current Pathfinder. It’s notably bold and offers a fresh take in the segment. Nissan family traits such as a large V-Motion grille merge with very unique headlights to form an attractive face. Meanwhile, the body is simple but chiseled, like someone who works out a few times a week.

Around back Nissan has added some controversy. The Pathfinder name has been slapped in the middle of the liftgate and the lettering is quite large. This is an odd trend in the industry right now, so it’s not entirely surprising Nissan couldn’t resist the urge. Nonetheless, the letters are massive and spread across the majority of the horizontal space.

The newness of the Pathfinder goes beyond skin-deep. Nissan has slotted in a new all-wheel-drive system featuring direct coupling, which allows torque transfer directly on the clutch pack using oil pressure. The benefit of this to the driver is in the form of greater control in low-traction situations. This new AWD system aligns with a new 7-position drive mode selector, allowing drivers to tailor the vehicle to specific terrains.

Where the newness begins to fade is under the hood. The 2022 Pathfinder is powered by Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-8 with 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. If that sounds familiar, that’s because the exact same engine and specifications exists on the outgoing Pathfinder. That said, Nissan has bolted a new nine-speed transmission to the engine for 2022.

With the new hardware and carryover engine Nissan is claiming a best-in-class available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity.

More Tech, More Safety

The carryover engine is almost the start of further disappointment. Like the exterior, the Pathfinder’s interior is also all-new. Generally, interior overalls on vehicles as old as the current Pathfinder are lay-up opportunities for tremendous improvements. Well, at first glance Nissan didn’t rise to the moment.

Pathfinder’s interior design is alright, but in a fiercely competitive segment it doesn’t stand out. Even in Nissan’s own press shots the interior is dark and seems devoid of much in the way of trim (aside from plastic). Nissan has slotted in a new 12.3-inch gauge cluster display to bring some life. A nine-inch touchscreen houses the infotainment system. In an era where screen size seems to be a leading indicator of purchase propensity, the Pathfinder may be lacking endowment.

On the positive side, all Pathfinders are designed to house eight passengers. For the first time buyers can opt for captains chairs in the second row, which includes a removable center console. The standard bench seat also includes EZ FLEX, which is basically a button-activated folding of the seats. Both second and third row seats can fold to accommodate a 4×8 sheet of plywood.

Nissan is layering in a number of new (to Pathfinder) technology features. Apple CarPlay is now standard, though wireless Apple CarPlay is still an option. While most OEM’s are making wireless CarPlay standard, this seems like an odd setup. Android Auto is also standard.

On the active safety front SV and SL grades offer Nissan’s ProPILOT Assist. Pathfinder Platinum adds ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link, which essentially links the navigation system to ProPILOT. This feature first launched on 2021 Rogue.

Every 2022 Pathfinder comes equipped with Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking. Class-exclusive Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert7 are also standard, while Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Traffic Sign Recognition are available. Ten airbags are standard.

An Improvement, But…

Overall, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a huge improvement over the current iteration. With a bold exterior design and competitive specifications, it will likely get the attention of midsize SUV buyers. But in a segment this competitive an interior that already looks dated and some bizarre packaging may not be enough to win over buyers from the likes of the Kia Telluride and Ford Explorer.

Nissan says the 2022 Pathfinder will go on sale this summer. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.