Thanks to Nissan’s glacier-like design cycles, we don’t have to look very far back in the history books to find a so-called ‘real’ Pathfinder. Before it morphed into a three-row crossover that blended into the scenery, it was a body-on-frame rig with a proven engine and square-shouldered stance that didn’t apparently play well in the company’s corporate slide deck.
Except it probably should have. After all, Toyota is currently making bank with such a machine in the gotta-have-it 4Runner.
Our venerated Managing Editor sampled the new Pathfinder last month in the terrifying Detroit area, deeming it (the Nissan, not Detroit) to be a step – if not a leap – in the right direction. While it still packs a familiar 3.5L V6 engine, the miserable continuously variable automatic transmission has been binned in favor of a nine-speed automatic. This is true no matter which of the four trims are selected.
Ignoring the two-wheel-drive variants, prices range from $35,310 for a base model S trim all the way up to $48,090 for a Platinum-grade Pathfinder that actually contains no platinum whatsoever. Actually, scratch that; there might be some in the catalytic converter. We’ll hound the parts department and let you know. Nevertheless, spending more scratch nets absolutely not one iota of extra power, leaving us to judge the merits of various trims on their feature count.
We’ll dispense with the S right away since it fails to include conveniences like a remote starter and satellite radio. While it is true features like these make little difference to the majority of readers and authors at TTAC, they absolutely do make a difference to John & Jane Q. Public who are seeking an all-wheel-drive crossover to serve as a family shuttle. This puts us in league with the SV trim, which is $2,800 more expensive than the base car.
The SV also adds leather touchpoints and a set of power-adjustable seats with heating elements. ProPILOT Assist, the company’s take on advanced driver assistance tools, is included on the SV as well. Again, these are real-world comforts for the population that inexplicably doesn’t prefer a 2005 Ford Ranger as their go-to vehicle. However, making a further $3,400 jump to the SL trim just for basically leather seats and a bigger infotainment screen seems a bit silly.
Here’s a practical element we can all appreciate (even the ’05 Ranger crowd): the SV is rated to tow a burly-for-the-class 6,000 pounds, nearly double the base trim This difference alone is enough for your author to recommend SV as the bare minimum in a 2022 Pathfinder; just be sure to select the $2,170 option package that provides the transmission coolers to endure this task. The package also adds second-row captain’s chairs, a power liftgate that should really be standard, and a panoramic moonroof.
Please note the prices listed here are in American dollars and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less. Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.