Nissan embraces rugged with revamped Pathfinder

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The 2022 model will arrive in stores in early summer. Pricing has not been disclosed.

The Pathfinder, which posted U.S. sales of 48,579 last year, is part of an ambitious two-year product reboot that will see 70 per cent of Nissan’s portfolio updated by the end of the year.

Nissan sold 3,392 Pathfinders in Canada last year, down 40.5 per cent over 2019. It trailed nine other vehicle in its class in Canada.

The redesign seeks the utility of an SUV with the ride and interior premium-ness of a sedan.

Three-row crossovers have mostly replaced minivans as the go-to family vehicle, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions.

“Keeping the Pathfinder on the shortlist of moms and dads is important to a full-line brand,” Fiorani said. “The Pathfinder helps Nissan hold on to customers as their families outgrow a [compact] Rogue.”

The redesigned version will be available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive, powered by a 3.5-litre V-6 engine that pumps out 284 hp.

The model ditches Nissan’s finicky continuously variable transmission for a new ZF-supplied nine-speed transmission that delivers improved acceleration and smoother driving experience.

Fiorani described the CVT as the “weakest link” in the Pathfinder’s “otherwise excellent” powertrain.

“The average age of a vehicle today is around 12 years, which means that transmission had better be able to survive past 200,000 miles,” Fiorani said. “The new transmission should tie up that loose end for the Pathfinder.”

DESIGN OVERHAUL

The 2022 model found some of its design inspiration in the past. It sports a Nissan V-motion grille that incorporates a hood design with three slots from the original Pathfinder.

The interior makeover opens up the cabin and incorporates tech upgrades.

The Pathfinder’s dashboard is anchored by an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 9-inch center display and 10.8-inch head-up display.

To reduce in-cabin road noise, the redesign used acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass and increased engine noise insulation.

The Pathfinder also includes Nissan’s safety tech suite, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning and lane-departure warning. Available in higher trims is Nissan’s ProPilot Assist technology that helps reduce fatigue associated with road trips and stop-and-go highway traffic.

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