Despite how it may have been marketed, the redesigned 2022 Nissan Pathfinder isn’t all-new. But it’s darn close.

For 2022 nearly everything you can see, and most of what you can’t, has been overhauled, updated, or replaced to deliver a more refined driving experience and better value.

With a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10, the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder topples the terrific Honda Pilot and spacious Volkswagen Atlas, but it trails the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade in the three-row SUV class.

I spent a week putting the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder to work with some boat hauling duties to see where it hits and misses. Here’s what I learned.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Hit: No more CVT

The Pathfinder continues to be powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 with 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque sent to the front, or in my tester’s case, all four wheels. But the continuously variable transmission that plagued Nissan with warranty claims has finally been replaced with a ZF 9-speed automatic. It requires a deep stab of the throttle for highway passing maneuvers, causing the transmission to drop down a few gears, but the shifts are quick. The 1-2 and 2-3 shifts might be the cleanest of any vehicle using this 9-speed transmission, including the Honda Pilot.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Hit: Towing setup

Nissan said a big focus with shifting away from the CVT to the 9-speed was for better towing response. The 2022 Pathfinder is rated to tug up to 6,000 lb. But towing is more than just a rating, it’s the setup. The Pathfinder is well packaged here with a receiver that’s exposed, providing easy access, and isn’t mounted too low. A drop hitch isn’t required, nor is there a strong worry about the trailer’s tongue sitting too low. Access to the emergency chain connection points are great, and the 7-pin connector for trailer lights and brakes is nicely located with a straight shot to the trailer rather than pointing down like some vehicles. It all feels and looks integrated rather than tacked on.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Miss: Tow mode needs work

I hooked the Pathfinder to about 3,500 lb of boat and trailer and found the 9-speed delivered quick responses and smooth shifts off the line. But, just as when cruising with it unladen, it required a deep stab at the throttle to sum reasonable power. Putting the Pathfinder in Tow mode did little to help the situation as it didn’t lock out the top gears. It also didn’t turn off a single electronic nanny, which made it a nightmare in reverse. Backing up the trailer at the boat launch the Pathfinder would slam on the brakes and flash warnings that I was about to back up into something. I wasn’t. Tow mode didn’t automatically turn off safety systems or tell the Pathfinder there was a trailer hooked to the rear. It felt like an eternity going through vehicle systems via the buttons on the steering wheel and menu in the gauge cluster to determine which safety technology needed to be turned off to allow the three-row crossover to back up the trailer. Tow mode should automatically turn necessary systems off with one click. Nissan spokesperson Kevin Raferty told The Car Connection the automaker’s aware of this annoyance and is working on addressing the situation with a software update, but there’s no timeline for when this solution will be implemented.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Hit: Great packaging

What didn’t change for 2022 is the Pathfinder’s great packaging. The third-row is still adult-friendly with the ability for the seat back to recline. The rear doors open wide to 72 degrees (up from 68 degrees on the outgoing model), making getting into the second or third row a snap. But the Pathfinder has two noteworthy packaging apps: The first is the ability to slide and tilt the second-row seats forward without folding the seat so you can leave a booster or car seat mounted in the second-row while retaining access to the third row. It can all be performed at the push of a button mounted on the top of the second-row seat back. The second are second-row captain’s chairs with a center console mounted to the floor that can be removed by pulling off the plastic front panel and pulling a release tab. New for 2022, the removable console creates a pathway for kids to access the third row and it can be stowed neatly in the storage floor in the cargo area.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Miss: Head room and seat bottoms

My $50,290 Platinum tester was loaded with semi-aniline leather seats and a massive panoramic sunroof. But the sunroof that covers both the first and second row eats into second-row head room. At 5-foot-10, my head didn’t touch, but those over 6 feet tall in the second row are going to brush the ceiling. The third row has plenty of space for adults, but the seat bottom is a bit flat, low, and lacks support.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Hit: Touch to unlock

The ability to touch the front door handle to wirelessly unlock a vehicle is reasonably common at this point, but the ability to do this with the rear doors has been limited to expensive luxury models like the Audi Q7 or BMW X5. The latest Pathfinder changes things. Upper trim SL and Platinum models feature one-touch wireless lock or unlock functions on all four door handles. This is a fantastic feature for families with kids and something that simply isn’t found on the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, or Hyundai Palisade. The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L is the only other non-luxury three-row to offer such a feature.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Miss: Is that your seat making that noise?

The Pathfinder Platinum tested featured heated and cooled front seats. The fan for the cooling function was powerful and kept the seat cool, but it was so powerful that a passenger asked me what that noise was; it was the fan for the cooled seat. While it’s not intrusive, it gets awfully quiet all of a sudden when the cooled seat function is turned off, only serving to remind one how loud that fan is.

With fantastic packaging for families, sharp styling, plenty of capability for a three-row family hauler, and competitive pricing that starts at $34,560, the 2022 Pathfinder has surpassed the Honda Pilot and plays second fiddle to only the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade in terms of overall value. But it can still tow more than those twins.

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2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4WD

Base price: $34,560, including destination
Price as tested: $50,290
Powertrain: 284-hp V-6, 9-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 20/25/22 mpg
The hits: Terrific packaging, removable second-row console, good value proposition, 9-speed transmission
The misses: Tall gearing on highway, panoramic moonroof eats into headroom, third-row lacks support, Tow mode needs work

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