Review: 2022 Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 get solid upgrades
The Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX60 are very closely related crossovers. The Pathfinder enters its fifth generation while its luxurious cousin at Infiniti enters its second. New for both is a re-tuned engine, a return to a geared transmission, and new interior and exterior designs.
We drove both the 2022 Pathfinder and the 2022 QX60 as daily drivers for about two weeks each in two trim levels each. We found a lot to like, but also a lot of things that could use some improvement.
At a Glance
- Good exterior changes for both models
- Excellent new powertrain setup for each
- Pathfinder could use some interior improvements
- Infotainment needs work as a standalone
- QX60 offers the better drive quality
Nissan gave the Pathfinder a year off during the pandemic, skipping the 2021 model year in order to focus on the redesign for 2022. The resulting 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is very different from its predecessor, moving towards larger SUV proportions visually. While not physically too much bigger than the previous-gen model, the new Pathfinder appears taller, wider, and bulkier by comparison.
Most of that change comes by dropping the “car-like” profile of the previous design and moving towards a more robust, squared-off look. There's a flatter grille, higher stance, and straighter roofline. This robust look translates into a beefier, more SUV-looking Pathfinder. Interior space is improved slightly thanks to the changes as well.
The inside of the new 2022 Pathfinder feels bigger, with more width and more headroom as a direct result of the body changes – plus, third-row access is easier than it’s ever been. Roominess and storage are abundant throughout and we feel that the new Pathfinder is one of the most passenger-friendly options in its segment in that regard. Cargo space is also well-sized, at 16.6 cubic feet (470 L) behind the third row, 45 cu ft (1,274 L behind the second row, and 80.5 cu ft (2,279.5 L) with both second and third rows down. There are larger cargo spaces on the market, of course, but none with the kind of openness and versatility that the Pathfinder offers for easy-access seating and cargo combinations. Add in a 6,000-lb (2,721.5-kg) towing capacity and it’s clearly tough to beat.
We drove both a production prototype Pathfinder in its topmost Platinum edition and a production model in its mid-tier SL trim and noted the same issues with both vehicles. Namely the front passenger seat does not raise and lower, sitting down on the floor without adjustments to go upwards. That makes for a very uncomfortable long-distance drive despite Nissan’s self-touted “Zero Gravity” seats. That’s a downer for sure. We also weren’t impressed with the lack of USB ports for the rear cabin or the yesteryear tech of the infotainment system. That system works well, but falls behind competitors in terms of polish, with voice commands of the older “follow the long thread of voice menu prompts” variety. But Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with even the base 8-inch touchscreen, so many of these infotainment problems can be avoided by using one of those.
Where Nissan’s technology shines, though, is in driver assistance and advanced safety. Most of Nissan’s advanced safety systems are standard in the Pathfinder, including rear cross-traffic alerts, forward collision mitigation, rear automatic braking, and lane departure warning plus blind-spot monitoring. Adaptive cruise control is also standard on all but the base trim model. Both of our test models included Nissan’s ProPilot Assist system, which has a more advanced lane-keeping system that uses the navigation system to predict road curves and other changes for a smoother experience.
Powering the vehicle is a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 that outputs 284 hp (211.8 kW) and 259 lb-ft (351 Nm) of torque. This engine is now paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, which is a big step up from the lackluster (and problematic) continuously variable transmission (CVT) previously used in the Pathfinder. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available at all trim levels. The new powertrain improves fuel economy as well, thanks to improvements in engine tuning and the high-geared transmission. The EPA now rates the Pathfinder at 27 mpg (8.7 l/100km) on the highway in both FWD and AWD configurations. Our real-world highway loop, on which every car we test is taken, saw the Pathfinder average 25.4 mpg (9.3 l/100km) overall. That’s lower than expected, but we attribute the drop to high altitude (6,400 ft /1,951 m) and occasional crosswinds. We think most drivers should get close to the estimates most of the time.
Most of the updates listed for the Pathfinder apply to the 2022 Infiniti QX60 as well. Its exterior has some refinement to denote its luxury status, such as smoother grille work, less accentuated body lines, and more roundness to its corners. The QX60 is a good-looking crossover-SUV and has more polish than its first-generation predecessor did.
Inside, the QX60 has a premium feel with great use of upscale materials and placement. Inlays and added padding are found throughout and roominess is also a high point. Unlike the Pathfinder, the QX60 has a fully adjustable front passenger seat. But it still lacks in USB ports throughout the rear cabin and its infotainment is about the same. Cargo is also not as flexible, as the seating, being more heavily cushioned, does not fold as flat.
The drivetrain is the same in the QX60 as it is in the Pathfinder, but the drive quality is better. That could be due to the slightly higher outputs of the engine, which are 295 hp (220 kW) and 270 lb-ft (366 Nm). And where the Pathfinder is generally confident, the QX60 is more nimble. The Infiniti tuning for the QX60 means it has a tighter steering feel and more aggressive downshift for better performance. This doesn’t make the QX60 the sportiest in its three-row luxury class, but it does make it far sportier to drive than the Pathfinder below it.
For fuel economy, the 2022 QX60 is rated slightly lower than is the Pathfinder at 26 mpg (9 l/100km) on the highway. Our highway loop test returned 25.3 mpg (9.3 l/100km) overall, a similar result to the Pathfinder. There was far less crosswind during that drive, however, which may account for the difference.
Our overall assessment of the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder and the 2022 Infiniti QX60 is that they are both big improvements over the previous generation they replace. While there is still some room for improvement, these are much more competitive options in their segments. The Pathfinder starts at about US$35,000 and the QX60 at about $48,000. We drove trim levels priced at $45,105 and $60,745, respectively.