By Joseph Meyers
If you’re in the market for a new mid-size family SUV, you’re in for some good news. Nissan Guam has launched its all-new 2022 Nissan Pathfinder.
The new Nissan Pathfinder model is available on Guam in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive and various trims and colors.
While Nissan offers four trims, three trims are now available locally. Well, we drove one for a quick spin recently to give the casual reader a quick impression, while leaving the full reviews for the experts elsewhere.
Released globally, this summer, the new Pathfinder has all the stylings expected of a mid-size family SUV, with some modern upgrades for safety, comfort and performance.
Most noticeable is the larger interior volume, including the front pedestal area, wider rear cargo width and greater towing capability (6000 lbs).
Technically, it’s referred to as a mid-size crossover SUV, but that term is getting less relevant as it feels less like a car or truck, but more as its own thing. The crossover has grown up.
For the uninitiated, a crossover SUV simply means that it shared a common platform with a passenger car, instead of a truck.
While it’s marketed as a “family” vehicle, don’t let that fool you into dismissing it as boring.
It's called a family vehicle, probably due to its larger size and price tag, rather than any compromise on performance or style. It’s not frumpy, and only slightly more "boxy-looking" than its predecessor. It certainly will provide for any performance and seating needs locally in this class.
It can seat up to eight— yes, eight!— people with its mid-row and rear bench seat options.
Nissan offers the peculiar named “captains chair” option for mid-row seating. Sorry, but if you're sitting in the second row, I doubt you’ll be the “captain” of anything except maybe the rear climate control.
But it does include a removable center pedestal. And this option reduces the seating to seven, with the back row bench still seating three. So, if you’ve got more than five kids, you’re going to have to skip the captain's chair on this one and go with the eight-seat configuration.
The new Pathfinder comes with its traditional roof racks as standard. You're not allowed to strap the young ones up there, even though it might make for a quieter ride.
I know some people hate numbers, but some of us love them. So, here you go: all four trims come with the same 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6, 284 horsepower, 9-speed automatic transmission engine.
Yes, Nissan has ditched the much-criticized CVT transmission here for a more reliable automatic. If you don’t care about transmissions, just know that they both operate automatically. Most prefer the quieter sound of the automatic transmission, and it should end up being more reliable. Which, hopefully, means more reliability and less maintenance costs down the road.
But hey, if you’re in the market for a new Pathfinder, I’m going to guess you’re probably going to trade it in before transmission problems become an issue.
The direct-injection engine just means it’s going to perform better at lower speeds, which is what you’re likely to encounter locally. In fact, during our driving test of a base model 4-wheel drive, loaded with four adults, it seemed to accelerate smoothly, quickly and quietly. No problems there.
The braking and handling are also comfortable, neither sluggish like a truck nor sporty. Perfect for simply getting the job done, which is getting somewhere comfortably and safely.
The automatic stop-start engine feature felt seamless. You can turn it off with a simple push of a button. It also includes a safety feature that applies automatic braking when stopped without holding the brake down which releases upon hitting the gas- excuse me, the “acceleration pedal.” We have to stay technical here.
The next thing you need to know is that this vehicle comes in four standard trims and up to 35 different options. Yikes, that’s a lot of choices.
The high is called, not surprisingly “The Platinum Edition” and the most noticeable difference is the 20-inch chrome wheels.
It also includes a bevy of luxury upgrades like a Bose sound system and a “heads up display” on the windshield showing your speed.
Many of the safety features come standard on all trims. These include automatic braking, pedestrian avoidance warning and automatic rear braking. These features will allow you to avoid those pesky fender-benders when pulling out of those narrow mall parking spaces. Trust me, the occasional annoying beeps are better than the “crunch“ and the hundreds of dollars in repairs, and I’ve been there.
As for the dimension, yes, it’s a fairly large vehicle for Guam. It has a total interior volume of 164 cubic feet and the rear cargo area can hold up to 80 cubic feet, with the rear two rows of seats folded down. But with a 78-inch width, you’re going to have to be careful to avoid those unexpected “dings” when parking and opening the doors.
Prices vary between $33,000-$48,000 depending on options. Not surprisingly, the Platinum options are the most expensive. But I’m told that when buying a vehicle you can do this thing called haggling, and actually pay quite a bit less than the sticker price. But that is between you and the dealer.
And if you decide to walk away, there will be 2023. Maybe by then, you can take a test drive without having to wear a mask.