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Nissan charts new course with next-gen Pathfinder and Frontier

Nissan aims to make its vehicles more aspirational as it relaunches the brand.

Published: February 8, 2021, 11:45 AM
Updated: February 8, 2021, 4:46 PM

2022 Nissan Pathfinder and Frontier - 2022 Pathfinder and Frontier will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Like several other automakers in this COVID era, Nissan used an auto-show-like production on YouTube to reveal the next-generation iterations of two of its most iconic models, the 2022 Pathfinder SUV and the 2022 Frontier mid-size pickup.

The irony is that as Nissan sets its strategies to chart itself a path out of the dark Carlos Goshn days and explore new frontiers, the path it follows will be set by a Pathfinder and a Frontier. Both vehicles, which will go on sale this summer, are expected to play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup, as well as its business and cultural strategies.

This new direction was apparent in the online reveals. Nissan wants to make its vehicles more aspirational as it relaunches the brand. For starters, these two vehicles are the first to wear the new Nissan logo, but the strongest evidence of change is in the addition of more premium features and additional trim levels. In both models there is a strong direction as to the intended user – both the Frontier and Pathfinder were shown in rugged outdoor settings. There wasn’t a suburban-like setting to be seen anywhere. After all, Nissan has other utility products that are better suited to that type of consumer (Rogue, Kicks and Murano, for example.)

2022 Nissan Frontier

This pickup is long overdue for a total makeover, yet buyers looking for a durable, reliable mid-size truck keep coming back. Introduced on the auto show circuit in 2004 as a 2005 model, the Frontier has become the “Crown Vic” of light trucks. Like the durable Ford sedan that just kept on rolling, this generation of the Frontier has changed very little over its 15-plus years, only finally getting a new powertrain a year ago. Now that 3.8-litre, direct-injection V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission will power the next-generation model.

2022 Nissan Frontier - 2022 Frontier will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

This well-proven engine generates 310 horsepower, which is best in its class, and 281 lb-ft. of torque. Combined with a new heavy-duty, fully boxed, ladder-style frame and standard shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, the new Frontier has a towing capacity of 6,490 pounds. It also comes with trailer sway control as standard equipment. Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control are also standard.

The Frontier’s hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering gear has been retuned to provide better on-centre feel, reducing driver fatigue. The steering gear ratio has been increased by 16 per cent, leading to faster response with less steering effort.

Nissan engineers have also retuned the Frontier’s front and rear suspensions to improve ride and handling both on- and off-road. New hydraulic cab mounts reduce road vibration by 80 per cent, while new urethane jounce bumpers provide improved damping for a smoother ride. In addition to a larger front stabilizer bar, a rear stabilizer bar has been added to reduce body roll and increase traction.

2022 Nissan Frontier - 2022 Frontier will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

The new Frontier, which Nissan bills as the “right- sized pickup” for a work or an off-road adventure, has a bulkier, more edgy look that acknowledges its rugged capabilities. Up front there’s a massive new grille and chiseled hood, framed by new precision interlocking headlights. In the rear, precision lighting features a machined, structural look. A damped tailgate assist - new for 2022 - is standard on all models.

The Frontier also has a new utility-centric interior with trim, finishers and accents that have been inspired by adventure gear. The instrument panel is highlighted by an available nine-inch colour touchscreen , the largest in its class, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The standard seven-inch Advanced Driver Assist Display, also largest in the class, offers configurable information directly in front of the driver. Nissan’s impressive Zero Gravity seats, which are standard equipment, provide lateral support to help reduce fatigue on long drives.

2022 Nissan Frontier - 2022 Frontier will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

A new centre console provides 4.0 litres of storage space – almost double that of most mid-size pickups – as well as 5.7 litres of rear-door-pocket storage and 6.5 litres of front-door-pocket storage. Storage is also provided at the top of the instrument panel.

Added insulation, improved rear carpet structure and new front-door acoustic laminated glass help reduce interior road noise.

The 2022 Frontier will be offered in two configurations – a King Cab, in S, SV and PRO-4X trims, and a Crew Cabin in two grades – SV and PRO-4X. The King Cab comes with a six-foot bed, while the Crew Cab has a five-foot bed as standard on the PRO-4X and a six-foot bed standard on the SV long-wheelbase models. The PRO-4X model adds an electronic locking differential, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers and underbody skid plates, while LED headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights and Lava Red grille accents give it an even more aggressive look.

2022 Nissan Frontier - 2022 Frontier will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

The new Frontier features an abundance of modern tech features, including wireless smartphone charging and NissanConnect with WiFi Hotspot (standard on PRO-4X models), two front USB ports (one Type-A, one Type-C), two front 12-volt outlets and Siri Eyes Free. Two 110-volt outlets with 400-watt capability – one in the rear, one in the bed – are available on SV and standard on PRO-4X models. A Fender® Premium Audio system with nine speakers is available on the PRO-4X Crew Cab.

The 2022 Frontier also features the first application of Nissan’s Intelligent Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Off-Road Mode5. The system creates a birds’ eye view by stitching together views from four cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle. The new Off-Road Mode, which functions while the vehicle is moving forward at slow speeds and the 4WD system is in 4-low, is ideal for negotiating tight trails without having an external spotter.

Standard safety technology includes Nissan Safety Shield 360 with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist and class-exclusive rear automatic braking . Class-exclusive intelligent forward collision warning and a tire pressure monitoring system with Easy Fill tire alert are also standard. Additional features include class-exclusive traffic sign recognition and standard intelligent cruise control. Rear Door Alert is standard on all models. Eight airbags are standard.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

The fifth generation of the Pathfinder is new from the ground up. Its bold new face, wide stance, blister fenders and shorter front overhang (versus the previous design), along with larger tires convey size and strength, giving it an authentic, rugged SUV look.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - 2022 Pathfinder will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

“Thirty-five years after the launch of the original model, Pathfinder has returned to its rugged roots, loaded with the benefit of everything learned along the way,” said Adam Paterson, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc. “Today’s large SUV owners want a vehicle that conveys strength and rugged capability, while using advanced safety and technology features to keep their family safe and comfortable during every-day adventures, and the all-new 2022 Pathfinder is ready to take on those adventures.”

Distinctive Nissan signature features are integrated into the new design, such as the V-motion grille with a three-slot grille that pays homage to the original Pathfinder, C-shaped headlights and floating roofline. Standard LED headlights include slim upper daytime running lights and the C-pillar has a structural SUV look that allows use of two-tone paint – a first for Pathfinder. In the rear, the wide-aspect LED taillights are slimmer than the previous design, while the liftgate has an oversized, satin chrome nameplate.

The powertrain consists of a 3.5-litre, direct-injected V-6 that produces 284 horsepower and 259 lb.-ft. of torque, providing strong acceleration when merging or driving out of a turn. The engine is matched with a new nine-speed automatic transmission and a new Intelligent four-wheel- drive system with seven Drive and Terrain modes: Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut and Tow. The selected mode is displayed as a pop-up notification on the instrument cluster.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - 2022 Pathfinder will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

A new dual-pinion electric power steering system, combined with wide, 255-mm tires, provides stable handling with a sporty feel. Stability and confidence is bolstered by a front strut and rear independent multi-link suspension design with front and rear stabilizer bars.

The Pathfinder offers an available 6,000-pound maximum towing capacity – plenty for towing boats, ATVs, camp tents or trailers and a tow hitch with harness. Trailer Sway Control is standard.

The Pathfinder’s spacious new interior features refined materials and a robust, open design. Interior touches include a new, available 12.3-inch digital dashboard that provides the driver with a variety of easy-to-navigate screen options. Complementing the digital dashboard is an available 10.8-inch head-up display that enables the driver to view preferred content, such as turn-by-turn directions, while staying focused on the road.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - 2022 Pathfinder will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

An available 9.0-inch colour touchscreen centre display is placed high on the new simplified, intuitive instrument panel, providing easy visibility and accessibility for the driver and front passenger. Brushed bronze metallic accents are among five available interior “environments,” while new ambient interior lighting adds an even higher level of ambiance. Woven cloth, leather or premium quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats are offered in a range of new colours and materials.

Seat flexibility – a critical factor for many SUV buyers – has been improved with standard eight-passenger capacity or, for the first time on Pathfinder, available second-row captain’s chairs with a centre console that’s removable without the use of tools.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - 2022 Pathfinder will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

The second-row bench seat now offers EZ FLEX one-touch pushbutton release from both the driver and passenger sides. The 60/40-split folding third row provides maximum flexibility for carrying passengers and cargo. The cargo area can accommodate a 120-quart cooler or four golf bags with all three-rows up, or carry 4x8-foot plywood sheets with the seatbacks folded.

Interior quietness has been greatly improved, with acoustic laminated front glass, thicker second-row glass, increased door and floor isolation, and a 60-percent increase in engine noise absorption.

Standard interior features include a 10-way power driver’s seat and Tri-Zone Automatic Temperature Control with second-row climate control. Climate-controlled front seats and heated rear seats are available.

Advanced technology and safety features include NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, WiFi Hot Spot and NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM – all   standard. Available features include a wireless smartphone charging pad, wireless Apple CarPlay, Bose Premium Audio with 13 speakers, Nissan Door-to-Door Navigation, and Intelligent Around View Monitor, which features a higher resolution and wider image viewing angle than the previous model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder - 2022 Pathfinder will play a key role in Nissan’s global plan to transform its product lineup.

For the first time, the 2022 Pathfinder offers Nissan’s innovative ProPILOT Assist standard on S and SV grades. It’s a hands-on driver-assist technology that reduces the hassle of stop-and-go highway driving. It combines steering assist and intelligent cruise control to help control acceleration, braking and steering in both heavy traffic and on the open highway.  SL and Platinum grades add the new ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link, which was recently introduced on the 2021 Rogue. By linking ProPILOT Assist with Nissan’s advanced Door-to-Door Navigation System, the navigation map data can proactively reduce speed for upcoming freeway curves or junctions and also help the driver slow for freeway exits.

Every 2022 Pathfinder comes equipped with Nissan Safety Shield® 360, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, High Beam Assist and Rear Automatic Braking. Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Driver Alertness, Blind Spot Intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention and Rear Door Alert, whileTraffic Sign Recognition is available. Ten airbags are standard.

The 2022 Pathfinder is offered in four trim levels – S, SV, SL and Platinum. One package - SL Premium - is also available.

Additional details for both the Pathfinder and Frontier will be available closer to their on-sale date this summer.