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The Nissan Pathfinder is a key model for Nissan in Australia, despite being built in America for the US market’s tastes.
While it will still compete in the same class with a similar intent, there are some big changes this time around, so here’s everything we know about the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder so far.
It’s probably not going to be too much more expensive
To be clear, we don’t know how much the Pathfinder will actually cost in Australia, but it has already been released in America (where it is built), and we can speculate that the new R53 series won’t cost too much more than the current car because it doesn’t overseas.
The current R52 generation wears MSRPs of between $44,240 and $70,140, while its replacement in America costs between the equivalent of $45,516 - $65,508.
It’s likely then that base versions will take a slight price hike, when shipping and local compliance costs take effect, while top-spec versions speculatively look to cost roughly the same as right now.
Good riddance to the CVT
That’s right, while the Pathfinder will maintain a big V6 engine (but still no diesel option), the much-derided continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission - which is the only option in the current car - has been dumped in favour of a new nine-speed torque-converter automatic.
That bodes well for buyers in terms of drivability, and the 3.5-litre V6 petrol has taken a slight hike in power outputs to 212kW/351Nm.
It looks as though the Pathfinder will mirror its rivals, being available in either front- or all-wheel drive, with an enhanced suite of modes for its traction control systems.
The cabin will receive a significant digital overhaul
The Pathfinder is one of the oldest-looking and -feeling vehicles in Nissan’s current line-up, but the new version looks set to leapfrog that entirely by bringing new innovations to the range, as well as debut new styling elements for the brand in Australia.
Like its Hyundai rival, Nissan will debut a floating console design with fully fly-by-wire instruments, sport a new steering wheel, and gain a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for high-spec versions.
Elsewhere, there’s a 9.0-inch multimedia display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as a 10.8-inch head-up display on some variants.
The US-market Pathfinder is an eight-seater across the range, which will put the big Nissan in league with only the Hyundai Palisade in its large SUV segment, looking to take sales from even people movers like the Hyundai Staria and Kia Carnival.
This comes as a surprise, and a decent value-add given the current-generation car is only available as a seven-seater, meaning you won’t need to stretch to an even larger and much more expensive V8 Patrol for the extra space.
Nissan wouldn’t confirm if the versions of the car which arrive in Australia will be eight-seat across the range, or if some versions would trade away the third row for more boot space, but we’d be surprised to see major changes for our market.
No hybrid yet, but big safety improvements
The good news is the Pathfinder is safety heavy. Even base-spec versions in the US score the new Safety Shield 360 suite, consisting of auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear auto braking, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and high-beam assist.
The bad news is there’s no sign of a hybrid version, which could cost the Pathfinder market share when stacked against its popular Toyota Kluger rival.
For reference, the 3.5-litre V6 Pathfinder’s official/combined consumption in the US market is 10.2L/100km, while the 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid Kluger is claimed to score 5.6L/100km locally.
What remains to be seen if Nissan will eventually launch a hybrid update, which could look very different from the Kluger’s series-parallel hybrid drivetrain.
Nissan has been open about the fact that it intends to expand the use of its e-Power system, a series hybrid which resembles a range-extender electric vehicle. It drives the wheels via an electric motor only, using a petrol engine to produce energy for its hybrid-sized battery. The system is set to imminently launch in Australia in the X-Trail and Qashqai ranges.
It’s due at some point in 2022
We don’t know exactly when the Pathfinder will launch, only that it’s due some time in 2022. Examples have already been spotted on the road, but Nissan tells us these are “likely early compliance and testing cars.”
Expect more details, local pricing, and more accurate launch timing in the coming months. The Pathfinder will be one in an onslaught of new-generation Nissan products in key segments for the 2022 model year, including the X-Trail mid-sizer, and Qashqai small-to-mid-size segment bender.