The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder has been teased, with a reveal date set for February 5.
A teaser site set up by Nissan USA has the next-generation Pathfinder and Frontier’s shapes emerging from white, much like the hosts in Westworld.
The site also implores us to “Get ready for the next step in Nissan’s evolution”, though fortunately this involves fresh product and not an android insurrection.
Nissan Australia has yet to confirm if the new generation will be introduced here, though every prior generation of Pathfinder has been sold in Australia.
Though it’s only been teased in outline, we can already see the next Pathfinder has a more blocky, conventional SUV silhouette à la the rival Hyundai Palisade or the more rugged Pathfinders of yore.
We can also expect the new Pathfinder will feature a bolder V-Motion grille like the redesigned Nissan X-Trail plus a similar front lighting design.
The new Pathfinder is expected to ride on an updated version of the current car’s D platform, shared with other Nissans like the Murano, Altima and Maxima.
Overseas reports last year indicated Nissan may scrap the continuously-variable transmission of the current car in favour of a nine-speed automatic transmission, though the current car’s naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 is expected to continue.
Also flagged as a possibility for the Pathfinder is Nissan’s turbocharged 2.0-litre variable compression four-cylinder engine.
Currently available in the Nissan Altima and Infiniti QX50 and QX55, the turbo four isn’t limited by a fixed compression ratio. Instead, it can raise or lower the height that the pistons reach and adjust them according to driving conditions.
In the Infinitis it produces 200kW of power and 380Nm of torque, while in the Altima output is 185kW and 370Nm.
The VC-Turbo engine replaced the V6 option in the redesigned Altima, though the bent-six isn’t dead yet at Nissan and remains in the older Murano and Maxima.
Key rivals like the Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Palisade also continue to be V6-powered, even as mid-sized sedans rapidly abandon the engine layout.
The Pathfinder is currently one of the oldest models in Nissan’s local line-up, having been introduced in 2013.
That makes it newer than only the 370Z (launched in 2008) and GT-R (2007), though Nissan also offers some other old models in other markets like the North American-market Frontier (2004) and Japanese-market Fuga (2009) and Elgrand (2010).
The current Qashqai and X-Trail were both revealed in 2013 and launched locally in 2014, with replacements for both due to arrive in Australia this year.
The current generation was the first of crossover Pathfinder, albeit not the first generation to use a unibody construction. It was developed in the US where it’s also built.
A properly large SUV with a third row that can actually fit adult humans, the Pathfinder reached a height of 6433 sales in 2015, though that slumped to 2712 sales in 2019 and just 1118 sales last year.
It’s powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre petrol V6 with 202kW of power and 340Nm of torque. There’s also a hybrid option, which mates a 188kW/330Nm 2.5-litre supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a 15kW electric motor.
Like the Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Kluger, two other large crossovers developed with the US as a focus, there’s a choice of front- or all-wheel drive but no diesel option available.
Though the Pathfinder was initially conceived as an SUV version of the Navara ute, that role is now performed by the Terra. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Asian markets.
Nissan Australia has repeatedly expressed a desire to bring the Terra to Australia, but hasn’t been able to get a version of the car that meets local emissions and safety standards.