Car Comparisons

2022 Nissan Pathfinder vs Toyota Highlander Comparison Test

Comparison Data

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum
2022 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum
Engine Displacement
Engine Cylinders
Peak Horsepower
284 hp
295 hp
Peak Torque
259 lb-ft
263 lb-ft
Fuel Economy
11.6 / 9.2 / 10.5 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
11.8 / 8.6 / 10.3 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space
470 / 1,274 / 2,421 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row
453 / 1,370 / 2,387 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row
Base Price
A/C Tax
Destination Fee
Price as Tested
Optional Equipment
$300 – Paint, $300
$2,555 – Premium Colour (Platinum), $2,555

When it comes to road-trip-worthy crossovers with three rows of seats, the Toyota Highlander is among the most popular choices on the market.

But the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder has arrived with a newly drawn-up plan to steal some attention away from its ever-popular rival. With its rugged new look, premium-feeling cabin, and various mechanical updates, this Pathfinder does all it can to make an impression.


The 2022 Toyota Highlander is such a familiar sight that it’s easy to look past – even after just a few years on the market in its current form. It isn’t as boxy or rugged-looking as its rival here, and the soft edges are inoffensive, helping the Highlander’s appeal.

The cabin design demonstrates how Toyotas can feel high quality without being complicated or flashy. There are no huge screens, additional displays, or weird touch-capacitive buttons – just a clean layout with firm, tactile controls. The leather upholstery in this tester is high-end, making the Highlander feel like a pleasant place to spend plenty of time in.

The Pathfinder is a significant departure from its previous iteration. It’s not boxy, channelling a bit of the design of the larger Nissan Armada that gives it an immediate aura of ruggedness. You won’t miss it, and it fills the mirrors of vehicles around it with an imposing presence.

However, the cabin doesn’t feel very rugged or tough, leaning more towards a luxurious aura through soft, smooth upholstery and a clean, modern layout. It’s clear that Nissan has looked beyond the best-selling Highlander, and instead seems inspired by the likes of the Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, or maybe even something straight from the premium end of the market. It’s a good idea, as the Pathfinder feels modern and loaded with features, and ultimately a class above the Highlander in many ways.

Nissan Pathfinder: 8.5/10; Toyota Highlander: 7/10

User Friendliness

However, in adding all that pizzazz to the cabin of the Pathfinder, Nissan made it less intuitive and user-friendly. The controls are a bit small, but the infotainment system is a highlight, with a responsive interface along with wireless support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Highlander feels less tech-oriented, and the user interface is a bit inelegant in comparison. There is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, but both are tethered rather than wireless. The lack of displays may seem like a loss, but we’re all so accustomed to analogue displays, so the dials leave the Highlander with a flatter learning curve.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7.5/10; Toyota Highlander: 7/10


Both vehicles offer all the safety gear you can think of, but the Highlander puts all of that equipment in the base model. Toyota’s latest advanced safety suite includes forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights, with only rear automatic braking and blind-spot monitoring reserved for more expensive models. The Pathfinder also offers the same equipment, but not on the base model; mid-trim and higher versions put it all together.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7/10; Toyota Highlander: 8/10


Fortunately, Nissan balances its packaging of features beyond just safety equipment. You’ll find a head-up display, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, three-zone climate control, sunshades, and a wireless phone charger inside, depending on trim. The problem is that you can get all the same features in the Highlander, too, negating any advantage Nissan has in terms of equipment.

Nissan Pathfinder: 8/10; Toyota Highlander: 8/10


The Pathfinder can’t completely escape the Highlander when it comes to cargo space, either. Sure, it has a little more hauling ability behind the third row, with 470 L compared to 453 L in the Toyota, but the story changes quickly when the third- or second-row seats are folded. Space in the Pathfinder expands to 1,274 L behind the second row compared to the 1,370 L in the Highlander – a trend that continues with both rows folded, with the Nissan measuring 2,280 L and the Toyota with 2,387 L.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7.5/10; Toyota Highlander: 8.5/10


While the Highlander has plenty of cargo space, the Pathfinder seems better oriented for passengers, with a bit more room all around. It’s larger in just about every dimension, and that’s felt in the cabin where there’s a lower chance of rubbing elbows or knees with your fellow passengers. The seats are also a bit softer and more supportive in the Pathfinder, helping to keep up a strong sense of comfort even during long trips.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7.5/10; Toyota Highlander: 7/10

Driving Feel

The smaller dimensions of the Highlander allow it to feel more agile and manoeuvrable compared to the Pathfinder. The latest crop of three-rows struggle here, as they drive “big” and can sometimes feel unwieldy or clumsy in traffic or urban conditions. The Highlander feels a bit more confident in these settings, while the Pathfinder takes getting used to.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7/10; Toyota Highlander: 7.5/10


Another important difference between these two comes with their powertrains. The 3.5L V6 in the Pathfinder puts out 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. This is below the rated output of 295 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque in the 3.5L V6 engine of the Toyota Highlander. The lighter Highlander feels a bit more responsive, and its eight-speed automatic transmission does less gear hunting than the Pathfinder, making it feel more confident on the road. However, those with towing needs may feel more comfortable with the Pathfinder, which maxes out at 2,722 kg (6,000 lb) compared to the 2,268-kg (5,000-lb) capacity of the Toyota.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7/10; Toyota Highlander: 7.5/10

Fuel Economy

There’s a very small and almost negligible difference in terms of fuel consumption between these two vehicles. The Highlander is rated to return 11.8 L/100 km in city driving conditions, 8.6 on the highway, and 10.3 combined.

The Nissan is slightly more efficient in the city, but worse on the highway, coming in at 11.6 L/100 km around town, 9.2 on the highway, and 10.5 combined. Throughout our testing, the Highlander was slightly more efficient, though not close to the expectations, as the cold weather and winter tires impacted consumption.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7/10; Toyota Highlander: 7.5/10


The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is the more affordable vehicle at the base and loaded levels, though both of these are on the more expensive end of the scale. Shoppers on tighter budgets may want to check out the Chevrolet Traverse or Subaru Ascent, both of which are value leaders in this segment. The Pathfinder starts at $46,198 for the basic S model. The fully loaded Platinum model tested starts at $56,858.

The Highlander starts at $46,640 for the entry-level LE model and scales up to $57,380 for the Limited model with the Platinum package. All prices include their respective freight charges.

Nissan Pathfinder: 7.5/10; Toyota Highlander: 7/10

The Verdict

After analyzing the value and pricing of these two crossovers, it’s a bit easier to pick a winner. The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is more affordable, has more passenger space, has a gorgeous interior design, and cool high-tech features. The trade-off is that it’s less efficient and has less overall cargo space than the 2022 Toyota Highlander. Toyota also throws its safety tech as standard tech which isn’t the strategy Nissan employs, but overall, the Pathfinder comes out as the more rounded product.