2022 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Although this is a test that puts two veterans of the SUV game in a head-to-head battle of four-wheel drive, seven passengers, it is not the biggest part of the story.

It may be true that these two have been in different forms since the SUV wave – yes, the tsunami, really – in North America just started rolling but both take very different forms than they once did, even if their goal remains the same: give families a alternatives to minibuses to easily move them and their goods.

So, through all the changes, which of these two remains the most faithful to the original and if it does, does it still hit the target in today’s market?

Styling

While the Grand Cherokee has been fairly faithful to its roots with a healthy dose of luxury and good terrain chops, Pathfinder has undergone significant changes since the 80’s debut more often than Logan Roy changing a successor.

What started as a closed version of the venerable Nissan Hardbody pickup, was transformed into a more rounded, slightly softer SUV, into a V8-powered behemoth to what we see here: a full-size unibody three-row crossover with more rounded corners and some futuristic details such as headlights in two levels, two-tone wheels and a contrast-colored roof.

With that said, however, this latest version of Pathfinder has actually regained some of the toughness that was lost when it first went to a unibody platform for its previous generation. It gets more sculpted fenders, thicker exterior mirrors, a more vertical rear window and large “Pathfinder” scripts over the rear tailgate that give it a wider stance. It appears tougher, more purposeful and chiseled.

And then you see Grand Cherokee L.

The Jeep is a sneaky, chrome-plated, Cro-magnon forehead, square fended best of an SUV that even makes its own predecessor – even in stacked SRT or Trailhawk shapes – seem pedestrian in comparison. It’s obvious that the greatness associated with Grand Cherokee’s Grand Wagoneer big brother has seeped down. It’s cool, but you get the feeling it’s not like you that much.

Inside, while the Nissan sits at the top of its class and the Jeep two steps below, the two are luxurious offerings at first blush. They get both genuine leather seats, digital meter clusters, fairly large central infotainment screens, smart electronic gear selectors (a steering wheel for Jeep, a more traditional “stick” for Pathfinder) and both have about the same amount of interior space.

However, the Jeep goes exactly that extra distance on so many points. The leather is higher quality, the screens are a bit larger (my tester had the optional 10.1-inch screen; Nissan is only available with a 9-inch), the McIntosh sound system is sharper than Pathfinder’s Bose offering (it has 19 Nissan speakers 13), it has a digital rearview mirror and just a little more polishing in the form of wooden inserts with open pores and jewel-like controls.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Performance, driving and handling

Both of these get V6 plants: Nissan a 3.5-liter, Jeep a 3.6L. The extra 100 cc translates to 6 more horsepower and another 2 pound-feet of torque over the Nissan – so not much, really, although you can have the Jeep with a more powerful Hemi V8 and what you see here is what you get with the Nissan.

Also – happy day – there are no acceleration-efficient CVT cars here; just good old-fashioned gears for an 8-speed jeep and a brand new 9-speed for Pathfinder.

It therefore comes as no surprise that while it is a bit without power for the Jeep, the acceleration in the Pathfinder is just as robust and feels like a zipper thanks to the fact that it weighs about 200 kilos less – yes, that’s a lot. The Jeep may look like the faster vehicle thanks to its muscular lines, but the Pathfinder is no slouch and it really surprised me during my first driveway maneuver. The lower weight means that it is also the winner in the raffles for fuel economy (see below).

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

But – and there is a but – there is something about the jeep’s engine that gives a finer sense of luxury than you get with the Nissan. Pentastar V6 revs smoothly and gets a good torque in the midrange, so there is a good push regardless of the speed you carry. Nissan may feel faster, but the Grand Cherokee L does its business in a less stressful way.

To back up the interior equipment and the long driveline, the Grand Cherokee L also gets an optional self-leveling suspension system for aviation that takes it straight into luxury SUV territory – and as mentioned earlier, we have not even reached the top yet (literally; the upper trim called “Summit”). Not even at the platinum level can the Pathfinder match this – but then, in this specification, the Jeep darkens the Pathfinder by a handful of dollars.

Practicality

Both of these are three-wheeled SUVs and by now most people are familiar with the deal with these; the third row is not usually intended for heavy use by adults; they are usually difficult to get to and are not as spacious once you get there so they are better for children and car seats.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

In all cases; Both of these sports are surprisingly useful third-row, with the Jeep borrowing a bit from Nissan in the way that its second-row both tilts and slides to give third-row access. This way, you can still access the third row even with highchairs installed on the second row. Nissan has used this technology in its Pathfinder since the 2014 model. Of the two, however, I thought that Pathfinder’s third row was more useful due to the fact that the seat is mounted a little lower and gives more ceiling height. Its seats are also softer and more supportive than jeeps. The second row of Pathfinder will tilt and slide with a simple push of a button, while the Jeep requires more elbow grease and a twist of a more awkwardly placed lever on the seat axle. Big points for Nissan there.

You will get more cargo space in the jeep, but not by a large margin. Both of these meanwhile provide foot-activated tailgates, so if you approach charged for bear with shopping bags and the like, you are well catered for.

Features

When it comes to infotainment, it’s a hand-down win for the Jeep. Whether you stick to the standard 8.4-inch screen or the 10.1-inch option I had, the Uconnect interface remains as sleek, flexible and attractive as anything else in the industry. The Pathfinder device is an upgrade from the previous one in that it is faster to respond, but – and this can be a microchip thing, who knows? – we still do not get the new system as the larger Pathfinder Armada does. The graphics are a bit old, the buttons on the screen are a bit small and it is not as customizable as Jeepens, which has a home screen that allows you to load your favorite apps and commands.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

Oh, and how can we forget Jeep’s FamCam tool that lets you see the two rear rows right there on your infotainment screen? It’s incredibly practical for anything but a rear-facing child seat, unless you like to examine your child’s bald spot.

Both vehicles also use traditional hard buttons for your climate controls, which I was surprised to see in the jeep as many of Stellanti’s current products ask you to use the Uconnect screen to activate functions such as your seat and steering wheel heaters.

Value

Pathfinder starts at a clear $ 8,000 less than the Grand Cherokee, but both start life with a second-row bench. They also get both adaptive cruise control at the base, a blind spot system, heated front seats, AWD and the same powertrains that you get at maximum trim. However, the Jeep has more space inside and a better AWD system, which is where you start to see some of the extra money go.

Judgment

Although you can not specify Nissan to reach the price level of the Grand Cherokee L Overland as you see here, you have to like how Nissan does not seem to take itself as seriously as the Jeep – I mean, it has a “Sport” “driving mode, for Pete’s sake! Of course the jeep has one too but the Pathfinder remains a little more airy, a little lighter on the feet but still drives well and offers similar power as the jeep.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder

The Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, is a fantastic exercise in chiseled styling and gets Jeeps proven, tested and true Quadra-Trac I active 4 x 4 systems at the base, improved to Quadra-Trac II at Overland level and above, which allows for 100 percent of the torque to be directed to either shaft and gives a low range with 2.72: 1 gear.

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

However, the Pathfinder is not sloppy in this regard – it can also send 100 percent of the available torque to both axles, and it is a standard feature – has different terrain modes and a hill control system that you activate with the push of a button.

But I really like the jeep. It has the look, more space inside, more options to suit a variety of tastes and the attitude that comes with years of perfection of a package. It’s the one I would like, but Pathfinder has matured and offers more to more people than ever before.

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