2013 Nissan Pathfinder: First Look and Review

By Dan Collins on 31 October 2012
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The Nissan Pathfinder was one of the first mid-sized sport utility vehicles to enter the marketplace nearly thirty years ago, and for 2013, Nissan has unveiled an all-new model. The 2013 Pathfinder will be the first model to ditch the truck-like body-on-frame frame construction and, with numerous other technological advances Nissan hopes that this will make the fourth-generation Pathfinder a leader in what has turned into the highly competitive and important mid-sized SUV segment.

The Tennessee-built 2013 Pathfinder is longer and wider, but shorter than the outgoing model, and sports a more athletic and wider stance. Like the outgoing model, seating for seven is standard, and four-wheel drive is optional. The optional V8 from the last generation has gone by the wayside and all Pathfinders use a 3.5-liter 260 horsepower V6 that can tow up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg).

Subjectively, the new Pathfinder is a decent looking car, and resembles the rest of its segment very much. While the entry-level Pathfinder isn’t exactly Spartan, the car can be equipped quite nicely, and a fully-loaded top-of-the-line Platinum edition with 4-wheel drive rings in around $43,000.


I was pleasantly surprised with the Pathfinder, especially since it makes use of a continuously-variable transmission which I would usually associate with hybrids and elastic bands. The V6 was responsive, and while the steering is not going to win over anyone cross-shopping the Pathfinder with a BMW M3, it wasn’t half bad on the winding roads of northern California. The power was sufficient to pass and climb grades that you would find on public roads, and the two-mode CVT’s ability to “kick down” made the transmission much better than what I had found in other similar vehicles recently.

The ride is smooth and comfortable, undoubtedly a plus for the customer base who Nissan expects to be purchasing the Pathfinder, considering the second row’s ability to tilt and slide, allowing for access to the third row even with a child seat installed. Our test vehicle was part of the top-of-the-line Platinum grade, and thanks to the light “Wheat” leather interior and panoramic moonroof, was quite light and spacious inside. The driving position was comfortable and the seat supportive. I was particularly pleased with the thigh support, since few automakers seems to be under the impression that people over six feet tall exist. In addition, the front seats are both heated and ventilated, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated as well. The second row has its own optional climate controls and heated seats.

Click here to continue to Page 2Infotainment, Tech and Virtual Drives with the Nissan Pathfinder

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