Previewed in several official factory photos earlier this week, the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has just made its formal debut accompanied by a selection of pertinent facts that more clearly define the scale of its transformation. Beyond a dramatic new look, the third and by far most ambitious generation of Nissan's rugged on/off-road specialist gains loads of new creature features, sheds masses of mass as it moves from body-on-frame to unitized construction and receives a new and far-more-efficient powertrain that Nissan says will deliver best-in-class mpg figures.
While sharing a good deal of basic platform design with the recently-launched Infiniti JX, the 2013 Pathfinder embodies its own unique visual and mechanical character. All-new bodywork puts a modern spin on a number of cues culled from previous Pathfinder iterations while recasting the overall proportions to yield a more contemporary and more aerodynamic exterior. The makeover complements sleeker overall lines and muscular detailing with slimmer greenhouse pillars, functional front/rear spoilers and more elegantly rendered headlamp/tailamp treatments.
Beneath the surface, the Pathfinder's new unit body offers even more rigidity than the old truck-style full-frame design while helping knock some 500 pounds off of the vehicle's curb weight. In addition to improving ride and handling characteristics, it allows the new Pathfinder to maintain a best-in-class 5,000-pound standard towing capacity.
Sole powertrain for 2013 will be the automaker's new ultra-efficient 3.5-liter V6 backed by Nissan's latest-generation Xtronic CVT automatic transmission -- the same combo found in the Infiniti JX. Although Pathfinder-specific tuning trims the pony count in this application from 265 to 260, it also raises relative fuel economy. Helped by a significantly lighter total package, the new Pathfinder delivers over 30 percent better mileage figures than a 2012 model with the base 4.0-liter V6. Front-drive 2013 Pathfinders earn 20/26 mpg city/highway EPA ratings while variants fitted with the available All-Mode 4x4-i system carry 19/25 mpg figures. Nissan claims both will be segment leaders when it comes to mileage-maxing skills.
Melding style with functionality, the cabin of the Pathfinder offers best-in-class total passenger volume along with a more fashionable and functional take on moving up to seven people and their gear in refined comfort. The more stylisly rendered dash features a new multifunction Advanced Drive-Assist Display in the center of the main instrument cluster while a large touch-screen monitor dominates the center stack and offers quick, easy interaction with the various infotainment and ancillary systems. Behind the supportive front buckets is a 60/40 split-folding second row bench that offers 5.5 inches of fore/aft travel. Incorporating Nissan's EZ Flex Seating System with Latch and Glide, it permits tip-up access to a 50/50 flat-folding third row that features the segments only reclining seatbacks.
While Nissan has yet to provide packaging specifics on the available S, SV, SL and Platinum trim grades, it has confirmed the 2013 Pathfinder will be available with numerous upline amenities including leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled front buckets, Nissan Navigation System, 13-speaker Bose Premium Audio system, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, programmable Nissan Intelligent Key, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, remote engine start, tri-zone entertainment system and a RearView Monitor along with the segment's first Around View Monitor.
Arriving in showrooms this fall, the 2013 Pathfinder will be manufactured in Smyrna, Tennessee. Pricing will be released closer to its official on-sale date.