By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
By moving the 2013 Pathfinder into the 7-passenger crossover SUV mainstream, Nissan fills a big hole in its lineup. Depending on your viewpoint, the Nissan Pathfinder is either a large mid-size or a not-quite full-size SUV. It shares much of its architecture with the also-new Infiniti JX35 luxury crossover, including unitized body construction, the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), standard V6 power, and 3-row seating. Courtesy of a 500-pound weight reduction and improved aerodynamics, Nissan claims a class-leading EPA fuel economy estimate of 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway for front-wheel-drive 2013 Pathfinders. The removal of the truck-type frame also allows easier entry/exit and a lower step-in height for passengers. EZ Flex seating provides numerous 2nd- and 3rd-row configuration possibilities. All of which inspired us to name the Pathfinder one of the 10 Best Family Cars of 2013.
If you want class-leading V6 fuel economy in a mainstream 7-passenger crossover, something a bit more nimble than a Chevy Traverse but roomier than a Toyota Highlander and with the power to tow a 5,000-pound trailer on occasion, the new-generation Nissan Pathfinder should be on your shopping list.
If you're looking for hard-core ruggedness, off-road prowess, or the big towing capability of a traditional truck-based SUV, the new "gentrified" 2013 Pathfinder may not be for you.
Pretty much everything but the Nissan Pathfinder name is new for 2013. That includes a transverse-mounted 3.5-liter V6, Xtronic continuously variable transmission (CVT), unitized body, front-wheel-drive version, All-Mode 4x4 all-wheel drive system, EZ Flex seating, available panoramic sunroof, and many other new enhancements.
Driving Impressions Dropping nearly a quarter-ton of mass while gaining an entirely new platform and a far quieter cabin, the 2013 Pathfinder represents a major departure from its predecessor, both on the...... road and off. A longer wheelbase, wider stance and lower overall height give the SUV a more stable feel, while a retuned suspension and advanced traction and stability systems help keep body roll in check through corners. The revised Pathfinder suspension setup does an equally commendable job of soaking up road imperfections when you're in cruise mode. The latest iteration of Nissan's Xtronic CVT automatic matches well with its new V6, endowing the Pathfinder with a responsive character that complements its newfound economy and still provides a standard 5,000-pound towing capacity. Also noteworthy is the optional All-Mode 4x4-i intelligent 4-wheel-drive system that enhances all-season security and also offers a full-lock setting for use on particularly challenging surfaces.
EZ FLEX LATCH & GLIDE SYSTEM
This Nissan-patented feature allows child safety seats latched to the 2nd-row seats to remain strapped in when they are slid forward to gain access to the 3rd-row seats.
Displayed on a 4-inch screen between the speedometer and tachometer, this shows parked cars and all other obstacles in a 360-degree circle around the Pathfinder from an overhead perspective.
Roomier than the last year's Pathfinder, Nissan says the all-new 2013 Pathfinder has the best front-seat headroom, legroom and overall passenger volume among its competitors. Key to the flexibility are individually folding 2nd-row seats that slide five inches fore/aft to allow access to the third row. Both the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats recline for comfort and can be folded to form a flat load floor. Surprise-and-delight features include an ample hidden storage bin aft of the third row, double map pockets behind each front seat, built-in tie-downs, and flip-out coat hooks.
Though there is some family resemblance to previous versions, the 2013 Pathfinder has been smoothed by the wind, with rounder edges and a more tapered nose replacing the last iteration's truck-like fender bulges and more vertical grille to improve fuel economy. Larger windows in the new version aid outward visibility. With an eye towards fuel economy, the 2013 Pathfinder hugs the ground a little closer. Overhangs are longer and ground clearance, particularly at the front, is reduced, but this crossover is intended more for Suburbia and the occasional dirt road rather than running Baja.
Each of the four Pathfinder trim grades (S/SV/SL/Platinum) gets its own specific roster of features that expand as you move through the model hierarchy. Even the well-appointed Pathfinder S comes with a full array of power assists, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel on a tilt/telescoping column, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio package, air conditioning, halogen headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, Vehicle Dynamics/Traction control and front/front-side/side-curtain airbags. At the Platinum level, the standard kit includes primo touches like leather upholstery (also on SL), a 13-speaker Bose sound system, DVD navigation, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, tri-zone climate control, a power rear liftgate, Around View Monitor, and 20-inch alloy wheels.
The extras list on the 2013 Pathfinder is short and sweet. An SL Premium Package nets the pleasures of a Bose Premium Audio upgrade and a Dual Panorama Moonroof with 1-touch tilt/open/close controls (front) and front and rear sunshades, plus the practicality of a 120V power outlet, a tow hitch receiver, a transmission cooling fan, and a trailer harness. The Platinum Premium Package includes the Dual Panorama Moonroof and adds a rear Family Entertainment System with dual 7.0-inch screens, wireless headphones and wireless remote control. All but the Pathfinder S also offer a Trailer Tow Package with a hitch receiver, transmission cooling fan and trailer harness.
Though the new Nissan Pathfinder is larger and roomier than last year's model, reduced weight and improved aerodynamics help it achieve a 30-percent fuel-economy gain. Last year's optional 5.6-liter V8 is dropped, but the standard 2013 Pathfinder tow rating is an impressive 5,000 pounds, better than Honda Pilot. A new front-drive model achieves the 2013 Pathfinder's best EPA estimated fuel economy of 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway, which is more fuel-efficient than even the smaller, lighter Nissan Murano, and with greater towing capacity. Four-wheel-drive versions feature a knob on the console enabling three driver-selectable modes: 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock. All 2013 Pathfinders are equipped with an Xtronic continuously variable transmission that eliminates the pauses between shifts of a conventional automatic gearbox.
260 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
240 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 mpg (FWD), 19/25 mpg (AWD)
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four basic trims grades: S, SV, SL and Platinum. On the rear-drive side of the mix, the Pathfinder S opens just over $29,000 with an SV commanding just under $32,500, an SL beginning around $35,500, and the top-line Platinum model starting just over $40,000. All-wheel drive in any Pathfinder will add about $1,600 to the bottom line. As in the past, those figures place the new Nissan Pathfinder right in the sweet spot of this extremely competitive segment that includes key rivals like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. For an even meatier advantage, take a look at the KBB's Fair Purchase to see what Pathfinder buyers in your area are paying for their SUVs. Nissan resale value tends to share the middle ground with the bulk of the vehicles in any given segment, so you can expect the Pathfinder to hold its value as well as most, but not quite so well as the best of the competition.
By Lauren B on Thursday, July 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Quality Materials, Spacious Interior"
Cons: "CVT takes some getting used to"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought the 2014 SL Premium at a really great price. I had a G35 MT that was my baby, but it was no longer practical (and I have a real baby now). I needed a bigger car, and the smaller crossover wasn't roomy enough after installation of a bulky carseat, while the true SUVs were just too much room for us. It needed to be comfy for cruising a few hours for weekend trips to see my sister, but I wanted all the bells and whistles that I was used to on my Infiniti. Admittedly I didn't immediately love the PF...but I kept it for the day and was won over by the upscale interior and features. I'm not in love with the outside, but considering I spend 2+ hours a day driving, exterior looks are secondary. I put some aftermarket wheels on her and it made a huge difference. I look at CUVs as a driving experience of a different kind. If it can't be fun and exciting like my G, it sure as heck better be spacious, useful, and have a very classy, comfortable interior. My toddler is mesmerized by the second row moonroof (and I love it too). The CVT has been an adjustment as you can imagine, but I've had no problems and I've learned how to get as much power out of it as I can. Call it a Mallfinder if you must...but Nissan knew what their target consumer needed - and wanted - when they redesigned this one. If the CVT continues to be reliable, this is a great all-around car."
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By illinoisppl on Friday, May 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks nice till you use it"
Cons: "bumpiness, bad interior design, poor gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My average gas mileage is 18 and that is only if I turn off the 4 x 4 option. With 4x4 on, it is 15 mpg. The trunk is smaller than it looks, I currently cannot use my third row as a result. The interior 'looks' nice but the drivers seat headrest cannot be adjusted and hits me in the head on bumpy roads. I have to set the seat in recline to drive and of course, now I have back issues from the strain. Car rides like a truck and accelerates horribly. I would never buy another Pathfinder again based on this!"
23 people out of 42 found this review helpful
By Amber on Thursday, May 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, smooth drive, gas mileage, roomy"
Cons: "Nervous about all the recalls/manufacturer defects"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I'd been looking for an SUV with a 3rd row for over 6 months that was under $30K and was not having any luck. But after I saw the new design of the Pathfinder, and that a local dealer had a used 2013 in stock I went and test drove it (March 2014). I instantly loved the feel of the drive, and the look of the dash and interior, the gas mileage and most of all price ($28K for the SV model with 25K miles). My husband and I both really wanted a Highlander but could not find an affordable used one. We also considered the Pilot but did not like the boxy look or feel of the interior. So the Pathfinder seemed like a good mix of price and style. However, after I bought it I saw all the negative reviews with multiple recalls and issues with the transmission. Needless to say I had major buyers remorse and seriously considered returning it. But my husband insisted he thought the transmission was fine since it already had 25K miles on it and we did not feel/hear any similar issues with jerking, etc. We also confirmed with the dealer that it had a 100K drivetrain warranty that included the transmission. It's been 2 months since we've owned it. We still love the feel of the seats and roominess of the interior. It's definitely bigger in size to the Highlander. However, there are a few annoyances. The cloth interior is almost like suede, and so it looks kind of dirty all the time. I also noticed on the driver/front passenger door handles some of the cloth is wearing off already. I've wiped it down and it seems to clear it up a little. I also agree with previous reviewers now that the dash computer screen looks a little outdated. Kinda 80'sish with these diagonal lines. However, it drives super smooth, has a good turn radius and looks decent on the exterior (I still prefer the look to the Highlander though). I don't think it'll be a car that I own forever. But based on it being a Nissan, I'm hoping it can last us a good 10 years. I drive approximately 20 miles a day to/from work/daycare and average 21 mpg with about 60-70 of that in town and the rest highway. So I'm very happy with the gas mileage. I also wanted to say that there are companies that pay people to write "fake" reviews. So please make sure you read all of the reviews with that caveat in mind. I can't help but wonder if the true overall rating of the Pathfinder would be lower. I normally would not write a review on something I'm still undecided on. But I wanted to provide a true consumer review, and my opinion on the SUV."
22 people out of 23 found this review helpful