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2013 Nissan Pathfinder

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2013 Nissan Pathfinder Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2013

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 the Pathfinder
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.

AROUND-VIEW MONITOR
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.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder Details
2013 Nissan Pathfinder photo Interior

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.

Exterior
2013 Nissan Pathfinder photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.5-liter V6
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)

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