Nissan officially launched its overhauled 2013 Pathfinder with a complete redesign, a luxurious interior and a bunch of technology packaged into a new unibody platform.
The 2013 Pathfinder goes on sale in the fall.
Probably the biggest news is the pricing, which will start at $28,270 (without destination). That’s $1020 less than the base 2012 model and, considering the amount of upgrades, mighty impressive.
The new seven-passenger Pathfinder now rides on a unibody platform, which is generally lighter and offers more a carlike ride and handling characteristics. According to Nissan, the switch to a unibody design shaved roughly 500 pounds from the curb weight. As a result, the combined city-highway fuel economy is expected to improve about 25 percent.
This is a significant increase over the previous model and also the competition. Nissan says in the announcement that the increase was achieved primarily through a new, aerodynamic exterior design, 500 pounds of weight reduction, reduced engine friction and the application of a class-exclusive, next generation Xtronic CVT automatic transmission.
Although the new styling makes the vehicle look a bit smaller, Nissan says it managed to carve out 79.8 cubic feet of cargo space, deceptively improving on the previous model.
As we anticipated, the 2013 model uses the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the new Infiniti JX, matched to a next-generation Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). In this application, the V6 produces 260-horsepower.
Pathfinder will no longer offer manual or traditional automatic transmissions, V-8 or four-cylinder engine options.
Officials said buyers in this category aren’t looking for off-road capability anymore, and many are former minivan owners.
“Our customers are looking for all-weather capability,” said Tom Smith, Nissan’s chief of truck and SUV marketing. “They are not going off-road much, but if they do, we still have Xterra and Armada (truck-framed SUVs).”
The AWD option, available on all trim levels, gets you a shift-on-the-fly three-mode control button that allows automatic, locked FWD, or locked AWD modes.
Inside, the new EZ-Flex seating provides easy access to the back. With just a flick of a lever, the rear seats tilt and slide all the way forward, making getting to the third row less of a chore—a major plus for the “savvy, cool parents” Nissan says is its target demographic.
Nissan has also upgraded the cabin for a premium feel, with higher quality plastics used throughout the interior – though the faux wood trim on the center console isn’t fooling anyone.
Options include a 13-speaker Bose audio system, heated and cooled front seats and the Around View parking monitor.
Manufacturing of the 2013 Pathfinder will begin in August at the company’s assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee and the new model will be in showrooms shortly afterward, company officials said.
In 2011, Nissan sold 25,935 Pathfinders while competitors such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander all sold more than 100,000 vehicles.
2013 Nissan Pathfinder – most important:
-500-pound weight reduction from 2012 Pathfinder
-standard towing capacity of 5000 pounds
-FWD and 4WD
-New Xtronic CVT transmission
-EZ Flex Seating System + LATCH AND GLIDE
-3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine: 260-horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 240 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm.
Optionals: leather-appointed seating, heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, programmable Nissan Intelligent Key®, Nissan Navigation System, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, 13-speaker Bose® Premium Audio system, Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Dual-Zone Climate Control, RearView Monitor, remote engine start and tri-zone entertainment system.