By Jennifer Geiger on August 3, 2012
Nissan unveiled a concept version of its Pathfinder SUV at the 2012 New York International Auto Show last spring, and though it looked production-ready, details were slim — until today. With fresh styling and a new engine, the 2013 Pathfinder sheds some weight and gains some MPGs for the new year.
With the redesign, the Pathfinder trades its truck-like body-on-frame architecture for a unibody platform. Styling also takes a turn with flowing lines and curves replacing the old version's boxy SUV shape.
Gone are last year's 310-horsepower V-8 and 266-hp, 4.0-liter V-6. The sole engine in the 2013 model is a 260-hp, 3.5-liter V-6. It's mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, which replaces a five-speed automatic. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.
Nissan says the 2013 Pathfinder's fuel economy has improved by more than 30% over the V-6 2012 model (EPA rated at 15/22 mpg city/highway), thanks to a more aerodynamic body design, a loss of around 500 pounds, reduced engine friction and its next-generation CVT. The new models are rated at 20/26 mpg (front-wheel drive) and 19/25 mpg (four-wheel drive).
The Pathfinder will continue to seat seven passengers. New interior features include a dual-panel moonroof that extends to the third row, the Around View Monitor camera system and a flexible seating system that allows you to move the second-row seat forward while a child-safety seat is installed, similar to the Infiniti JX's. Additionally, Nissan says Pathfinder is the only vehicle in the class with a reclining third-row seat.
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will be manufactured at Nissan's Smyrna assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle's fall on-sale date.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer