By Jennifer Geiger on December 20, 2012
The last-generation Nissan Pathfinder was one of the least family-friendly SUVs on the market. The 2013 version is its opposite in many ways. Nissan's three-row SUV got a complete redesign, shedding its blocky, stocky look and trucklike body-on-frame architecture for the curves and unibody platform of the crossover class.
The seven-passenger also got a warm, inviting interior full of family-friendly features like a second-row seat that provides a clear path to the third row even when a forward-facing child-safety seat is installed.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
Here's how the 2013 Pathfinder did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of lower anchors in the outboard seats. They're somewhat buried in the seat bight, but it's easy to push the cushions out of the way. The seatbacks also recline for easier Latch access.
In the third row, there aren't any Latch anchors for the two-seat bench, which is common. There's one tether anchor midway down the seatback on the passenger side.
Booster seat: The booster fit well and had plenty of space in the second row. The buckle is on a stable base and sits low in the cushion, but not so low that the booster slid over it.
The booster was easy to install in the third row, but the head restraints aren't removable, which may interfere with the angle of some boosters. The buckles here are also on stable bases. The third-row seatbacks recline, but legroom is at a premium; those in the second row will have to share the wealth.
Convertible seat: In the second row, there was plenty of room for the convertible in both modes — forward and rear facing. In rear mode, there was no need to move the front passenger seat forward to accommodate it. Forward facing, it was easy to connect to the tether anchors, which are on the seatback.
In the third row, we installed the forward-facing convertible using the seat belt, since there aren't any Latch anchors. It fit well and went in easily, helped by the reclining seatback.
Infant-safety seat: There was also plenty of room for the rear-facing infant seat. Installing it was easy, and the front passenger didn't need to move the seat forward to accommodate it.
Third-row access: Just like its sibling, the Infiniti JX35, the Pathfinder has a special second row that moves up and forward to provide access to the third row even when a forward-facing child seat is installed. It's a handy convenience feature and worked as promised.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two. Three almost fit but we were unable to buckle the booster when three car seats were on the second-row bench. However, three narrow car seats should fit.
How many car seats fit in third row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
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