2013 Nissan Pathfinder Review

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2013 Nissan Pathfinder Overview

Over a quarter century since its original debut, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder returns, again, to a crossover platform, ditching the truck-based body-on-frame chassis in favor of better road manners and comfort over rugged brawn and a 7,000-pound towing capacity. Now based on the current Murano, the all-new 2013 Pathfinder maintains comfortable seating for 7 while sacrificing precisely half its towing capacity, but gaining in fuel efficiency, agility and overall comfort.

Unfortunately the efficiency gain isn't much—the outgoing Pathfinder fetched 15 mpg city/22 highway with its 4-liter V6 and front-wheel drive (FWD), whereas the 2013 should get something equivalent to the Murano's 18/24 with its 3.5-liter V6 and CVT, and about the same 1 mpg drop in the highway figure with all-wheel drive (AWD). It is expected for the 2013 Pathfinder to adopt the Murano's V6, but you can safely expect some tweaks for the Pathfinder's additional bulk. Even still, chopping off some 30 points between the outgoing and incoming engines could pose some problems in the performance department.

Infiniti's 2013 JX35 is little more than the 2013 Pathfinder with an Infiniti flair, so its 265 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is probably what the Pathfinder will fetch with the same V6 and CVT. Fuel economy for the JX35 is precisely as advertised with the current Murano, and given each of these three's relative curb weights, the Pathfinder should be right on par with the Murano and JX35 in that regard as well.

Whether there will be an additional powertrain choice remains a question, but the 2012 V8 is least likely to carry over. The more likely choice, if there will even be one for this generation's debut, is Nissan's newborn supercharged hybrid. A CVT seems to be the likely, and likely only, transmission choice, but here again you can safely expect the new "intelligent" AWD system to be available alongside a standard FWD setup.

Given technology like tri-zone climate control, intelligent ignition and slidable flex seating, the 2013 Pathfinder makes its way toward practical comfort with style and nearly 80 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. The passenger rows not only fold flat in a 50/50 split, but the second row also features a Nissan innovation busy parents will find especially handy. You no longer need to remove a child seat in order to gain access to the third row, thanks to what Nissan calls "child seat mode," which allows the second row to move—enough for smaller people to squeeze through—with just as much effort as it takes to slide the seat forward otherwise.

The Pathfinder's handling is on par with competitive midsize crossovers, although even in the JX35 this system is not built for precision. Nevertheless, everything about the 2013 Pathfinder is geared significantly more toward the crossover segment than its truck-based predecessors, from its quieted cabin to streaming lines and lowered stance. The Pathfinder's performance in snowy on-road conditions is still unquestionably admirable, but off-road could be another story. It's certainly not as capable as before, but just how much that bar dipped for 2013 is still not clear.

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Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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