Change is one of the inevitabilities of the automotive industry, as trends, buying habits, and economic realities shift over time to shape the market in new and unexpected ways. Recently, fuel prices and the demand for a more comfortable ride have pushed traditional SUVs out of the picture in favor of softer-sprung but equally capable crossovers. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is the perfect example of this change in perspective, as the model represents a fresh take on a respected SUV name plate that takes the vehicle into brand new territory that it never could have previously conquered with its older, rugged 4x4 philosophy.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.
01. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Is All-New
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is a huge stylistic departure that takes the harder lines of the previous generation SUV and translates them onto a more family-friendly people mover template. The Nissan Pathfinder isn't just sleeker and more rounded than ever before, but it is also larger, just barely maintaining its status as a mid-size vehicle. It's also significantly larger than the model it replaces in almost every dimension. The sense of bulk that the Pathfinder provides is substantial, but the crossover's new duds are never overwhelming and line up well against competitors from Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge.
02. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Abandons Its Truck-Based Roots
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has shed the full-frame platform used by the 2012 version of the SUV and as a result it can claim a significant advantage when it comes to handling and ride comfort. As noted above, the new Nissan Pathfinder is larger than ever before but it's also lighter by roughly 500 lbs, thanks to the more modern production and design techniques offered via its unibody structure. Although the current version of the crossover isn't nearly as capable when it come time to venture off-road, the weight loss contributes to better handling as well as improved fuel efficiency. A more car-like suspension design is also on-hand to help civilize the Pathfinder's on-pavement demeanor.
03. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Provides Seven-Passenger Seating
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is a seven-passenger crossover, but unlike the older version of the SUV it there will be no complaints from those relegated to the rear accommodations. A sliding second row (that also reclines) maximizes comfort for adult riders, while children and teenagers will be just fine occupying the rearmost seats - something that could not be said for the 2012 Pathfinder. Getting into the back of the crossover is also simplified by way of a tilting feature for the second row, which has been configured to tilt flawlessly out of the way even when a child seat is installed.
04. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Delivers Enormous Cargo Capacity
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder isn't just adept at carrying human cargo - it can also swallow a respectable amount of luggage, sporting equipment, and other oversize gear once its second and third rows have been folded out of the picture. The Nissan Pathfinder is capable of transporting 79.8 cubic feet of whatever lifestyle accessories might need to come along for the ride, a figure which is quite competitive with most other mid-size crossovers. A power liftgate is also available with the vehicle in order to make it that much easier to load and unload.
05. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Features A V-6 Engine
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder ditches its V-8 option and low-tech base six-cylinder engine in favor of the brand's popular 3.5-liter V-6. This unit has been tuned to provide 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque in the Nissan Pathfinder, and despite the vehicle's not-insubstantial curb weight it does a solid job of accelerating the crossover around town and on the highway. Even better is the fact that the six-cylinder workhorse imbues the Pathfinder with a healthy amount of towing capacity: when properly equipped the crossover can haul a trailer weighing up to 5,000 lbs, which is slightly above average for its class.
06. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Comes With A CVT
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was designed with the idea that any new crossover replacing the older Pathfinder SUV had to be much more fuel efficient. Working together with its V-6 engine is a continuously-variable automatic transmission, a gearbox that has become Nissan's standard answer to the question of how to squeeze as many miles per gallon as possible out of a given vehicle. The Nissan Pathfinder delivers 20-mpg in stop and go driving and 26-mpg on the highway, which is a distinct improvement over the past edition's best effort (15-mpg city and 22-mpg highway from its base 4.0-liter V-6).
07. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Can Be Had With Four-Wheel Drive
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder isn't going to be crawling rocks or fording streams like the SUV of old, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't possess excellent winter weather traction and the ability to hold on tightly to rain-slicked roads. A four-wheel drive system is optional with the new Nissan Pathfinder, and drivers have the choice between letting the crossover's computer system automatically shuttle torque from one axle to the other depending on wheel spin, or instead manually locking the system into a 50/50 split. Selecting the latter provides the most predictable performance through deep snow or standing water.
08. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Is Available In Four Trim Levels
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder starts out in S trim, which provides buyers with keyless entry, 18-inch wheels, three zones of automatic climate control, a CD changer, and cruise control. The Pathfinder SV steps up to a push button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power adjustments for the driver's seat, a rearview camera, a USB input for the stereo system, and Bluetooth connectivity, while the SL trim introduces heated leather seats front and rear, a power tailgate, parking assistance, a power passenger set up front, and heated mirrors. The top-tier Pathfinder Platinum adds a towing package, a navigation system, a louder stereo system, a DVD player, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 20-inch rims, and a more elaborate parking camera system.
09. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Is A Safe Crossover
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has been engineered to protect its occupants with the latest in safety technologies. Although the Pathfinder doesn't feature many of the active safety systems that have trickled down to the mid-size segment, it does offer a full complement of airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags up front, multi-stage forward airbags, and side curtain airbags that span the entire length of the vehicle's passenger compartment. Electronic stability control, traction control, and electronic brake force distribution (which summons the full fury of the vehicle's braking system at a moment's notice) are also standard with the Pathfinder.
10. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Shares Its Platform With The Infiniti JX
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has a new cousin in the Nissan family - the Infiniti JX crossover. Essentially identical under the skin, the Infiniti JX offers unique styling, access to advanced safety features, and a passenger compartment that some consider to be more upscale than that found in the Pathfinder. From a pricing perspective, however, the Nissan Pathfinder's starting MSRP of $28,650 is more than $10,000 less than that of its Infiniti counterpart, and given the comfortable trappings of the Nissan there's not a huge argument to upgrade to the JX when examining the driving experience, fuel mileage, or interior space of the two vehicles.