First Look: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

News I By Brandon Turkus I August 09, 2012
After a preview at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, Nissan has taken the wraps off of the production version of its all-new Pathfinder.
A huge focus for this new Pathfinder was fuel economy. As such, it’s cut over 500 pounds off of the 2012 Pathfinder, with base front-wheel-drive models tipping the scales at 4149 pounds, while the four-wheel-drive Pathfinder is a mere 4290 pounds. The resulting boost to fuel economy is impressive, with 20 miles per gallon in the city, and 26 mpg on the highway.
This improved fuel economy isn’t just a matter of weight savings, though. Power comes from a 3.5-liter V-6 with 260 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. A fuel-sipping continuously variable transmission distributes power to the appropriate wheels.
The new interior looks decidedly more Infiniti than Nissan, with attractive wood trim on the center stack. There’s room for seven, a segment first, according to Nissan, in this segment. Like the Infiniti JX we tested a few months back, the Pathfinder features a four-inch display mounted in between the tachometer and speedometer. Called the Advanced Drive-Assist Display, it delivers customized information pertaining to fuel economy, navigation, and other essentials.
We won’t say much about the exterior, as it’s a largely subjective exercise. We think it’s one of the more attractive, if forgettable, designs to come out of Nissan. A bit more panache in the styling would likely help the Pathfinder out in a fickle marketplace.
The 2013 Pathfinder goes on sale in the fall, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Nissan.
Nissan Launches Reinvented 2013 Pathfinder – More Style, Comfort, Room, Innovation and Best-in-Class Fuel Economy
500-pound weight reduction from 2012 Pathfinder, aerodynamic design, new powertrain delivers 30 percent fuel economy improvement over last generation
Best-in-class city, highway and combined fuel economy of 20/26//22 MPG*
Most interior passenger volume, front headroom and legroom in class**
Highest standard towing capacity in class**
On sale at Nissan dealers nationwide this fall
NEW YORK/DETROIT – Nissan today unleashed the all-new 2013 Pathfinder SUV, a complete makeover featuring a sleek, aerodynamically styled exterior, a premium interior, class-exclusive user-friendly technology and a new unibody platform and advanced drivetrain that helps it achieve best-in-class fuel economy while maintaining class-lead towing and off-pavement capabilities.
The all-new vehicle design sheds 500 pounds of mass compared to the outgoing model yet maintains the Pathfinder’s SUV-ruggedness while delivering up to 26 miles per gallon on the highway.  With its blend of capability, including class-leading standard towing capacity of 5000 pounds, and modern amenities, such as a class-exclusive Around View™ Monitor, the 2013 Pathfinder is the next-generation SUV.
"Unveiling our next-generation Pathfinder is a major follow-up to the introduction of the all-new Altima sedan," said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.  "With its bold new design, best-in-class fuel economy and family adventure capabilities, our dealers can’t wait to share this new model with customers in their showrooms."
The 2013 Pathfinder’s fuel economy has improved more than 30 percent over that of the 2012 Pathfinder.  Both the FWD and 4WD 2013 Pathfinder models lead their segments in fuel economy across the board.
City, highway and combined average fuel economy numbers are 20 (City), 26 (Highway) and 22 (Combined) mpg for the FWD version and 19 (City), 25 (Highway) and 21 (Combined) mpg for the 4WD version.  This significant increase over both the outgoing model’s fuel economy as well as that of the competition was achieved primarily through a new, aerodynamic vehicle design, 500 pounds of weight reduction, reduced engine friction and the application of a class-exclusive, next generation Xtronic CVT®.
Also playing a significant role in the Pathfinder’s excellent fuel economy is the fact that it is now one of the lightest vehicles in its segment, with the FWD model tipping the scales at a mere 4149 pounds.  Even the 4WD Pathfinder weighs only 4290 pounds.
Nissan teased the new Pathfinder earlier this year, showing a concept exterior design model in January.  Today marks the first official look at the production model, which goes on sale nationwide this fall.
Getting into the second and third row has never been easier. This short video shows Pathfinder’s EZ Flex Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE technology in action. This innovative system lets you tilt and slide the 2nd-row seat even with a child seat still installed. (But not with the child in it, of course.) The second row slides over five inches, which means you can also create more leg room where you need it.
New Chassis Meets Consumer Shift
Truck-based SUV sales peaked in the mid-2000s and have declined steadily as consumer demands shifted to more refined, fuel efficient crossover SUVs.  The 2013 Pathfinder is built with unibody construction, vastly reducing its weight by eliminating the fuel-penalizing mass of a traditional SUV’s truck-based frame.  In addition to making the Pathfinder a lighter vehicle, the new unibody chassis design increases Pathfinder’s structural rigidity over the previous model.  This improves ride and handling, while reducing overall noise, vibration and harshness, delivering an outstanding mix of responsiveness, refinement and ride comfort.  The Pathfinder’s rigid platform is also key to maintaining the trailer-towing capability expected from an SUV – the vehicle has a standard towing capacity of 5000 pounds, which is the best standard towing capacity in the segment.**
 "It’s no secret that the industry has shifted as gas prices have increased," says Al Castignetti.  "But while traditional SUV customers are looking for improved fuel economy, they still demand a vehicle that can do all the things they need, like carrying seven people, towing, and providing the surefootedness in all conditions of a four-wheel drive."
Weight reduction is one of the key components in Nissan’s drive to improving vehicle performance across the board.  The just-introduced all-new Nissan Altima also is the lightest vehicle in its class.
Bold Design
Pathfinder’s design conveys modernity while paying homage to the three generations of Pathfinders before it.  The new unibody platform provided the designers an opportunity to create a more aerodynamic exterior without compromising headroom or cargo capacity.  In fact, the new Pathfinder has more interior space than the previous model thanks to more efficient packaging.
Moving upscale in appearance, the new exterior styling presents a smart fusion of signature Nissan styling cues and dynamic strength.  The look is adventure-ready with wheel-oriented muscular fenders and a strong, stable stance.
The upper body features an open cabin with a low beltline and thin A- and D-pillars, which flow smoothly into the rugged, durable-looking lower body.  Pathfinder’s design incorporates front and rear spoilers, rear tire deflectors and rear suspension fairings to help achieve what is expected to be among the best aerodynamic performances in the segment.  Other exterior details include a wide chrome grille and large aerodynamic headlights, recessed front windshield wipers, chrome door handles and large rear combination lights.
A panoramic dual-panel moonroof, with sliding opening front panel and fixed rear glass panel which extends over the 2nd and 3rd rows, combines with the large windows to create an open, airy interior environment.
"With its new aerodynamic shape, the styling is a major step forward in the evolution of the SUV – retaining its people and cargo hauling utility without looking quite so utilitarian," said Castignetti.  "It’s fitting that a vehicle that tackles adventures in a whole new way also now looks the part."
Pathfinder’s all-new interior design features versatile and comfortable seating as well as premium materials and advanced technology.  The vehicle seats seven passengers comfortably, and is best-in-class in terms of front headroom, front leg room and overall passenger volume.  Additionally, Pathfinder is now the only vehicle in the segment with a 3rd row seat recline. 
The new Advanced Drive-Assist™ Display, located in the center of the instrument display between the tachometer and speedometer, features a 4-inch color display that is customizable, easy-to-use and integrates key information right in front of the driver.  A separate touch-screen monitor, mounted in the middle of the instrument panel, provides intuitive interaction and control of the available navigation system and other vehicle systems and settings.
Technology and Innovation
The all-new Pathfinder also features EZ Flex Seating System™ with LATCH AND GLIDE™.  LATCH AND GLIDE™ is an industry first 2nd row tip-up seat for use with a child safety seat, which also provides easy access to the 3rd row while keeping the child seat securely fastened.  The 2nd row also features a 60/40 split-fold seating with a segment best 5.5 inches of seat travel.  Class-exclusive features include Easy Fill Tire Alert and the segment-first availability of an Around View™ Monitor.
Other available amenities include 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.
New Powertrain
All 2013 Pathfinders come equipped with an advanced 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine matched with a next-generation Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission). The engine is rated at 260-horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 240 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. It is also the only vehicle in class with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD modes for the available intuitive ALL-MODE 4×4-i system. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will be offered in 4×4 and 4×2 drive configurations and in four models – S, SV, SL and Platinum.
Pricing and Additional Details
Pricing on all models will be announced closer to the fall on-sale date.  Additional information is available at and
Pathfinder is assembled at Nissan’s Smyrna assembly plant in Smyrna, Tennessee.  The 3.5-liter V-6 engine is assembled at the company’s Decherd, Tennessee powertrain plant.
About Nissan North America
In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing.
Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year in 2010, 2011, and 2012 by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at and
About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Operating with more than 248,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4.6 million vehicles in 2011.  With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands.  A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.
For more information on our products, services and commitment to Sustainable Mobility, visit our website at

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