Nissan has a new 2013 Pathfinder coming to dealer showrooms, starting at $29,998 for a sport-utility vehicle with a V-6 engine and three rows of seats – standard.
The new Pathfinder, which shares its mechanical underpinnings with the Murano SUV, Quest minivan and Infiniti JX SUV, hits showrooms at the end of the month. It will be sold in two- and four-wheel drive versions, with the priciest model coming in at $42,098.
The big news here is that Nissan scrapped the outgoing Pathfinder’s pickup truck frame for a car-like unibody construction that reduces weight, improves handling and helps with fuel economy – a claimed best-in-class at 7.7 litres/100 km is an increase of more than 25 per cent versus the old Pathfinder. Also important to Nissan is what the company is calling the EZ Flex Seating System. This tip-up seat design allows access to the third row without removing an installed child seat.
The only engine here is a 260-horsepower 3.5-litre V-6 engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Ride and handling are managed by a suspension setup with struts up front and a multi-link at the rear. Hydraulic electric power-assisted steering helps save fuel.
Nissan argues that the new Pathfinder is aimed at families who want the versatility of a minivan in an SUV design. So the cabin seats seven, standard. On top of that, the Pathfinder comes with a four-inch display in the centre of the instrument cluster between the tachometer and speedometer to deliver a load of information. Naturally, buyers can load up on extras, such as leather-appointed seating, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, a 13-speaker Bose sound system and more.
Nissan launched the first Pathfinder in 1986. This new one, car-like in ride and handling, is a return to the roots that made that original such a success.