Nissan has fully revealed the final production version of its all-new 2013 Pathfinder SUV, following the presentation of the Pathfinder Concept at the Detroit motor show in January and a first batch of teaser images earlier this week.
Continuing the back-and-forth between unibody constructions and truck-based frames, as the first generation of the Pathfinder (1985-1995) utilized a ladder-type frame while the second generation (1996-2004) a unibody platform and the third iteration (2005-2012) a truck frame, the new model returns to a passenger car-like unibody structure.
The Japanese carmaker says it made the shift again as truck-based SUV sales have declined steadily over the years with consumers preferring more fuel efficient and refined crossovers.
“It’s no secret that the industry has shifted as gas prices have increased,” says Al Castignetti, general manager of Nissan North America.
“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,” he adds.
The new platform, which is shared with the Infiniti JX crossover, helps shed 500 pounds (227 kg) of mass compared to the outgoing model, with the FWD model tipping the scales at 4,149 pounds (1,882 kg) and 4WD version at 4,290 pounds (1,946 kg).
Nissan states that the new Pathfinder offers a standard towing capacity of 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg).
As we anticipated, the 2013 model uses the same 3.5-liter V6 engine found in the new Infiniti JX, matched to a next-generation Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). In this application, the V6 produces 260-horsepower.
The Pathfinder is offered in FWD and 4WD configurations, with the latter featuring ALL-MODE 4×4-i system with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD modes.
Thanks to the lighter platform and the new powertrain, the 2013 Pathfinder’s fuel economy has improved more than 30 percent over that of the 2012 model with the FWD version returning an EPA-estimated 20mpg city, 26mpg highway and 22mpg combined, and the 4WD model, 19mpg city, 25mpg highway and 21mpg combined.
Nissan claims that the new model features a more upscale exterior and interior – though for some reason, the Japanese company skimped on the pictures of the dashboard that we don’t get to see as a whole [Update: we found a third video that gives us a better look at the interior].
Inside, it’s worth mentioning that the 2013 Pathfinder has room for seven passengers in three rows of seats equipped with the so-called “EZ Flex Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE”, which the company says is an industry first 2nd row tip-up seat for use with a child safety seat.
Among other amenities offered on the new Pathfinder are the leather appointed seats, 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, Dual-Zone Climate Control, RearView Monitor, remote engine start and tri-zone entertainment system.
The 2013 Pathfinder will go on sale in the States this fall with pricing to be released closer to launch.