2013 Nissan Pathfinder: From Tough Guy to Family Guy

It's what's inside that matters, right? In the case of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder, definitely. But the outside is just as much a part of the transformation of this once-rugged SUV.

For 2013, Nissan's three-row SUV was completely redesigned, shedding its blocky, stocky look and trucklike body-on-frame architecture for the curves and unibody platform of the crossover class. The fourth-generation Pathfinder also gains a warm, inviting interior full of family-friendly features, a stark comparison to its old utilitarian self.

Why the transformation? It's what the people wanted, according to Tom Smith, Nissan's director of truck marketing. To Smith, the previous Pathfinder was "the Last of the Mohicans," he said. As body-on-frame SUVs became dinosaurs and crossovers rolled in to take their place, the Pathfinder became outdated.

Sales have been on a steady decline, too. The last-generation model peaked at a high of 70,000 units a year, but just 25,935 were sold in 2011.

With the new Pathfinder, Nissan hopes to attract what Smith calls "savvy, cool parents." Translation: busy, active families — the market every crossover aims to conquer. How will the Pathfinder set itself apart? A cabin loaded with creature comforts is sure to appeal, along with the Pathfinder's shifted focus from utility to comfort.

For 2013, the Pathfinder can be packed with interior goodies like a dual panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats, the Around View Monitor camera system, the Easy-Fill tire alert system and a dual-screen 7-inch DVD entertainment system.

Nissan also says there's more room for passengers. The 2013 Pathfinder offers 8 more cubic feet of people space. Like the Infiniti JX's flexible seating system, the Pathfinder's second row slides 5.5 inches to ease third-row access, and the seat also lifts and slides in one maneuver so that a forward-facing child-safety seat can remain installed in the second row. We tested this system in the JX and came away impressed.

But what about the truck's previous audience, the off-road enthusiasts? Even though the Pathfinder lost its V-8 for 2013 — a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 replaces it — Smith says the redesigned vehicle delivers the capabilities of an SUV in a more modern-looking package. The 2013 version still has a competitive towing rating of 5,000 pounds (down from 6,000 pounds) and a robust four-wheel-drive system, and both should appeal to the Pathfinder's previous audience, Smith said. The goal, he said, was to "keep one foot in the SUV camp."

The 2013 Pathfinder goes on sale this fall starting at $28,270 excluding destination charges, which haven't been released at this time. That would make the Pathfinder one of the lowest starting prices in the competitive class, which includes the Honda Pilot, Chevy Traverse and Ford Explorer.

Research the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Unveils a Leaner, More Efficient Pathfinder
Infiniti JX's Smart Second Row Means No More Squeeze Play


Allistar Evans

Although i dislike the fact that this is the new wave of crossovers, do not forget that this is simply a replacement rather than its successor. Outdated or not the older generation was vastly superior with its body on frame rather than unibody.


I agree! I have a 2004 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum and I'm very disappointed with this. I thought this would be the generation the Pathfinder would get de-uglified. It just got worse and now it's bigger. This isn't a Pathfinder!


Now that is is a crossover, owners should probably not find any paths that aren't paved. So, maybe Nissan should rename it the "notoffthebeaten Pathfinder," Or "pleasemakesurethepathissmooth finder."

Atlanta Pavement

How about this: We call it the Minivan Sidewalk finder? Youch! Can the automakers please just make something nice and simple? Perhaps a car that is no frills with or without A/C and vinyl seats, vinyl carpet, power steering and brakes..Oh wait...that's the Jeep Wrangler..

Tyrone Biggums

I'm really loving this new Pathfinder. It's near the top of our list when we have a baby.

I love all the advanced featuers it has- 13 speaker Bose, remote start, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear sets, etc.

My only complain is why didn't they include xenon headlights as an option?? The Murano offers them.

John Taylor

This looks like its based on the same body as the Infiniti JX35. So, I assume the Pathfinder will be to the JX35 as the Armada is to the QX56 (same vehicle, different technologies).

That being said, I have test driven the JX35 a few times and LOVE this vehicle. It has some wonderful technology (automatic braking, blind side warning to name a couple), has plenty of pep and is very comfortable for my family of five. It's very smooth riding and the price is not too bad.

If the PathFinder comes close to the feel we got in the JX35, then we will DEFINITELY be considering this vehicle for our next purchase.


Until i see it in person, i will remain on the fence. The outgoing model became so bulky, it had already lost the base of offroad fans who like the style and ruggedness from the mid-90's.
Happy to see the tow rating at 5000#, and gains in mileage, but most Pathfinder-lovers wont be buying for the third row. Does Nissan still make the quest for families? The xterra for off-roaders?
Maybe "Nismo" can create a masculine version.


This thing lost its man card.. looks like any other cheap Korean family car. Can't wait to see what happens to the Xterra .


This was long overdue in order for Nissan to remain competitive. If they want to maintain an off-road capable niche vehicle, they have the Xterra. Despite slick marketing by many automakers including Jeep, a very small percentage of people take their vehicles "off-road".

It looks much better with the refreshed styling and still has 4wd, a 5k tow rating and is much more comfortable looking.

Nice job Nissan.

dirty Joe

How many freaking crossovers does Nissan need?

Rogue, Murano, Juke?

Now the Pathfinder is going the way of the crossover?

Completely unnecessary!

Ole Dirty Bastard

The Pathfinder is supposed to find paths, not allow soccer moms to cart their spoiled kids to no-score soccer games and ballerina practice.

This outright sucks!


Is it just me or does this look like it's competing with the Subaru Outback?


This 2013 Pathfinder is such a disapointment, it looks just like a Toyota Highlander...another boring looking crossover.

Sheila Garza

I can't wait to have it!!! Definitely our next purchase.

Loyal Nissan Customer

This is the Nissan model that I've been waiting to upgrade my 1995 Nissan Quest for. The Murano was too small for me, but this new Parhfinder is just the perfect size.

Volume Van

1 more SUV (Truck Chassis) is gone and 1 more CUV (Unibody) has come. CUVs have nearly 24% market share in overall Light duty vehicles.


How long should I have to wait for this. did they give any date? i know that they said this fall. but when??????


I have had 3 nissans ... Rogue, 2 Muranos and test drove the new pathfinder. My thought was... hmmmm.. it looks so bulky! Well.... looks can be deceiving! The drive was wonderful and luxurious! I am in the process of deciding if I am going to replace my Murano for the Pathfinder! It has so much to offer and rides beautifully.


Have always loved the look of pathfinders, until the 2013 model. Reminds me of a minivan now. No longer a fan.


Overall we are pleased with the purchase. Traded a nice Honda van because we needed 4WD. Got the Platinum Premium but surprised that we do not have Xenon lights, blind side alert, and front sensors. We do like the heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel and dual sunroof.


Do not buy this car until the next version comes out. I have SERIOUS BUYERS REMORSE over this car which, in the first 4 months of owning it, has had the transmission replaced, a recall on the ALB and MANY trips to the dealership. It is a complete lemon and Nissan corporate won't do anything about it. I spoke to an insanely rude woman named Danielle x457284 who was all sweet and nice at the beginning but turned into a wench after I filed several complaints. They will not honor the lemon law despite the fact that our car, which we bought brand new with 7 miles on it, was in the shop 8 times and took months to repair. BUYER BEWARE, this car is an absolute failure.

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