2013 Nissan Pathfinder makes its official debut

Article by Christian A., on August 3, 2012

Watch out Toyota and Honda, there’s a new player in town: ladies and gentlemen, this is the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. Although the first visual impact with the car doesn’t show it, the 2013 Pathfinder actually dropped 500 pounds and as a result it delivers a fuel economy of 20 mpg city/26 highway and 22 combined for the front-wheel-drive model, and 19/25/21 for the all-wheel-drive version.

This means that the new Pathfinder will be with 30 percent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model. Comparing it with the competition, the 2013 Pathfinder promises to make your neighbors jealous, as the FWD Honda Pilot is rated at 18/25/21, the Toyota Highlander at 18/24/20 and the Ford Exporer at 18/25/20.

Still, don’t forget that Toyota and Honda will bring their new versions of Highlander and Pilot next year, but that’s good new as Nissan will have an advantage for 12 months. In terms of design, the 2013 Pathfinder received some radical changes but we all know them because we saw the Pathfinder Concept, right? Other significant changes will be a smaller 3.5-liter V6 engine that will replace the previous model's 4.0 V6 and the introduction to a more fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (explained in the video).

The new Pathfinder will also have a smaller fuel tank, but the good news is that it will deliver an increased driving range.

Nissan Pathfinder boasts a design that expresses modernity while also paying respect to the three previous generations of Nissan Pathfinders. It has a new unibody platform that provided its designers a chance to come up with a more aerodynamic exterior that does not compromise cargo capacity and headroom. In fact, the new Pathfinder features more interior space compared to the earlier model, thanks to its more efficient packaging.

Moreover, the new Pathfinder’s exterior styling moves upscale in terms of appearance. It presents a smart combination of dynamic strength and signature Nissan styling cues. The result is an adventure-ready look with muscular fenders that are wheel-oriented and a stance that’s both strong and stable.

In addition, the vehicle’s upper body boasts an open cabin that has a low beltline as well as thin A-pillars and D-pillars that smoothly flow into the rugged yet durable-looking lower body. Also, the Pathfinder's design incorporates both front and rear spoilers, rear suspension fairings, and rear tire deflectors to help achieve outstanding aerodynamic performance. Other exterior details include large aerodynamic headlights, a wide chrome grille, chrome door handles, large rear combination lights, and recessed front windshield wipers.

The vehicle also has a panoramic dual-panel moonroof with a sliding opening front panel as well as a fixed rear glass panel that extends over the second and third rows. This combines with large windows, creating an open-air interior environment.

Nissan says that the Pathfinder’s new aerodynamic shape when it comes to its styling is one big step in the evolution of sport utility vehicles. It has retained its people and its cargo hauling utility yet has not looked quite so utilitarian. It is only fitting that a vehicle tackling adventures in a new way should also look the part.

Press Release

2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan 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 Nissan 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 Nissan 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 Nissan 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 Nissan 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 Nissan Pathfinder weighs only 4290 pounds.

Nissan teased the new Pathfinder earlier in the year, showing a concept exterior design model in January 2012. Now we get the first official look at the production model, which goes on sale nationwide fall 2012.

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 Nissan Pathfinder a lighter vehicle, the new unibody chassis design increases Nissan 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

Nissan 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 Nissan 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. Nissan 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."


Nissan 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 Nissan 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 260-horsepower 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine matched with a next-generation Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission). It is also the only vehicle in class with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD modes for the available intuitive ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will be offered in 4x4 and 4x2 drive configurations and in four models - S, SV, SL and Platinum.


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.

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