The Nissan Pathfinder has done what was needed to take advantage of a sales trends: it started life as body-on-frame, then switched to unibody, then back to body-on-frame. Today, it shares the ladder platform with the Nissan Titan pickup and Armada SUV.

Speculation, however, is that the next generation Pathfinder could go back to unibody construction. Nissan isn't yet saying what it will do, but with the need to raise mileage -- as well as comfort -- a new Pathfinder CUV could be a win for everyone. And, as seen with the repackaging of the Ford Explorer America concept, a unibody build would give Nissan designers a lot more leeway to create something new and fresh.

The biggest issue appears to be what to do about the Pathfinder's different buyers in other countries. In America, the Pathfinder could probably sacrifice some off-road prowess and towing capacity and not suffer too much if at all. In Africa, every bit of the Pathfinder's off-road ability gets used, and customers there wouldn't accept the compromises of a softer CUV. It wouldn't be unheard of to keep building the Pathfinder on a ladder frame for other markets while creating a new one for America. The next generation is still a couple of years away, but Nissan will announce its decision later this year.

[Source: Car and Driver]

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