has just taken the wraps off of its handsome new 2013 Pathfinder, touting 30-percent better gas mileage, svelter unibody construction and room for seven people.

Built on the same platform as the Infiniti JX luxury utility that's already on sale, the Pathfinder hopes to make a serious comeback as it drops its body-on-frame packaging for a unibody. It may lose some of its ruggedness, but that's okay by Nissan, as they say it's not what its buyers really wanted.

"The majority of our customers just don't go off road," says Tom Smith, director of SUV marketing at Nissan. "They're concerned with gas mileage, all-weather capabilities and having enough space for their families."

Indeed, most carmakers are turning their once top-selling sport utilities into unibody people haulers – witness the Ford Explorer. Others, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Honda Pilot have always maintained unibody roots. In the case of a vehicle like the Pathfinder, the switch should result in improved ride, packaging and weight at the expense of towing capacity and off-road capability.

Changing the Pathfinder's architecture allowed Nissan to shed 500 pounds and achieve 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway in the front-wheel drive model, which weighs in at 4,149 pounds. The all-wheel drive model (which adds 100 pounds) will get 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Powered by Nissan's 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter DOHC V6, the Pathfinder still has enough muscle to tow 5,000 pounds (last year's V8 model could tug up to 7,000). It will use Nissan's next-generation CVT as well, which improves gas mileage through increased ratio spread and lowered internal friction. Available amenities will include heated and cooled seats, Around-View Monitor and Easy-Fill Tire Alert.

Nissan hasn't announced pricing, but says that a base model should start around $28,000 when it arrives later this year.

Scroll down to read the full press release and check out some video footage of Nissan's new family bruiser.

Show full PR text
  • 500-pound weight reduction from 2012 Pathfinder, aerodynamic design, new powertrain delivers 30 percent fuel economy improvement over last generation
  • Best-in-class city, highway and combined fuel economy of 20/26//22 MPG*
  • Most interior passenger volume, front headroom and legroom in class**
  • Highest standard towing capacity in class**
  • On sale at Nissan dealers nationwide this fall
NEW YORK/DETROIT (Aug. 3, 2012) – Nissan today 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 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 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 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 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 Pathfinder weighs only 4290 pounds.

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

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 Pathfinder a lighter vehicle, the new unibody chassis design increases 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
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 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. 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."

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 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.

Pricing and Additional Details
Pricing on all models will be announced closer to the fall on-sale date. Additional information is available at and

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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    • 1 Second Ago
      Maor Roffe
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is not a Pathfinder, its a crossover like a bigger, fatter, Murano. The Pathfinder was always a truck, with semi-offroadability and squared off SUV/truck-like proportions. They should just call this vehicle something else.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maor Roffe
        I agree, keeping a name that refers to a body-on-frame, more utility oriented SUV doesn't make sence, even with the explorer. These names give them off-roadish qualities. They should name this the RoadFinder.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maor Roffe
        Why? "Pathfinder" is a recognized name. Vehicles change, and whatever "truck" attributes the Pathfinder once had, it was always a boring family SUV. Nothing is changing, except it's getting better adapted to how people actually use it.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maor Roffe
        You would fail Brand Marketing 101.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I cant say I'm surprised by Nissan's decision to soften the Pathfinder (as Ford did the Explorer). The views of typical AutoBloggers don't actually reflect the people who purchase these vehicles, sadly. For the average automotive consumer, they'll see a vehicle that looks [relatively] like an SUV and has the footprint of one, and not be phased by what changes lie beneath the skin. What amuses me most is Nissan's choice locations for the Pathfinder's photo shoot... Even a Nissan Leaf could venture where the Pathfinder is depicted without incident.
      R S
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cut of the front 5% off and I swear its a Toyota Highlander!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yucky, another effeminate SUV - where are the body on frame, aggressive look, ground clearance, off road capability that suppose to emanate masculinity in a SUV?
        Head Hunter
        • 2 Years Ago
        Have you ever heard of its luxury sister, the Infiniti FX35 / FX50?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Off-road capable or not, it looks like the designers swung toooo far in the minivan direction!
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      BOF's are going the way of dinosaurs.
      • 2 Years Ago
      but that interior is somthing serious
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sorry Nissan but this is no Pathfinder. No rugged styling, no pillar mounted door handles (sacrilege) and no real 4x4 capability. I think you could have done better...and unibody construction is no excuse, Jeep's Grand Cherokee and Ford's Explorer look great. The problem here is that this redesign looks is dated, even when compared to a 2008 Mazda CX-9 and a a Toyota Highlander, two of your new main targets. You better start to work on it's mid cycle refresh ASAP, hehehe...
      • 2 Years Ago
      For those concerned with the off road ability and rugged body on frame, there is still the Xterra. The Xterra is the more capable off roader of the two. Old and new Pathfinders were relatively soft anyways.
        • 2 Years Ago
        "Old and new Pathfinders were relatively soft anyways." guess you're unfamiliar with the gen 1 pathfinders
          • 2 Years Ago
          Irrelevant. How many drivable 1987s do you see for sale these days?
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carboy55: quite a few. Especially in southern states where rust isnt as common as in the snowy states. My 92 WD21 pathfinder is still extremely reliable, and a great off roader. My 95 hardbody, which is on virtually the same platform as the WD21 pathys, is my daily driver and runs great on and off the road. First Gen. pathfinders were made up till 95, and they were far from "soft" as A.Hirigoyen mentioned.
        • 2 Years Ago
        But the Xterra is a cheap, plasticy gutless mess that handles like absolute garbage on normal roads.
          • 2 Years Ago
          So? What's the problem with that? They now have the Pathfinder for folks like you that care about how a 5-door people hauler drives, and they retain the Xterra for people who want an actual, capable truck and the compromises that entails. The Xterra is meant to be an inexpensive offroader, and a capable offroader is usually crap on-road.
      Kuro Houou
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not a fan of that huge chrome looking front end at all. It looks like a Mazda CX-7 now too. I thought the pathfinder was supposed to be more rugged looking and SUV'ish. Not Minivan'ish. Oh well the dumbing down of Nissan continues.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Really like this car, and it will be at the top of our list after we have a baby (will also check out the Toyota Highlander). It appears to be priced aggressively also. I was looking at the Infiniti JX but don't care to spend that much. The one disappointing thing is that Xenon headlights are not an option on any trim. It's surprising since the Murano offers Xenons.
      • 2 Years Ago
      SUVs have officially come full circle and are now minivans.
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