Despite the snow-capped photos you see here, our long-term Pathfinder has been the subject of some proper pre-summer lovin' here in metro Detroit (we're working on a new gallery). Now that the warm weather has hit Michigan, many of our staffers have eagerly grabbed the keys to our big, brown Nissan for road trips all over the place. And the Pathfinder has indeed proven itself to be quite the worthy long-distance hauler, as editors John Neff and Seyth Miersma have already experienced.

This time around, a couple of our colleagues from AOL Autos put hundreds of miles on our trusty Nissan. And while everyone agrees that the Pathfinder is a solid vehicle for the task of road tripping, there are a couple of specific pros and cons that have been mentioned on several occasions.
Long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
Long-term 2013 Nissan PathfinderLong-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

The Pathfinder's interior continues to garner lots of praise – it's quiet, comfortable and generally well-liked by everyone who's driven it thus far. The light-colored leather and door/dash panels give the cabin a very open, airy feeling, and after almost 9,000 miles of rigorous use, the materials look and feel just as good as they did when the Nissan first arrived in the long-term garage last December.

"Making a call requires you to push the talk button several times as you navigate through the various menu options."

There are, however, some drawbacks. AOL Autos consumer editor Michael Zak spent a week with the Pathfinder traveling to northern Michigan and came back with the message, "So. Many. Buttons." He continued, "Looking at the center console and steering wheel for the first time is overwhelming and trying to find the correct button for climate control or the navigation menu while you're driving is downright distracting if you haven't taken the time to familiarize yourself with the layout."

Translogic editor Adam Morath had some other complaints regarding the interior, but this time, the car's infotainment interface came into play, specifically the hands-free voice functions. "Each function requires that the steering-mounted voice-command button be pushed multiple times, with the occasional use of the back or cancel button for mistakes. For instance, making a call requires you to push the talk button several times as you navigate through the various menu options. First, the voice-command button is pushed to initiate the system, then to override instructions and say 'phone,' then to interrupt the system from reading off a list of options and say 'handset phonebook' (not the most intuitive command for those of us who refer to our device as a cellphone, not a handset). Finally, you say who you'd like to call (counterintuitively read last name, first name for most of my iPhone contacts), then pick the name from a list, and say 'dial' – as if you might get that far and decide the effort wasn't worth it."

Long-term 2013 Nissan PathfinderLong-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
Long-term 2013 Nissan PathfinderLong-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

That said, there are plenty of other aspects of the interior that our staff continues to love. Morath again: "The most standout feature is the Around View Monitor," something other writers have praised before. "The only downside to AVM is the temptation to look solely at the screen, rather than also relying on mirrors and an over-the-shoulder check. Piloting the Pathfinder using the system is a bit like playing a video game, which feels innovative, if a bit disconnected from reality."

"The car will fight like hell if you try to close the hatch manually."

We've commented on the ease of use for the sliding second row seats before, and there wasn't a single gripe to be had during the month of May regarding this functionality, either. However, the hands-free liftgate has given us pause a couple of times. Morath explains, "While the key fob remote and automatic liftgate buttons were convenient, the car will fight like hell if you try to close the hatch manually. I'm sure it's something an owner would get used to, but my passengers had to be reminded again and again to push the button rather than try to slam the liftgate by hand."

Of course, the other big factor in road trip prowess is the Nissan's road manners, and the Pathfinder continues to be viewed as a solid cruiser, if a bit uninspired (like everything else in the segment, really). Most of us just simply rate the overall dynamics as "okay," nothing more.

Long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder
Long-term 2013 Nissan PathfinderLong-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

But on several occasions now, long-distance highway cruising has seen its share of troubles with our staff. "It didn't seem to take much of a breeze to knock the Pathfinder off its line," Zak writes, "causing a pretty regular need to readjust within the lane, which, on a four-hour road trip, became exhausting." Morath adds some more insight to this, saying, "I found that keeping the Pathfinder in a straight line required constant subtle steering adjustments. It's something that might go unnoticed at first, but once it was pointed out, I felt like we were bobbing from side to side for miles at a time."

We haven't seen any real increase in our fuel economy numbers.

With all this highway cruising, we haven't seen any real increase in our fuel economy numbers, either. A few of us have been able to hit digits close to the 25 miles per gallon highway EPA number, but we're still finding our average to be closer to the 19 mpg city rating. We'll do some more math later in the summer after a few more trips to see if this changes.

On the maintenance front, we've enjoyed yet another worry-free month of motoring in our Nissan, the crossover only requiring scheduled appointments – nothing out of the ordinary. June will see the Pathfinder make a few more treks, with trips to the west side of Michigan and the nation's east coast planned. Remember, you can always check the Autoblog Facebook and Twitter accounts for on-the-go impressions as we pack on the miles.


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  • 42 Comments
      Master Austin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I still say Fords Sync system has been the easiest to use for voice command, CUE systems is close behind. The navigating thru menu options remind me of a friends BMW, when I saw it required some joystick thingy, and looking at the screen, and pushing things left and right, makes me wonder when the germans will overhaul their systems. U should be able to LOOK at a screen, and press it. Not be tweaking joysticks, dials, and levels and buttons 2 feet away from the screen to make something happen.
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      "the car will fight like hell if you try to close the hatch manually" Argh! That would drive me nuts! I realize that the large majority of Americans would prefer to move their appendages and body as little as possible, but for those few of us who are still willing to (dare I day prefer to?)move an arm or leg once in a while, there should be the option to shut the gate manually.
        Dacelbot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Plus, if the automatic system brakes manual as a backup would be nice.
        leo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        get the one with the manual lift-gate than...
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      I guess going to unibody has not affected sales at all.
        Cruising
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        Why should it? Most consumers don't really care about the technicalities of a car if it hauls the family and groceries fine.
      nlt624@aol.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...if you haven't taken the time to familiarize yourself with the layout." I rent 5-6 cars per month. It takes me about 10 minutes to familiarize myself with the layout of the buttons and their functions BEFORE I put the car into gear and drive. Who's in that big of a rush that they can't take the time to do this???
        peter1dav
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nlt624@aol.com
        I hope he had time to obtain a license prior to driving
      SethG
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM, Toyota, Honda and Mazda dealers are stuck selling pretty outdated vehicles in this segment. Each of their 3-row CUVs is pretty much the same thing they were offering 6 or 7 years ago. But here's the thing. Each of them is still pretty competitive. Given how the age of most of the cars in the 3-row CUV segment I have been waiting for something to come out that will outshine the others. First was the Durango which kind of distinguishes itself by not being FWD based and a little more truck-like but it hasn't taken off with consumers. Then there was the Explorer that sells well but really isn't any better than its aging competitors. Then came the Santa Fe and Hyundai's recent record of rapid improvement. But that car isn't a standout either. With the success of the JX, I expected this Pathfinder to be the car that dominates the segment. But this isn't the case. It's a solid competitor but where's the innovation? It had the opportunity to outclass the rest by being much more efficient, better looking or a better driver. Something that would make it head and shoulders above the rest. But it doesn't really have that. It's a good car. But you could certainly see a buyer choosing a CX-9 or Pilot or Lambda or Highlander over it. And those cars are essentially unchanged since 2006-2007. Seems like a missed opportunity for Nissan.
        foxtrot685
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SethG
        The Pathfinder has the efficiency lead over its competitors, just compare fuel economy to all of them. Outside of that, thats really all the buyers in this segment care about. Space, fuel economy, comfort and price. Technology is somewhere on that list but depending who you ask, its either higher or lower on it. The thing is, especially in this segment, the more outlandish product you offer the narrower your market appeal gets. To offer something that appeals to a very wide demographic of buyers theres only so much you can do to stand out. Start to get too artsy with the design, now you rob interior space. Try to make a hot rod crossover, now you potentially rob the vehicle of one of its key selling points, comfort. Load it up with tech and features, value per dollar nosedives. Take for example the Durango. Considering its competition, its pretty out there with its available V8 engine and RWD configuration and its handling dynamics. The market hasn't really responded to it because having the muscle car of crossovers and the ability to do a burnout isn't as important to them as comfort and fuel economy.
          foxtrot685
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          UMM, its no surprise that people pick this over the Quest... thats why this segment thrives. Many people who buy them do not like minivans, from any manufacturer. This is the alternative to the minivan... DUH! Who told me what? Be more specific? Thanks... Sir, this isnt 1999, 2000. The market has changed since Nissan made the switch from unibody to ladder frame almost a decade ago. The mass market is not demanding ladder framed based tough and tumble off roaders any more in this segment. And the reason why Nissan made the switch to ladder frame with the 2005-2012 Pathfinder wasn't because the generation before it wasn't capable or too car like. It was because Nissan saw fit to spread the cost of the then-new F-Alpha platform over 6 models, the Titan, Armada, Infiniti QX56, the XTerra, the Frontier, and the Pathfinder.
          Henry
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          "The Pathfinder has the efficiency lead over its competitors, just compare fuel economy to all of them. Outside of that, thats really all the buyers in this segment care about. " And who told you that? A few of our family friends that have been to trade theirs in are now having second thoughts having seen it in real life. If this is a Murano, yes but not Pathfinder. Remember what happened when they went unibody before? They had to go back. And here we are again. Have you noticed that a lot of new people who are interested in this new Pathfinder are the ones that can't stand the new Quest? We have met a lot of them and the sales people commented on that a lot as if to say it's really a good thing. I don't think so. They missed an opportunity for something great and that's very disappointing.
          Herman Exum
          • 1 Year Ago
          @foxtrot685
          "And the reason why Nissan made the switch to ladder frame with the 2005-2012 Pathfinder wasn't because the generation before it wasn't capable or too car like. It was because Nissan saw fit to spread the cost of the then-new F-Alpha platform over 6 models, the Titan, Armada, Infiniti QX56, the XTerra, the Frontier, and the Pathfinder." Spot on pretty much. The Nissan Pathfinder is the only SUV on the market (to the best of my knowledge) that has switched constantly between ladder-frame (1985-1995), unibody (1996-2004), back to a ladder-frame (2005-2012), and again to a unibody (now crossover) frame. I understand Nissan's reason for making the current Pathfinder the way it is (to spread the cost of the Infiniti JX and maximize sales), but they should've kept some of the styling cues of the previous generations. Without the signature C-pillar door handles and angular details it's just way too bulbous and plain to really stand out.
      Mr Sled
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just had one for a trip from Indy to Chicago and back. Was really surprised at how quick it was in passing. It really has an issue with staying on-path, however. I liked it.
      TooManyCars
      • 1 Year Ago
      So this Pathfinder that Autoblog has is what, the 6th one Nissan sold?
        carboy55
        • 1 Year Ago
        @TooManyCars
        Last month they sold the most Pathfinders in the history of the nameplate. Read much?
      collabplan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow...I remember in the 90s I thought the Pathfinder was rough and tumble cool. Now is is a watered down quasi-minivan. So disappointing.
        Jesus!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @collabplan
        Well since the Quest isn't selling....actually come to think of it I cannot remember the last time I saw one. Do they still make it?
        leo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @collabplan
        get the exterra... the updated one will be much nicer on the inside they could not have both on the same floor considering one one wants them anymore since no one really takes them off-road or uses them as they are meant
      Tiger_Pork
      • 1 Year Ago
      any guy looking to buy this suv....you got issues man.
      Andrew
      • 1 Year Ago
      Y this crap an dnot a Chevy surburbin?
        foxtrot685
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew
        Whats a "dved?" :P
        vripper
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew
        First of all Andrew, how old are you? Second, you're not even comparing similar vehicles. This is more in line with a Traverse and Acadia, which are pretty much the same vehicles.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew
        Because people don't want "crap" like Suburbans anymore. Actually, Suburbans are just too big for most people, and their interiors really are crap.
        Andrew
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Andrew
        TOOL they have awesome interors they have woodon the dash and doors and dveds in the back
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Andrew
          The "wood" is plastic and looks like it was designed by 12-year-olds and assembled by monkeys. Any MPV on the market (and a lot of 3-row SUVs) offers rear seat entertainment. But since you can't tell, you can keep dreaming about Suburbans and someday have your 6 empty passenger seats, on a ladder-frame SUV that you'll never take off road.
      Wally SirFatty
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a turd... That's not a Pathfinder, they should change the name.
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