Long-Term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder - front three-quarter view

When we say that our long-term 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has been busy, we mean it. Want proof? In the past month, the big, brown Nissan was only idle enough for us to take it in for its 11,500-mile routine service and to shoot a couple of new photos of the long-termer in Detroit.

Most recently, the Pathfinder spent a few weeks in the hands of AOL Autos' executive editor Sharon Carty, who used the three-row CUV to haul her entire family from Detroit to New Jersey and back... twice. That's a pretty serious amount of miles, but it gave Sharon a really solid look into how the vehicle holds up for the needs of a family with kids of different ages.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - rear seat video screens2013 Nissan Pathfinder - second row seats folded forward

For starters, when you're transporting three kids on a long journey, the dual rear-seat entertainment system is a nice thing to have. But it isn't without fault, as Sharon describes.

The screens are mounted into the back of the front seats, which quickly posed a problem.

"The screens are mounted into the back of the front seats, which quickly posed a problem: The third row passenger couldn't see the screen. My 13-year-old daughter removed the headrests from the second row of seats, and that made the situation better. But not perfect. Instead of hearing peaceful bliss while they watched the movie, I heard a lot of, 'James! Move your head!' Or 'James! I can't see!'"

That gripe aside, the interior of the Pathfinder continues to be a point of praise, for not only its functionality for hauling large loads of people, but for the fact that it's generally very comfortable. After seven months and 12,000 miles of hard use, the cabin is holding up well, with no signs of wear or discoloration to the beige leather, aside from a couple of small stains in the rear of the cabin (darn Carty kids!).

2013 Nissan Pathfinder - Dashboard
2013 Nissan Pathfinder - navigation screen2013 Nissan Pathfinder - engine bay

For road trips like the one Sharon encountered, two other talking points came up: fuel economy and ease of use for the onboard navigation system. On the miles per gallon front, "fuel economy ranged from 19.2 mpg to 23.5 mpg," Sharon notes. That's about right, considering the car is rated at 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway and these jaunts to Jersey and back did involve a full vehicle and some city driving and stop-and-go traffic on the highway. The navigation, though, seemed to be a particular point of issue.

The GPS is way off in its time estimations for long trips.

"The GPS is way off in its time estimations for long trips. It predicted it would take us 12 hours to get to NJ – a trip which in 10 years of living in the Midwest has never taken us more than 10 hours, even with stops with the kids. It also directed us through surface streets in the Bronx while heading to the zoo, even though the zoo is right off the highway."

We'll be sure to watch for more navigation errors as the Pathfinder continues on in our hands. And since we have a couple more big trips planned for the summer months, we'll be keeping a close eye on fuel economy, as well. Stay tuned.