• Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Chris Paukert / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Chris Paukert / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Chris Paukert / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Chris Paukert / AOL
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Chris Paukert / AOL

Vital Stats

3.5L V6
260 HP / 240 LB-FT
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,471 LBS
79.8 CU-FT (max)
19 City / 25 HWY
This ain't your daddy's Pathfinder. And that's exactly why we're welcoming one into the Autoblog long-term garage.

With the launch of the all-new 2013 Pathfinder, Nissan has ditched the trucky, body-on-frame architecture of the previous model for something substantially more refined and efficient, yet the automaker says this is still a capable machine. It's a move Nissan has used before (the second-generation Pathfinder, sold from 1996 to 2004, used unibody construction), but because of just how darn popular three-row crossovers are these days, the timing sure seems right for Nissan to, well, find a new path again.

Think about it: Ford made this exact move with the Explorer when its all-new model was introduced for 2011, and that vehicle has been a huge success for the Blue Oval, dominating the segment in terms of volume. Nissan is hoping to capture that same sort of magic – and make up a good deal of market share in the process – with this more-soft-road-than-off-road Pathfinder.

Does it work? Our brief stint behind the wheel of a 2013 model out in California gave us high hopes. But to really see if the three-row crossover-minded formula works behind that Pathfinder badge, we're embarking on a year-long test with the Smyrna, Tennessee-built Platinum 4x4 seen here.

Our fully loaded 2013 Pathfinder costs a cool $44,670.

It's only been a couple of weeks since this Mocha Stone Pathfinder landed in our hands and a few of us can't quite decide how we feel about its looks as a whole. The natural comparisons are to more rugged vehicles like the Explorer, but we've also been lining up the Pathfinder against its luxed-out sibling, the Infiniti QX60 JX35 and street-minded players like the refreshed Lambda crossovers from General Motors (read: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia) and Dodge Durango. For the most part, we find the Nissan to be handsome, and friends and family who have seen the ute since its arrival have given its unadorned and clean design plenty of praise. We'll see how our feelings mature as the months go on.

We chose to spend our year with a fully loaded Platinum 4x4 model, which rides on 20-inch alloy wheels and comes equipped with a big ol' smattering of standard technology and comfort amenities. In fact, the only options found on our long-term model are the carpeted floor mats ($200), roof rail cross bars ($300), illuminated kick plates ($275), and the Platinum Premium Package ($2,300) that includes a tri-zone entertainment system and panoramic moonroof. All in, that brings our fully loaded 2013 Pathfinder to a cool $44,670, including $825 for destination.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder
2013 Nissan Pathfinder2013 Nissan Pathfinder2013 Nissan Pathfinder

In addition to those optional goodies, Platinum models come with fancy-shmancy things like a full navigation/infotainment setup, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, Nissan's nifty AroundView Monitor, brilliant Easy Fill tire pressure alert system, premium audio, Bluetooth, more safety features than you can shake a stick at and... well, check out the Monroney if you want to read the full list.

We've grown quite fond of the interior right off the bat.

It's a comfy thing, this Pathfinder, and we've grown quite fond of the interior right off the bat. Most of us prefer the darker leather upholstery also available on Platinum models, but the almond color scheme of our test car will not only be better to photograph, it'll more easily show wear, for better or worse (just ask our dearly departed long-term Hyundai Equus).

When it came to powertrain choices, we weren't given one. Nissan only employs its 3.5-liter V6 and Continuously Variable Transmission here in the Pathfinder, and while our distaste for CVTs is indeed well-known, we'll once again say that of all the companies currently using the rubber-band transmission tech, Nissan is doing it the best. Pathfinders are available with either front- or all-wheel drive, and because our Mocha Stone brute will spend a lot of its time in cold climates with inclement weather, we opted for AWD without a second thought.

Our first exposure to the 2013 Pathfinder took us down some particularly scenic stretches of the California coast, and while this isn't exactly your run-of-the-mill CUV-driving territory, we found the Nissan to be perfectly enjoyable out West. You'll have to stay tuned for updates about how the Pathfinder's dynamics are faring here in the crummy-weathered Midwest – we'll have our first update coming your way in about one month's time.

So here she is, folks – our brand spankin' new Pathfinder, ready for a year of work. Keep your eyes peeled to our long-term garage page to see all of the updates, and click on over to our Facebook and Twitter accounts to see our on-the-fly musings, as well.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thought the price was a little high, but compared to the JX, this is a pretty good alternative. Just insane thinking how high prices have become in the last few years.
      • 2 Years Ago
      FWD architecture and a CVT? This is not a Pathfinder...its a Murano XL Pfffft. Thanks Nissan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seen some on the road recently; they look flimsy which I'm sure they're not, but their styling is weak. The tailights are far too small for such a big round butt. I just don't get what Nissan thinks American customers think is attractive. 10 years ago the styling of this would have been spot on, but presently, it just reminds me of styling from 10 years ago. It's ironic, because 20 years ago, Nissan had some of the best looking cars on the road that still look current today.
      BMW ROCKS!
      • 2 Years Ago
      wow i love the new minivan from nissan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BMW ROCKS!
        You haven't seen the eyesore they have right now? 4 foot tall slabs of flat steel for doors and 12" tires? Oh it's worth a look. You'll dig your eyes out of the sockets once you do. It's kind of like a trainwreck. You just have to look.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Apparently, by 2013, all the paths have been found. Where ever you need to go, FWD will get you there.
        Charles Chen
        • 2 Years Ago
        Pathfinder is a misnomer -- they should really name it Nissan MallFinder
      • 2 Years Ago
      What happen to SUV's this exterior design is horrible and van-like.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Murano XL
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's pretty much inarguable that nissan is targeting women and non-auto enthusiasts with this minivan/subaru type design. just look at how small the wheels appear compared to the rounded/bulging body and low hood.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Haha...there were some funny comments to my post. No, this vehicle will not appeal to everyone, and I'm certainly NOT a Nissan salesman. Just giving my personal perspective other than looks...yes, it could be called a Mallfinder, but at least I'll be able to spot mine easier in a crowded parking lot since not many people will own one :-)
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nissan always looses me when it comes to their interiors.
        • 2 Years Ago
        what...what vehicle in it class has a nicer interior? the Chevy Traverese? Explorer, with not buttons and a fuzzy to work touch everything? or the steering - best looking than even luxury end vehicles.... materials are fine too, just go sit in one. Personally i think they have hit bullseye, especially considering this is the lightest vehicle in it's class by allot thing is i like rwd sedans so likely will not be my car...and my wife also doesn't want anything bigger than a murano or edge
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is stupid why by this when yiu could have baught a Surburbin. at least that would havr had real off roading ability and its a Chevy. Nissans cant pull a tree stump while carrying 7.
        • 2 Years Ago
        If you need to tow, get a Suburban. If you're part of the vast majority of SUV/CUV buyers who don't tow or go off-road, vehicles like the Pathfinder are more than adequate.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Because they don't want to have to feed a Suburban?
        • 2 Years Ago
        typing in the dark again?
        • 2 Years Ago
        Suburbans are extinct
        • 2 Years Ago
        How often does one pull a tree stump while carrying 7? For that matter, how often does one pull a tree stump?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Initiate whining about SUVs, CVTs, Nissan, Tire pressure alert thigie, exterior design in 3, 2, 1...
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