|2013 Pathfinder. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan’s new 2013 Pathfinder SUV—the 4th generation of the vehicle introduced more than 25 years ago—utilizes a new drivetrain featuring a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine mated to a next-generation Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to help provide up to a 30% increase in combined city/highway fuel economy over the previous V6-equipped model while maintaining comparable power.
Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg highway / 20 mpg city and 22 mpg combined for the 2WD model (9.0, 11.8 and 10.7 l/100 km, respectively) and 25 mpg highway / 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined for the 4WD model (9.4, 12.4 and 11.2 l/100 km). By comparison, the 2WD MY 2012 Pathfinder, equipped with a 6-cylinder, 4.0L engine was EPA-rated at 22 mpg highway / 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined.
The new engine and CVT combination maintains nearly the same horsepower as the previous generation’s larger displacement 4.0-liter V6— 260 hp (191 kW) versus the previous 266 hp (196 kw)— and delivers responsive acceleration in a variety of conditions.
The CVT holds the engine at the ideal rpm for the conditions at hand, offering responsive power for passing or towing when needed and quiet efficient running at cruising speeds or around town. With standard 5,000-pound towing capacity, the new Pathfinder retains its ability to tow boats, jet skis, trailers and a variety of other recreational gear.
|The outgoing 2012 Pathfinder. Click to enlarge.|
The new generation unibody Pathfinder weighs as much as 500 pounds (227 kg) less than the previous body-on-frame design. This helps contribute to the enhanced fuel economy performance, as does the use of front and rear spoilers, rear tire deflectors and rear suspension fairings to help achieve one of the best aerodynamic performances in the segment. The 2013 Pathfinder’s 0.34 coefficient of drag is a 13% improvement over that of the outgoing model.
Along with reduced weight, Pathfinder’s new unibody platform provided the designers an opportunity to create the more aerodynamic exterior without compromising headroom or cargo capacity.
The new Pathfinder is a 3-row/7-passenger SUV. Use of the unibody platform provides numerous benefits, including a flat floor for enhanced interior packaging flexibility and more space. Overall interior roominess has been increased by 8.4 ft3 (238 liters) versus the 2012 Pathfinder design.
Pathfinder is the only vehicle in class with selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes for its available ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. The system lets the driver choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when the confidence of full-time 4WD is desired. In addition, standard Hill Start Assist helps add control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models).
In September, Pathfinder SUV sales in the US rose 38.7% over a year ago to 3,205 units, contributing to an overall rise in truck sales for the month of 3.3%. For the first three quarters of the 2012 calendar year, Pathfinder sales are up 24.7% to 23,542 units.