Classifications - SUV
2013 Nissan Pathfinder | First Drive
Posted on March 8, 2013 by Sireesh Reddy
Bye Bye SUV, Hello Crossover
In 1985 Nissan launched the iconic Pathfinder, which as the name suggests was a pure bred offroader. No matter what you throw at it, it could conquer. Not anymore it isn’t. Look at the 4 generations of the Pathfinder and you will notice that Nissan has slowly succumbed to peer pressure and finally given in. Every year a little bit of the Pathfinder’s offroad capability has been shaved off until it has finally lost all of its SUV genes and the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has now become a crossover.
As a result of this massive design change, the Pathfinder is a contender in a completely different (and crowded) segment – crossovers. And with an extremely diverse skillset too. Right, now that we have established the fact that the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is a crossover, lets delve into the dirty details. First, the shape. This was done to improve aerodynamics and Nissan claim to have improved aerodynamics by 13%. Owing to its large size (longer than the outgoing version) you now get more room for the 3 rows of seating. A 3 zone climate control comes as standard. Optionally you get 3 zone entertainment, a Bose 12 speaker system and cooled/heated seats.
The feel and finish of the materials on the inside is typical Nissan. Not something you would fall in love with but you can live with it. Using a small lever, the second row can be moved forward giving easy access to the third row while not folding down the seat entirely. This means a child seat installed in the second row would not have to be removed to access the third row. Why didn’t anyone else think of this earlier? The 360 degree birds eye view camera is optional and makes life easier for those with questionable parking skills.
Gone is the old lesser efficient torquey 4 Litre engine. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is built on the same platform as the Infiniti JX35 and now comes with the VQ35 engine that has been winning Nissan awards for the last 12 years. As if killing the SUV genes wasn’t enough, Nissan have gone and replaced the transmission with a revolting CVT. Of course their excuse for this is better fuel efficiency. The 3.5L V6 engine (also used in the Altima) is good for 260hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. It may not seem like a lot for a 6 cylinder crossover but the CVT that we all hate combined with the potent VQ35 never falls short to deliver. The constantly changing ratios mean the transmission doesn’t need to hunt for the right gear and it instantly picks up on the sweet spot to give maximum power at any speed.
There is a dial through which you can select between 2WD, Auto and 4WD. In 2WD mode, all the power is transferred to the front wheels, even causing some wheel spin at times. In Auto the electronics in the car decides how much power goes to the front and how much goes to the rear although during our time with the car it mostly kept it at the front wheels. 4WD mode locks it into splitting the power equally between the front and the rear wheels. Considering the target segment of this vehicle and the kind of terrain it is likely to travel on, we don’t see why anything else other than Auto would be selected.
Available early this month onwards, the built in Tennessee (USA), Pathfinder is priced at AED 109,000 for the base model(2WD) while the fully loaded model(4WD) costs AED 169,000. It is by no means a special car, neither does it have any breakthrough innovations and although the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has alienated the offroad enthusiast segment altogether, it makes a compelling case for families with more than 2 kids looking to buy a crossover. The easy to use third row, 3 zone entertainment and roomy interior are a no brainer for the soccer mom who couldn’t care less about the CVT. Has Nissan hit the sweet spot in the crossover segment? Only time will tell.Tags: First Drive, Nissan, Nissan Pathfinder