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Evolution in driving: Nissan off to fresh start with SUV that’s big on comfort and style


The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder showcases what is nothing less than Pathfinder re-imagined — a next-generation SUV with an unparalleled balance of capability, premium comfort and advanced, user-friendly technology. You’re sure to appreciate its aerodynamic appearance.

The Nissan Pathfinder has gone through a dramatic transformation for 2013.

Looks get more aerodynamic

One of the biggest changes is the switch from body-on-frame to a unibody construction. This reduced the overall weight, which makes a big difference on fuel economy. The shape and design characteristics of this truck have also changed, with much smoother lines and a more aerodynamic body. Remember the first Pathfinder, introduced in 1986 to capture some of the Toyota 4Runner buyers? It looked promising but never completely took off, partly, I think, because its focus was more on the off-road when it should have been more on-road with the ability to travel off-road. This new version has done this, taking design queue and comfort from the Nissan Rogue and creating a larger crossover that can transport seven people.

Trendy features in the cab

My tester for the week was the Platinum and it came fully equipped. Leather seats with the driver getting 8-way power adjustability, and 4-way power for the front passenger. In the back is an EZ flex seating system with a second row 60/40 split fold-flat bench seat and a third row 50/50 split fold flat reclining bench seat. The leather wrapped steering wheel is heated and is a nice feature. The wood tone trim is abundant but not overdone, giving the cabin a rich feel. Other Platinum features include a Bose audio system with 13 speakers, AM/FM/CD, SiriusXM, auxiliary audio input jack, USB connection, streaming audio via Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and speed sensitive volume control.

Safety always comes first

Nissan’s advanced airbag system includes dual-stage front airbags, driver- and front-passenger-seat mounted side impact and roof-mounted curtain side impact airbags with rollover sensor. Traction control (TSC) and vehicle dynamic control (VDC) are standard on all models.

Advanced power is there

The engine is an advanced 3.5-litre DOHC V6 that puts out 260 horsepower. The transmission is Xtronic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The All-mode 4x4 I-system allows select ability between 2WD, Auto or 4WD lock. An independent front strut and multi-link rear gives the vehicle a comfortable ride.

Roadworthy and comfortable

This vehicle does remind me of the Nissan Rogue. It is larger but feels quite similar and that’s a good thing. I think Nissan is heading in the right direction with this vehicle. If studies show limited use off-road, which they do, then why spend money making this an off-road vehicle? Instead, have the capabilities to drive down a gravel road or up to the ski hill but concentrate on making the vehicle as comfortable and fuel efficient as you can.

And the verdict is in ...

I think Nissan thought outside the box on this one and was not afraid to start fresh and create something new.

Number crunching

Pump frequency: 10.8/7.9 L/100 km (city/highway) as tested

Warranty support:

Basic coverage: 3 year/ 60,000 kms

Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 kms

Corrosion surface: 3 years/ 60,000 kms

Sticker price:

S 2WD $29,998

S 4WD $31,998

SV 4WD $35,248

SL 2WD $35,698

SL 4WD $37,698

Platinum 4WD $42,098

Price as tested: $47,053



Read more: Breaking trails in new Pathfinder
 
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