For 2013 the completely redesigned Nissan Pathfinder goes from a body-on-frame chassis to a unibody platform. The fourth-generation Pathfinder has lost up to 500 pounds and will be powered by a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That will improve fuel economy to EPA estimates of 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 combined, which makes it one of the most fuel-efficient models in its class. Front-wheel drive now is standard, but an available all-wheel-drive system can be chosen. It will direct torque as needed to the front and rear axles, or the driver can select a 50/50 ratio. When you are in the intuitive Auto Mode, the system senses slippery roads, rough terrain, or anything else you come across, and automatically adjusts power to each wheel to meet the situation. When things smooth out, it switches back to 2WD. You won’t even notice it happening.
The new Pathfinder offers three-row, seven-passenger seating and an optional sliding second-row seat that can tilt and fold forward for loading. Fill it up with seven passengers, and the Pathfinder still has room for up to 16 cubic feet of cargo. Drop the third row and you’ve got more than 47 cubic feet, or drop both the 2nd- and 3rd- rows and you’ve got a virtually flat space with 79.8 cubic feet of cargo. Although the Pathfinder’s towing capacity has been reduced, all 2013 models are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder will be available in September, base price is $28,270.