2013 Nissan Pathfinder First Drive and Review

by under News on 01 Nov 2013 12:19:31 AM01 Nov 2013

With the launch of the all-new Nissan Pathfinder, the executives in Japan might be declaring, 'The Pathfinder is dead, long live the Pathfinder!' The all-new USA built Nissan Pathfinder sees the Pathfinder transition from a serious off-roader to a more family friendly SUV. Whilst the previous model was exclusively powered by diesel engines the all-new Pathfinder will be exclusively powered by petrol.


Gone is the body-on-frame design, its been replaced with a monocoque design. Old Pathfinder buyers will be disappointed with the change, however this change will help the new Nissan Pathfinder appeal to a larger audience.

Nissan Pathfinder Overview

The all-new Nissan Pathfinder is available in three trim levels ST, ST-L and Ti with all variants available in 2x4 or 4x4.  At launch the Pathfinder will be exclusively offered with the excellent VQ35 V6 petrol engine, by mid 2014 we will see the arrival of a 2.5 litre supercharged hybrid.


Standard across the range is reverse camera, Bluetooth, cruise control, Tri-Zone climate control, keyless entry (with memory on Ti grade), roof rails, and privacy glass in the second row, third row and rear.
Local Nissan Pathfinder pricing and range are:
Model *4X2 Price *4X4 Price
ST $39,990 $44,290
ST-L $50,290 $54,290
Ti $60,790 $64,890
 * MRRP prices quoted are not drive away

Nissan Pathfinder Engine

The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine produces 190kW and 325Nm, this is matched with the Generation X-TRONIC Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Fuel consumption for the 4x2 models is 9.9 litres per 100kms with C02 emissions of 233g/km.  The 4x4 version is only slightly thirstier at 10.2 litres per 100kms with C02 emissions of 240g/km.  All models come with a 73-litre fuel tank.


Instead of a diesel power plant  Nissan are pinning their hopes on a hybrid.  The supercharged 172kW 2.5 litre four cylinder engine is partnered with a 15Kw electric motor and lithium-ion battery to produce 187kW/329Nm, Nissan Australia expect the hybrid to arrive mid 2014.

Nissan Pathfinder Interior

Far from being rugged the interior in the new Pathfinder is a pleasant place to be. ST models are fitted with cloth seats and trim inserts, while ST-L gains leather heated seats and the Ti also leather seats plus heated and cooled front seats.  


A colour 7" display is standard on ST and ST-L, the 6-speaker sound system comes fitted with a 2gb hard-drive, CD/DVD player, AM/FM radio, USB/iPod connectivity and RAC inputs.  The Ti models adds an 8" LCD display fitted with Sat-Nav, a larger 9GB hard drive and 13 speaker BOSE sound system, as well as a Tri-Zone entertainment pack.  The Bose sound system pack is available as an option on the ST-L model.
Entry and exit to the third row seat is a breeze thanks to the EZ Flex seating system, it allows the second row seats to tilt and slide forward creating a large entry/exit space.  Once the ISOFIX child seat system in approved next year in Australia, large families will be able to access the third row without removing the baby seat.
Luggage capacity is a usable 453-litres with the third row seats in place, this increases to 1,353 litres with them folded and a massive 2,259 litres with both second and third row seats folded. 

Nissan Pathfinder Exterior & Styling

Designed and built in the USA the new modern styling of the Pathfinder will appeal to a broader car buying audience, with its modern, curvy, stylish and aerodynamic appearance.


With its softer styling there still no hiding that the overall length is 5008mm, 1960mm wide and 1960mm in height, it weighs in around 2-tonne give or take 80 kilos for model variances.
Upfront halogen headlights flank the almost official Nissan family chrome grille; ST-L and Ti models also have integrated fog lights.
Colour coded wing mirrors, privacy glass for 2nd and 3rd seats and chrome roof rails complete the side profile.


The Nissan Pathfinder sits on 18" alloy wheels as standard for both ST and ST-L 4x4 and 4x2 models, the Ti models get 20" alloys.

Nissan Pathfinder On the Road

Carshowroom.com.au had the opportunity to sample  all three trim levels in a variety of driving conditions.  The drive route around Canberra had us sample, dirt roads, highway, city and country roads, the longer we spent behind the wheel, the more the Pathfinder grew on us.  If you are take a Pathfinder for a test drive, make sure you drive it for more than 15-minutes!


Expecting very little from the CVT, we were pleasantly surprised on how well it worked with the 3.5 litre V6 engine, rarely did we find the CVT searching for the right ratios.
The lack of road noise was also a pleasant surprise, for such a large car wind and tyre noise is extremely low.
Like any car of this size when it's pushed hard into corners it will struggle with under steer and body roll, but it isn't ever worrying.
Ride comfort could just be best in class and it deals with secondary roads with out any problems.

Nissan Pathfinder Challenges

Not sure why a foot operated handbrake exists in this day and age, surely it time for an electric version.  When spending $40,000 on a SUV we also think Sat-Nav should be standard across the range.
It will be interesting to see if the hybrid engine will be a suitable replacement for no diesel engine.

Nissan Pathfinder Competition 

The Nissan Pathfinder is aimed directly at its Japanese and Korean rivals.  With all petrol line-up buyers should also test driver Mazda CX-9 ($44,525 to $63,828) and Toyota Kluger ($40,490 to $65,490).


If you are after a diesel engine then that opens you up to Jeep Grand Cherokee ($45,000 to $76,000), Kia Sorrento (3$7,490 to $50,390), Hyundai Santa Fe ($36,990 to $49,990), Holden Captiva 7 ($32,490 to $43,490), and Ford Territory ($39,990 to $62,740) are all excellent options.

Nissan Pathfinder Verdict

Moving away the serious off roader is a sensible move for Nissan.  With every one of Nissan's rivals offering a large urban SUV the old Pathfinder just didn't cut the mustard.


With a simple model line-up, softer styling and spacious interior the seven seater Nissan Pathfinder is perfect car for families looking for a large SUV.

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