All-new 2013 Pathfinder provides unique safety and utility features all the while selling really really well. [fflash=right]http://www.youtube.com/v/IFDI7AFV2uY?version=3[/fflash]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Dec. 3, 2012 2013 Nissan Pathfinder - $28,270 to start and a 20/26/22 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating in FWD format and 25/27/26 mpgUS city/highway/combined in 2014 Hybrid form. Nissan’s Pathfinder was first introduced in 1986 as a family adventure vehicle with each successive Pathfinder design remaining true to that original premise. Interesting enough, the original was a body on frame, gen 2 was a uni-body, gen 3 went back to body on frame and the latest all-new 2013 current gen 4 is back as a uni-body. Today’s 2013 is more adventure-ready than ever with the highest standard tow rating of 5,000 pounds and largest passenger volume at an eye opening 157.8 cu. ft. in its class! All the while offering a 30 percent increase in fuel economy over last year’s model mainly through the addition of Nissan’s Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with the lowest ratio providing excellent acceleration and tow capability and the tallest ratio for a quiet and lazy low RPM highway cruise. The adventure only gets better... 2013 Nissan Pathfinder (2014 Hybrid) Pricing, Options and Specifications The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is available in four trims, the S, SV, SL and Platinum. It is also available as a Hybrid which is scheduled to arrive later this summer. Complete specifications, pricing, standard, and optional equipment for the 2013 Pathfinder (2014 Pathfinder Hybrid) can be found within the Pricing, Options and Specifications Specifications page. The all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder offers a long list of both best-in-class and unique-to-class specifications and features spelled out above plus the following: Best-in-class front headroom and front legroom Class-exclusive 3rd row seat recline Class-exclusive Around View Monitor giving you a birds eye view of not just behind but all around! Class-exclusive Easy Fill Tire Alert System Its real claim to fame however is the EZ Flex Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE, an industry first 2nd row tip-up seat which allows easy 3rd row access with a child safety seat still installed. Drivetrain All 2013 Pathfinders arrive with a 260 HP 3.5L DOHC V6 mated to the Xtronic CVT that 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. 260 HP to move up to 5,000 pounds is not all that surprising but to tow a 4,000 pound Airstream with the 3.5L mated to the wheels through a steel belt. The CVT action proved just as smooth with a load as it does when moving an empty SUV. Ride and Handling Up front resides an independent strut front and independent multi-link rear end. It now uses the fuel saving hydraulic electric power-assisted steering standard. Also standard are 18 in. alloys with 20 in. alloys offered with the Platinum trim. Steering was a bit vague and the suspension allowed more body roll than we are used to from smaller sedans and hatches. The pathfinder does however provide a very soft and compliant ride making a family adventure a family outing with transportation not given a second thought. Exterior Design The 2013 Pathfinder is more aerodynamic while adding to interior comfort and cargo capacity. A broad bold face and stance… Up front, deeply sculpted feature lines flow as an extension of the profiles character line inward down the hood towards a thick chrome bezel surrounding the large mesh like “power strut” grille. A chrome trim piece resides below the lower intake while large wraparound headlight lenses and available round foglights make up the face. From the profile, a steeply rakes windshield provides a hint of clean and modern aero. The hoods shut lines roll back over the bulging front fender flairs and into a slight character line that continues over the rear fender flair disappearing into the D-pillar. A thin chrome surround wraps the entire day light while chrome door handles and optional lower sill trim provide an upscale appearance. To the rear, an upper fairing molded into the rear hatch and upper D-pillar makes its presence known. Unfortunately that same rear molded piece cuts into the sightline from the driver’s perspective. An available Dual Panoramic Moonroof, with sliding opening front panel and fixed rear glass panel which extends over the 2nd and 3rd rows, combines with the large windows to create an open, airy interior environment. Interior [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/2013_Nissan_Pathfinder_2nd_row_manual_slide_-_recline_-_fold_flat.jpg[/fimg]One of the Pathfinders most endearing attribute, the 2nd row EZ Flex Seating System with manual slide, recline and fold flat capability. The new Pathfinder is a 3-row/7-passenger SUV that has some unique features making up its DNA. It is not just that it includes soft touch plastics up front, an attractive upper dark and lower light dual color scheme, beautiful wood grain inlays into the center console and door panels on upper trims, includes a comfortable large diameter leather wrapped wheel with a nicely padded arm rest and center console or even the available 7 in or 8 in high resolution display. Many similar sized SUVs supply that today. It is the seating versatility and advanced external camera display that makes the new Pathfinder something to behold. The Pathfinder’s versatility is revealed in the design of the 2nd and 3rd rows with exceptional 3rd row access. Nissan calls it their EZ Flex Seating System with 5.5 inches of 2nd row seat travel for ease of entry and exit to the 3rd row. The 60/40-split 2nd row features LATCH AND GLIDE technology that allows forward movement and access to the 3rd row even with a child safety seat remaining securely in place (on the passenger curb side). See the introduction video for more on this class exclusive feature. Even the 50/50 split-folding third row is unique as it can be reclined. Both the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat for maximum cargo capacity with additional under floor storage in the rear cargo area. What I thought was the most unique innovation was Nissan’s class-exclusive Around View Monitor. With a camera up front, under both side view mirrors and in the back, the display shows a virtual 360-degree image of the area around the vehicle. It provides a bird’s eye view like none you have ever seen before and is absolutely fascinating to see in action. Other available features include leather-appointed seating, heated and cooled front seats, heated 2nd row seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Nissan Intelligent Key with Push Button Start, multiple user memory settings and an advanced Bose Audio System with 13 speakers. In retrospect, the output was clean up to at least ½ volume. Extremely large cargo area. Infotainment The pathfinder is available with Nissan’s Navigation System with NavTraffic real-time traffic and NavWeather weather information (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Zagat Survey restaurant guide, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth and RearView Monitor. The screen was high color and resolution and was easy to see even in direct sunlight. A Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, power rear liftgate, iPod integration and tri-zone entertainment system with 2nd row head restraint-mounted DVD display screens are also. The Pathfinder is available with the Easy Fill Tire Alert we highlighted in the 2013 Nissan Sentra First drive. Safety On the passive front, a high strength steel safety cage, front, side and side curtains extending to all three rows is of course standard. E active front, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Brake Override. Hill Start Assist (HAS) is standard across all models but the AWD variants with the “All-Mode 4x4-I” system allowing 2WD/AUTO/4WD Lock modes with the turn of a knob, there is no on/off-road hill descent control. This unfortunate exclusion is possibly the only misstep when driving the big SUV down steep off-road paths or trails. Fuel Economy When towing the 4,000 pound Airstream, the Pathfinder offered up 17 mpg. When driving the big SUV along the pacific Coast, with just two journalists onboard, it easily offered 31.x mpg. First Drive Conclusions While we do not normally recommend an SUV for a daily driver as its per person fuel economy with a single occupant onboard is nowhere near sustainable along with normally vague handling, the all-new 2013 Pathfinder provides a glimpse into the future of advanced transmissions and safety technology. The “Around View Monitor” and CVT are what make this SUV better than its rivals and for those that need a 7-passenger vehicle, I can only think of the upcoming Ford Transit Wagon with the 1.6L EcoBoost and it has nothing on the power and feature packed capability of the Pathfinder. 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Preview Addendum The 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid still provides the same utility, passenger and cargo volume, and seating for seven as the conventionally powered 2013 Pathfinder while providing its future owner an 18% increase in combined fuel economy with a minimal 1,500 pound reduction (3,500 lbs from 5,000 lbs) in towing capacity. The Hybrid version replaces the conventional 3.5L V6 with a new supercharged 2.5L gasoline engine mated to a smallish 15 kW electric motor paired with a compact Li-ion battery. The system is rated at 250 net horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque – versus the 3.5L V6's 260 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque and should provide very similar straight line performance characteristics. The hybrid system uses a Nissan coined term called “Intelligent Dual Clutch” System (one motor / two clutch parallel system) that manages power from the electric motor and gasoline engine. Positioned between the engine and the Xtronic CVT, the motor also functions as a generator, providing regenerative braking power from the CVT to recharge the battery during braking or deceleration. One clutch is installed between the gasoline engine and the electric motor, the other within the CVT. Visually the Pathfinder Hybrid is marked by efficient LED taillights and Nissan PUREDRIVE Hybrid badges. In addition, special hybrid information screens are added to the instrument panel's Advanced Drive-Assist Display. Given the increase from 22 mpgUS for the 3.5L equipped Pathfinder to 26 mpgUS combined rating of the Hybrid, an owner driving 15,000 miles/year and paying $3.899 per gallon would save $409/year or $34/month. Not sure it is worth it but I know I can work a hybrid system. The 3.5L is somewhat limited as my first drive results showed. The 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid provides less consumption with no compromise of interior volume or performance.