2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4
2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4
2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4
2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Tom Sedens

The Pathfinder has never taken the world by storm in terms of its styling. It’s always done its own thing, and had its own design cues, but I’ve always liked it for its simplicity and honesty.

And the all-new styling is much of the same. Although it looks a touch sporty in some pictures and from some angles, it’s very vanilla in real life. I found it to be a nice, unified, smooth look with nary a hint of aggression and very little of its former brawniness.

The design is less rough-and-tough than in the past, and comes across as sleeker, more urban friendly and subjectively, less masculine. It’s a handsome design that will likely turn very few heads but won’t offend anyone either.

The Pathfinder was truck-based for the previous generation, and that’s changed too. Not only does the Pathfinder’s suit no longer come across as rugged on the outside, it’s made those alterations under the cloth too. It’s now a front-wheel-drive, car-based crossover. Though that will be called sacrilege by some purists, that’s actually the vehicle the vast majority of us have needed from day one. Very few of us need the ability to, um, find our own path off the beaten one.

In the engine department, surprise, surprise – the Pathfinder uses a 3.5L V6. It puts out 260 hp at a lofty 6,400 rpm and 240 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. That doesn’t seem like a ton of power to drag around 2,191 kg (4,381 lb).

Nissan uses their CVT here, a fact that is also unsurprising, since we’re seeing it everywhere in their lineup. Paired with a larger, more powerful engine – as it is here – I find the CVT to be less annoying and quite palatable on a day-to-day basis.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.8 L/100 km in the city, and 7.9 L/100 km on the highway. During my week with the Pathfinder, I averaged 13.4 L/100 km – quite acceptable by my standards in this class. This was achieved during a very snowy week, in mostly city driving, an occasional freeway run and with no attempt to drive economically.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x42013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x42013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4
2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4×4. Click image to enlarge

The tank holds 73 L and the Pathfinder swills regular fuel, unlike its Infiniti cousin, the JX35.

The interior is sculpted into something quite boring – frankly, there’s very little styling going on at all. There isn’t a shred of soft-touch plastic on the dash or console. The dash is a vast expanse of hard, black plastic and could host a reality show on hoarding dust, which it collects at an alarming rate. Ergonomically, the layout works pretty well.

The seats, upholstered in nice leather, are power-adjustable and heated and very comfortable. I was surprised to find good bolstering on them too and had plenty of headroom for my 5’10” frame. I actually thought the whole cabin felt spacious.

The heated steering wheel offers controls for the driver information screen, phone and cruise functions. It sits in front of two clear gauges that flank a nice, crisp driver information screen.

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