OFF THE BEATEN PATHFINDER
2013 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4X4
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sun, May 19, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Zoran Segina “We didn't know what to expect. We soon found out that the GPS wasn't easy to work with. On the other hand the seats were comfortable; I nearly fell asleep on the first ride. The seats also had front AND REAR seat warmers AND COOLERS. You don't see that very often. One thing Zoran pointed out to me while driving was that the plastic directly behind the steering wheel is cheap, sharp, and easy to cut your hand with. The armrest in the front, that's on the door, is made of actual leather but the ones in the back are that same cheap plastic. My dad enjoyed the head and leg room, considering the fact that he's 6 feet, four inches tall. The trunk is HUGE. I can fit all my big scale RC airplanes. In conclusion, I want one for my 16th birthday.” - Adrien The aforementioned sidebar is by Adrien, my co-reviewer of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. While his style needs some polishing, his observations are crisp, and writing style refreshingly direct. At present, Adrien is legally unable to test drive any of the reviewed vehicles because he is only eleven years old—as you can surmise from the last sentence. On the other hand, he represents the future of the global auto industry, and could provide a valuable insight to our journal. Allow me to provide you the background: We have just arrived to pick up the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder. With me in the chase car are Adrien, his brother Arthur, and their father—the 6-foot, 4-inch dad referenced above. Before we take the vehicle, I take the boys on the tour of the facility. As we walk around, their eyes are getting bigger and bigger. With the paperwork completed we head outside. Before you can say “Nissan,” the boys swarm the Pathfinder. Arthur immediately discovers the button to electrically close the rear gate, which he pushes—repeatedly. Meanwhile, Adrien figures out how to collapse the third row seating for a bigger trunk space. He builds remote-controlled model airplanes—the RC reference. The boys like the entertainment screens built in the front seat headrests. Arthur declares “This car is awesome,” and we take off.
The V6 engine is remarkably responsive, and the Pathfinder not only handles well, but can be driven very fast for a mid-size SUV. The new V-6 engine lost half a liter of capacity, and six horsepower, but the Pathfinder is now quarter of a ton lighter than the 2012 model. When pushed to the limits during cornering there is little roll despite heavy body and relatively tall profile. The twenty-inch wheels and uni-body construction make it for a pleasant ride swallowing all the bumps on the Southern California roads. The Pathfinder handles tight corners with car-like ease. The high seating position, ability to see far ahead, and smooth ride make me drive closer to the cars in front than I should. At 75 mph, I barely have a feeling of movement and actual speed because the Pathfinder handles the road well. All of this makes for easy passage of time in traffic. The leather seats are climate controlled, as Adrien noted, and have electric adjustments in every direction including the lumbar support. Satellite radio program is connected to a multi-speaker BOSE audio system. An indicator screen between the instruments shows average fuel consumption, speed, distance, time on the road, and drive mode (two or four wheel.)The controls for brightness and for the trip reset are cleverly placed on top of the instrument console cover. Should generously designed vents not provide enough fresh air, the crew can slide large sunroof the length of the entire cabin. The center of the dashboard is occupied by a multi-function navigation screen. To the left, a series of buttons controls the traction, steering wheel heating, rear gate lift control (Arthur’s area of expertise), towing mode, and main switch for the 110V outlet. Two additional 12V outlets are located in front of the shifter.
Back seat passengers have plenty of cup holders, their own 110V AC outlet, and volume control. The entertainment comes to airplane-type tilting screens built in the front headrest, and headphones. The third row is somewhat challenging as the legroom for the third row can only be obtained at the expense of the second. The trunk space behind the un-collapsed third row is limited, but does offer additional space under the floorboard for rolling items. The Pathfinder’s undulating beltline is esthetically pleasing. Gone are the sharp corners of the 2012 model. The angular front fascia has a grill in the upper part accented by chromed plastic. The lower part is framed by an opening for added ventilation and two fog lights. The elongated front light assembly houses multiple lights, while generous proportioned taillights wrap around the back pillar onto the rear gate. The roofline is accented with working railings and cross braces. The rounded surfaces make it hard to gauge the vehicle’s dimensions, which make the outside cameras a necessity rather than a luxury. But luxury items they sure are. A rear view camera not only shows the environment behind the driver, and the direction of travel, but can be adjusted to a split screen image with a bird-eye view of the nearby objects as though viewed from a helicopter hovering above. When moving slowly ahead, the forward looking camera will find the path for the Pathfinder. The boys absolutely love it. When speed increases the screen goes dark, otherwise one could envision drivers staring at the screen as opposed to watching the road ahead. Parking is a single movement operation. The tilting side view mirrors are cut in such a way that one can see the curbs and the lower part of the car.
The problem with the GPS (see Adrian’s sidebar) is a result of our inability to reverse the destination. When we attempted to find our way back - the navigation function refused to cooperate. I may be a computer Luddite, but Adrian and Arthur are specialists - after all, it is their world. Also, pouring two gallons of fuel in an almost empty tank confused the electronic gauge which no longer indicated the remaining miles. While the windshield offers very good visibility, the section above the rear view mirror should be shaded to offer protection from the low sun. The overall workmanship is good, but there are hidden surprises. The steering wheel spoke has sharp edges right under driver’s fingers. The center console is not padded so the driver’s knee resting against it gets sore after a longer trip. The large dead pedal feels squishy. The upper panels on the front doors are padded, but the ones in the rear are covered in hard plastic. If this was a deliberate design feature—to make the rear area tougher for kids and cargo—its objective is defeated by fully padded lower panels. Distracted by my AA energetic review team (they can go on for hours!), I accidentally left the moon roof opened for a day because there was no warning sound or light. The memory buttons for front row seats refused to yield their secrets. And, on a forty-five grand Pathfinder I would expect telescopic lifters for the engine hood. Sightseeing did not allow us to test the off-road capabilities of the Pathfinder. Switching to all wheel drive is as simple as rotating the knob behind the floor shifter. Not finding wild paths we resorted to climbing over the curbs in the parking garage—which is quite fun. The Pathfinder has been described as a family hauler that looks like an SUV. The 2013 model is not affected by the aggressive price cutting announced by Nissan’s management in late April, in the hope of capturing ten percent of the U.S. auto market. In this insanely competitive segment, only time will tell whether the $45,000 (Editor’s note: the starting price of a Pathfinder is just above $28,000) remains an attractive price point for the Pathfinder. At least we know of one committed customer five years hence.
For more information about Nissan products, go to www.nissanusa.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4x4 Type: Four-door sport utility vehicle Price: $28,650 (base) $44,395 (Platinum 4X4 model, as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway Engine: 3.5-liter V6 engine, with 24 valve variable timing with double overhead camshaft
Horsepower: 260hp @6400 rpm Torque: 240lb-ft @ 4400 rpm Transmission: Continuously variable automatic transmission with intuitive 4 wheel drive mode and selectable 4x4, 2 wheel drive, and 4 wheel drive lock mode. Steering: Engine-speed-sensitive electronic steering, vehicle dynamic control Suspension Front: Independent strut, stabilizer bar Rear: Independent multi-link, stabilizer bar Brakes Front: Vented discs with ABS anti-lock, and power assist Rear: Vented discs with ABS anti-lock Wheels and tires: 20-inch alloys with 235/55 R 20 all-season tires with tire pressure monitoring Dimensions Length: 197.2 inches Width: 77.2 inches Height: 69.6 inches Curb weight: 4,330 pounds Performance: 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds