When the Nissan Pathfinder was originally introduced more than a quarter century ago, it became known as the perfect family adventure vehicle. With each successive generation, Pathfinder has remained true to that original premise, while evolving to meet the changing needs of its owners. Now, Pathfinder adds an unprecedented level of premium style, comfort and thoughtful technology – including a dramatic new aerodynamic exterior design and innovative, flexible interior – as it gets ready to debut this fall in an all-new 4th generation Pathfinder design. A special preview of the new 2013 model, the Pathfinder Concept, showcases what is nothing less than Pathfinder re-imagined.
“As Nissan has expanded its range of adventure-ready SUVs to include Armada, Xterra, Murano, Rogue and JUKE, Pathfinder maintains its very important position in the heart of the lineup and the market – as a right-size, 3-row/7-passenger SUV with the seating and cargo capacity that growing families need,” said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “As families spend more time in their SUVs everyday as well as on weekends, the next-gen Pathfinder is stepping up with enhanced comfort, innovative technology, increased fuel efficiency, and most importantly, more flexibility for the family.”
A Mid-Size SUV with Full-Size Comfort
As previewed in the Pathfinder Concept, one of the biggest changes to the upcoming Pathfinder design is the return to a unibody platform (also utilized on the second generation Pathfinder), which offers numerous benefits including a flat floor for enhanced interior packaging flexibility.
“The Pathfinder Concept demonstrates that when it comes to modern interior design, you can have it all – premium features, versatility and user-friendly technology,” said Castignetti. “By giving equal priority to both the driver and each and every passenger – including those in the 3rd row – we’ve created a premium driving experience and environment for all.”
Starting with a look at its premium features, the Pathfinder Concept’s quiet, comfortable interior includes rich leather-appointed seating surfaces, 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 and multiple user memory settings, and an advanced Bose® Audio System with 13 speakers.
The Pathfinder Concept’s unique versatility comes to life in the design of the 2nd and 3rd rows. In addition to what is expected to be among the roomiest 2nd rows in its class, it also features exceptional 3rd row access – thanks to large rear door openings, 5.5 inches of 2nd row seat travel, and forward folding seat design for ease of entry and exit to the 3rd row. The 60/40-split 2nd row features an innovative “child seat mode” allowing forward movement and access to the 3rdrow with a child safety seat remaining securely in place (on the 40 percent split-fold side).
“One of the dilemmas facing families with both young children and infants/toddlers is getting the older kids in the 3rd row without having to remove a child seat mounted in the 2nd row. This innovative design solves that issue,” explained Castignetti. “Plus, with the extensive 2nd row seat travel, it’s easy to adjust legroom or accommodate cargo spontaneously as needed.”
The 3rd row seat is a 50/50 split folding design, offering added cargo flexibility, and it also reclines for greater passenger comfort. Both the 2nd row and 3rd row seats fold flat for optimal cargo capacity and there is additional under floor storage in the rear cargo area.
Thoughtful technology is also found throughout the Pathfinder Concept interior, starting with the instrument panel, which includes an advanced drive-assist display directly in front of the driver – along with a large multifunction IT display in the center of the dash, Nissan Navigation System with real-time traffic and weather information and Zagat Survey® restaurant guide, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and RearView Monitor.
The Pathfinder Concept also features Nissan’s advanced Around View Monitor, which shows the driver a virtual 360-degree image of the area around the vehicle. Other technology includes a tri-zone climate control system, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, power rear liftgate, iPod® integration, and tri-zone entertainment system with 2nd row headrest-mounted DVD display screens. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) includes an individual tire pressure display and EasyFill Tire Assist – similar to that introduced on the Nissan Quest -that provides both visual and audible signals to help owners conveniently maintain correct tire pressures without the use of a gauge. A remote engine start function allows the climate control system to warm up or cool down the interior prior to driving.
Stunning New Exterior Design, Enhanced Fuel Efficiency
Along with the enhanced interior flexibility, the new unibody platform provided the designers an opportunity to create a more aerodynamic exterior without compromising headroom or cargo capacity. Moving upscale in look, the new exterior styling presents a smart fusion of signature Nissan styling cues and dynamic strength.
The look is adventure-ready with wheel-oriented muscular fenders and a strong, stable stance. The upper body features an open cabin with a low beltline and thin A- and D-pillars, which flow smoothly into the rugged, durable-looking lower body. The Pathfinder Concept utilizes front and rear spoilers, rear tire deflectors and rear suspension fairings to help achieve what is expected to be among the best aerodynamic performance in the segment. In one other important measurement, the next-gen Pathfinder is expected to weigh substantially less than the previous body-on-frame design, which helps contribute to the enhanced fuel economy performance.
Other exterior details include a wide chrome grille and large aerodynamic headlights, recessed front windshield wipers, chrome door handles and large rear combination lights. A panoramic dual-panel 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.
“With its new aerodynamically optimized shape, the styling is a major step forward in the evolution of the SUV – retaining its people and cargo hauling utility without looking quite so utilitarian,” said Castignetti. “It’s fitting that a vehicle that tackles adventures in a whole new way also now completely looks the part.”
Addressing buyers’ desire for more efficiency in every aspect of their lives, the Pathfinder powertrain utilizes a refined V6 engine mated to a next-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to provide an expected 25 percent increase in combined City/Highway fuel economy (over the previous V6-equipped model). The Pathfinder Concept also features an intuitive four-wheel drive system and a towing capacity comparable to the leaders in the segment.
The new engine and CVT combination offers improved efficiency, while maintaining nearly the same horsepower as the previous generation’s larger displacement V6, and delivers responsive acceleration in a variety of conditions. It also retains its ability to tow boats, jet skis, trailers and a variety of other recreational gear, and its role as an excellent vehicle for unfavorable driving conditions with four-wheel drive.
“The new Pathfinder carries on the tradition of the previous generations of adventure-ready Pathfinders that have come before – offering a new level of family enjoyment and engagement that is just right for today’s real-world, everyday uses,” concluded Castignetti. “After more than 25 years, Pathfinder is ready to tackle new terrain and the new challenges of modern family lives.”