The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder: Best Family Car of 2013

The all new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has a problem. It doesn’t know if it should be an SUV or a Crossover. Nissan over the years has shot back and forth with the platforms for the Pathfinder and this year, it seems to have settled on the smaller option. However, with all of the changes, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder was recently voted the “Best Family Car of 2013” by KBB. High praise indeed.

This 4th Generation Pathfinder comes with a 3.5L V6 engine which provides 260Hp to a CVT transmission that has a manual shift mode. The drive train certainly makes for a solid, comfortable ride and with 0-60mph in just over 8 seconds, it can get to where it needs to go in plenty of time. Top speed is just 120mph but this is not where the new Pathfinder sells its stuff. The interior cabin has been completely transformed to look more like an Infiniti than a Nissan. Plush, luxurious leather seating, and a roomy fit for even the tallest of seven passengers, this is only part of the story. Nissan’s objective was to make the Pathfinder more attractive to those customers who wanted a comfortable, taller, spacious vehicle that probably didn’t rely too much on the “rugged” perception that had arrived with previous older models. To reflect that, towing capacity has been drastically reduced, and despite being based more on a car platform, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder still has plenty of roll when moving through obstacles.

My own feeling with this Pathfinder version is that it still resembles an SUV too much, without emphasising the more refined, car-like design which has become such a huge part of its DNA. Not many families look for those huge “yachts” anymore such as the Navigator, or the Escalade simply because of the horrid fuel economy that came with those “tanks”. Emphasis today is more on buying only what you need, and no more. Cargo space is plentiful and with the storage space in the floor of the rear compartment, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder can double as a hauler.

The Pathfinder doesn’t seem to suffer too much in performance despite the smaller engine and fuel economy averages 21 mpg which is entirely acceptable in this segment. Transform your vehicle to 4WD and the Platinum option and your Pathfinder becomes a luxury car with a ton of toys. You immediately get all the bells and whistles of 20″ wheels, TV screens in the rear, navigational aids that could take you to Mars, and all the cup and bottle-holders a person would ever need. One impressive feature is the Around View Monitor that consists of a system of four video cameras that provide the driver with a 360 degree view of the vehicle. Great for parking or reversing.

Priced at a MSRP of around $29,000 for the Base version and over $40,000 for the Platinum privilege, Nissan have not come to play with this offering in the Crossover market. It still trails the Honda Pilot and Toyota 4-Runner in certain areas but when you roll all this together, very surprisingly, to me at least, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder beats out the Honda Accord and the Toyota Prius as the “Best Family Car of 2013” as announced by Kelley Blue Book.

DEcide for yourself if its a Crossover or an SUV. I doubt you’ll care either way.

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