Nissan completely redesigned its popular Pathfinder SUV for the 2013 model year, and Popular Mechanics believes that the automaker’s efforts have paid off. The publication recently recognized the new Nissan Pathfinder in its 2013 Automotive Excellence Awards, praising the new design for being more practical, spacious and fuel efficient.
Popular Mechanics editors chose their favorite vehicles in 10 different categories relating to attributes that car buyers are looking for, whether it is overall value, performance or all-out versatility, where the Nissan Pathfinder was named a winner. Editors applauded the new model’s move to a unibody platform from its prior body-on-frame design, which allowed for a weight loss of roughly 500 pounds while actually increasing space on the inside.
“Most SUV drivers are only willing to give up so much to save on gas, but with the new Nissan Pathfinder, they don’t have to give up a thing,” said Joe Lage, general sales manager of Rosen Nissan Gurnee, an Illinois Nissan dealership. “The Pathfinder provides all the space and amenities that families need without the excess that weighs down the competition. It returns class-leading fuel economy, but it doesn’t shy away from its athletic past either.”
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder can net up to 26 mpg on the highway, which is no mean feat for a vehicle that can also tow up to 5,000 pounds and seat seven. That rare mix of capability and fuel economy comes not only from the SUV’s sleek shape and lighter weight, but also from its advanced 260-horsepower V6 engine and continuously variable transmission, which supply ample acceleration and impressive cruising efficiency.
While the Pathfinder is the latest result of Nissan’s efforts to green up its lineup, there are more sustainable models on the way. For example, the Japanese automaker is further refining its all-electric LEAF compact car, using the latest technology to increase its driving range while reducing its price tag.
With a lighter lithium-ion battery pack and a rearranged drivetrain, the 2013 Nissan LEAF, which is set to go on sale early next year, has shed about 180 pounds. That new setup has resulted in a 14-percent jump in driving range, with a single charge now getting drivers as far as 140 miles before the vehicle needs to be plugged in again.
“The LEAF was already a standard-bearer for electric cars on the mass market, but Nissan isn’t resting on that achievement,” added Lage. “Nissan’s dedication to producing cutting-edge cars is changing the way we think about the daily drive, and it has positioned the automaker as a leader in alternative drivetrains.”