Used 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review

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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SUV

  • The new Nissan Pathfinder trades off-road brawn for on-road comfort. This big change is complemented by a stylish, welcoming cabin and top fuel economy ratings, making the revised Pathfinder a solid choice for a midsize or large crossover SUV.

  • Pros

    Roomy and upscale interior; good fuel economy; compliant ride quality.

  • Cons

    Less cargo capacity than other large crossovers; lazy handling when pushed.

  • What's New for 2013

    The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is fully redesigned.

Full 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Review

What's New for 2013

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is fully redesigned.


Adapt or die. This Darwinian adage applies to birds, business and, well, family SUVs. And so the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder adapts to the needs of consumers by breaking away from its trucklike, off-road-ready roots to become a more comfortable, car-based, family-ready crossover SUV.

The previous Pathfinder was a heavy, rugged truck adept at off-road adventures and towing. But its downsides included cramped quarters for second- and third-row passengers, a trucklike driving demeanor and mediocre fuel mileage. Nissan figured that on a daily basis most folks would prefer a comfortable cabin and good fuel economy to infrequently used extreme capabilities.

That's why the redesigned 2013 Pathfinder is built on a unibody structure shared with the equally new Infiniti JX crossover. It adopts a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The vehicle is 500 pounds lighter than the one it replaces, one factor in fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 combined, which make the Pathfinder one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in a class that includes the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.

Yes, the lighter and more efficient new Pathfinder gives up some towing capacity to its forebear, but it can still tow up to 5,000 pounds. That's a strong number for a midsize, seven-passenger crossover whose duties probably won't stray far from pulling a pair of jet skis to the lake or carting the kids to sports and dance practices. Like the Infiniti JX, the Pathfinder offers a sliding second-row seat that can tilt and fold forward even with a child seat in place, making access to the adult-friendly third row much easier.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder has a lot going for it, namely smooth performance, impressive fuel economy numbers and a welcoming cabin. But even if it's now better suited to compete in the popular seven-passenger SUV segment, the Pathfinder still faces some tough competition. Our top picks in the segment remain the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Flex and Mazda CX-9, each of which is roomier than the Nissan. However, against the strong-selling Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, the Pathfinder has definitely adapted to become a very appealing alternative.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is a midsize seven-passenger SUV offered in four trim levels: S, SV, SL and Platinum.

Standard equipment on the S includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split second-row seat (slides, reclines and folds), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer.

The SV adds automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 7-inch color multi-information display, a rearview camera and an upgraded audio system with a single-CD player, satellite radio and a USB/iPod interface.

Step up to the SL trim level and you get foglights, roof rack rails, a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, driver memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a compass.

The Platinum trim adds 20-inch wheels, a towing package, a multiview parking camera, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, cooled front seats, a 120-volt power outlet, a navigation system, real-time traffic and other information, and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with Bluetooth audio connectivity and a DVD player.

Optional equipment is grouped into three packages. The SL Premium package includes the Bose audio system, the 120-volt power outlet, a large dual panoramic sunroof and the towing package. The Platinum Premium package includes the dual panoramic sunroof and a DVD entertainment system with dual displays.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 good for 260 hp and 240 pound-feet of torque. A CVT and front-wheel drive are standard. An optional all-wheel-drive system automatically apportions power between the front and rear axles as needed or allows the driver to lock in a 50/50 ratio.

In Edmunds performance testing, a four-wheel-drive Pathfinder went from zero to 60 mph in 8.0 seconds, which is a little better than average. EPA fuel economy estimates are 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 19/25/21 with 4WD. Properly equipped, the Pathfinder can tow 5,000 pounds.


Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, a little better than average for this segment.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Pathfinder's cabin is put together well and boasts quality materials. Indeed, you may think you're in an Infiniti once you get inside the Platinum trim level, given the variety of rich finishes and accents. Despite the abundance of features (especially in higher trims), the various controls are easy to reach and intuitive.

Seat comfort up front is very good. Same goes for the second row, which slides and reclines to optimize comfort for passengers or cargo space behind as needs dictate. Access to the third row is eased by the second row's tilt and slide feature, which can be used even when a child seat is in place. The third row offers enough headroom for 6-foot passengers, but clearance gets a little tight beyond that.

Maximum cargo space stands at 79.8 cubic feet -- about the same as an Explorer and Pilot, though significantly less than what's available from some larger three-row crossovers like the GMC Acadia.

Driving Impressions

Although Nissan likely makes the best CVT in the business, acceleration off the mark is a bit sluggish, though it pulls nicely once underway (hence the competitive 0-60 time). Overall performance is smooth and more than adequate, especially in light of the promising fuel economy figures. Although the brake pedal feels a bit spongy, the brakes themselves are strong enough, with shorter than average stopping ability.

The priority of the chassis engineers was clearly achieving a comfortable, quiet ride over broken pavement and when cruising on the highway. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder's handling, however, is rather tepid, with lazy turn-in response and noticeable body roll when pushed. If you want to feel more connected to the road, we suggest opting for the Mazda CX-9 or Nissan's five-passenger Murano.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 65 reviews) Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Never performed on gas mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Bough it in December 2013 and never got the advertised gas mileage 21 and 26 mpg, only 19 in city and 22 in hwy. After the recall to fix CVT mine wnet down to 17 mpg in city (never check in hwy). Dealer did not find any problem with that as computer did not registered an issue.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Cvt problem nissan won't fix

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Had problems with the CVT from almost the start. Had severe juddering or shaking at certain speeds consistently and RPM revs at highway speeds with deceleration. Had in numerous times with nearly no support. They would keep my car for extended periods of time with no loaner only to say they couldn't detect juddering. Funny I could make it happen without any effort. Finally with little warranty left I traded it in. Will never buy a Nissan again. Too bad because everything else about the car I loved. Wish they owned up to their problems.

Nissan pathfinder beware transmission problems in

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

Run fast do not buy a Nissan Pathfinder You will regret it trust me!!!!!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

So much potential so much maintenance

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

We leased a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SV for 36 months. We enjoyed the vehicle appearance interior and performance. Unfortunately the transmission continually had issues in this car. We truly wanted it to work out but the dealer repeatedly informed us Nissan did not have a solution to fix the CVT transmission. We were told over and over Nissan is aware of the problem but only certain models were recalled. As we approached the end of our lease and that 36,000 mile warranty cut off we decided it was time to dump the Nissan because we did not want to risk replacing the transmission on our own dime. The last thing we needed was to be a few miles over the warranty and forced to pay for transmission they claim they couldn't fix. Boy were we surprised when the resale value was nowhere near the residual Nissan had hoped it would be worth. After calling Nissan corporate numerous times to discuss the problem with him very calmly no one really cared. We were truly shocked as we were willing to spend as much more in an Infiniti product. We ultimately decided to buy a reliable trustworthy Toyota Highlander and eat the negative equity Nissan didn't want to deal with. It's really a shame because we will certainly tell everyone we know about the risk you take when you purchase the Pathfinder. Overall a great vehicle but just not worth the risk because Nissan will not back you. You can get the same great gas mileage without the sketchy CVT transmission that Nissan uses to achieve good gas mileage.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

So much for a new design

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Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SV 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

I had nothing but problems with this vehicle. I was in and out of the shop with problems. From the airbag sensor, replacing the roof rail seals, and misc recalls. There were several other smaller issues, but one that could not be fixed and caused the dealership to trade my vehicle was something was wrong with the transmission. I would be driving in traffic, or in a school zone, hovering around 20mph, and the car would not accellerate. I had to either slam the break or turn off the car and restart it to get it to move. the dealership had it 3 or 4 times and "could not duplicate the problem". i sent a video in highway traffic to Nissan, nothing. i don't know if they ever figured it out.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

Transmission issues

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl CVT)

We bought our '13 Pathfinder SL 4WD in August of 2013. Within two months we started to feel the CVT Transmission shuddering under light throttle applications. We had the car in the shop four times for this issue, but they could never replicate the problem. After the shuddering started to become progressively worse and became a safety concern, we finally asked the dealer to buy the car back for the balance of our loan. Happily, they agreed, and we were given $6000 more than the Kelly Blue Book trade value. Other than the transmission issue, the car was very nice. It rode great and got very good MPG for a mid-sized CUV ....

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Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Suv in VA is:

$150.67 per month*

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