We saw the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder in concept form more than half a year ago, and now the automaker has finally shared images of the production model. Surprise, surprise -- the production car looks almost identical to the show car that bowed at the Detroit auto show in January.
Nissan already showed us the interior of the new Pathfinder in February, but until now we had only seen the exterior of the concept version. Fortunately, as Nissan executives promised in January, the production 2013 Pathfinder hews very closely to the design of the Detroit show car. The crossover's nose is dominated by a rectangular chrome grille frame and wide, upswept headlights. A curving character line runs the length of the Pathfinder, intersecting with the lines above the butch widened fenders. Chrome roof rails and a panoramic sunroof define the roof.
The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder switches from body-on-frame to unibody construction, which should reduce overall weight and improve the vehicle's on-road manners. Even so, the company promises the new Pathfinder will be able to manage light off-roading and tow as much as 5000 pounds. Nissan has previously said that the Pathfinder concept will use an "advanced" V-6 engine and a continuously variable transmission. It should be 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the 2012 Pathfinder and could return as much as 26 mpg on the highway.
The new Pathfinder shares its platform with the 2013 Infiniti JX35, which probably means the Nissan will use the same 265-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 as the Infiniti. The old Pathfinder gave buyers a choice between a 266-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 and a 310-hp, 5.6-liter V-8. A five-speed automatic was the only transmission choice.
Even though we haven't learned much about the new model, Nissan says the 2013 Pathfinder will go on sale this fall. That means we should expect the automaker to reveal more information about the crossover within the next few months. Like its predecessor and the Infiniti JX35, the 2013 Pathfinder will be built at Nissan's factory in Smyrna, Tennessee.