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Best Car To Buy: The Crossover Nominees Page 5

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Nissan Pathfinder
Overall Rating: 8.0
Bottom Line: The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is in a new place that's just right for families who want a big, comfortable, sensible wagon, but it's given up some of its path-finding heritage to get there.

The Nissan Pathfinder is an iconic SUV that became even more truck-like with its last redesign for 2005; so it was naturally a bit surprising that Nissan has completely recast it in the crossover mold for 2013—and actually, as one of the softer, more wagon-like ones. Nissan let go of nearly all the rock-scrambling trail toughness—that’s still there if you want it in the Xterra—and focused on families for this Pathfinder. And while the new Pathfinder doesn’t shine in any one particular area, it excels in everything passenger-related and includes an especially roomy third row. On the road, the Pathfinder drives exactly as it should—as a softly-sprung sedan, not a truck—and it doesn’t have the nagging sense of heft that’s ever-present in other models like GM’s large crossovers; we really like its nicely weighted steering compared to other models in this class. There’s not much ground clearance, but thanks to a new chain-driven CVT the Pathfinder can tow up to 5,000 pounds.


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