The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder is no longer an upright, body-on-frame SUV; rather, it's a passenger-oriented uni-body design—now with just a dash of ruggedness—and its styling, with a soft, rakish tall-wagon look, communicates exactly that.
The Pathfinder looks more like a larger model up from the Rogue compact crossover than it does a pure SUV—and just like the Rogue, it fully moves on from the boxy, upright SUV look, favoring a much more swept-back stance compared to most rival models. It's now more wagon-like to our eyes than any of its rivals, like the Highlander, Pilot, or Explorer.
The new Pathfinder was officially designed at Nissan Design America, in San Diego, but the design concept was from Europe, and although the previous generation was more focused on the U.S. market the new version will go on sale in more than 70 different countries. But Nissan has been doing an excellent job as of late in making sure all of its products fit right in with the same design aesthetic, and you can see some of the same styling cues on the Pathfinder—especially along its sides—that you see in some of Nissan's latest passenger-car models like the Altima and Sentra.
For instance, contour lines ‘flow’ up around the front fenders, then just below the beltline, with a flare above and around the rear wheelwells. And especially of note in the Pathfinder is the thicker diagonal chrome bars at the grille—maintaining a bolder look than in Nissan's cars—and how they continue as aggressive creases that carve out curvaceous sheetmetal just behind the headlamps and over the front wheel wells. That's our favorite feature of the Pathfinder's design, and it gives this vehicle a flamboyant styling 'pop' from the front. Although we do remain puzzled why Nissan opted not to offer either HID headlamps or LED running lamps.
Inside the Pathfinder isn't particularly groundbreaking. And in truth, there’s much borrowed from Infiniti models of recent years. There's a lot of smooth, hard, textured plastic throughout the interior that looks like it would wipe easily, while the hard, more glossy material of the dash top meets the more soft-touch, semi-matte, and almost-coordinated material of the door panels somewhat inharmoniously, in constant sight of the driver. It doesn't help either that while the exterior is offered in a number of cheery colors, the interior is limited to just two rather drab colors--Almond and Charcoal.