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Over the River and to the Mall in a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

Ahhhh Thanksgiving. A holiday to give thanks, stuff our faces with an embarrassingly array of calorie laden treats and for some, an opportunity to brave the crowds at the mall in hopes of getting a deal that’s too good to be true. I for one checked all the boxes in this trifecta and added one more. I spent the extended holiday weekend enjoying the all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder.

When it first debuted in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder was a true body on frame 4-wheel drive truck that was arguably better suited for off-road hijinks than on-road comfort. Throughout the years, the Pathfinder has evolved away from its off-road, path finding roots, and more towards suburban errand running. Don’t take this as a bad thing, though. Just consider it a different kind of path finding that better aligns with consumer preference.

The 2013 Pathfinder is a true crossover that blends the functionality of a 4-wheel drive vehicle with the comfort and utility of a family truckster. The new 3.5 liter V6, coupled with one of the lightest curb weights in the segment, helps the Pathfinder achieve 19 miles per gallon in the city and 25 miles per gallon in the city. Having averaged 22.5 miles per gallon on my city biased weekend I can say that the EPA estimates reflect actual fuel consumption. This was a pleasant change from our current SUV that barely squeezes out 13 miles per gallon.

I am no stranger to seven seat SUV’s and was pleasantly surprised by the size and driving dynamics of the Pathfinder. I would say the vehicle is just the right size. It easily accommodated my wife and 11-month old and I heard nary a complaint from either. They were particularly happy with the remote starter that quickly warmed the car up in advance of our trip home from Thanksgiving dinner. Only in Minnesota can you start the day with temperatures in the fifties and end the day with snow and temps in the teens. Despite icy roads on the trip home, and L-tryptophan induced drowsiness, the Pathfinder safely foraged our path to the suburbs. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that the car wasn’t even in 4-wheel drive. I am confident that the Pathfinder can easily tackle all that Minnesota winters throw at it.

While most sane people were probably sleeping in on the Friday after Thanksgiving, my chief shopping strategist, AKA Becky my wife, had an early morning adventure planned. Who knew you could spend so much money before 9am. If there was an upside, it was that the Pathfinder easily swallowed everything we threw at it. The sliding second row seats provided flexibility and the fold flat third row helped maximize cargo capacity for our Black Friday shopping mission. The rear view camera also was a huge help, guiding me out of my parking spot when I couldn’t see out the rear window and had to dodge deal-crazed shoppers. I can tell you that more than a couple of the seven seat SUVs on the market could not have hauled what we were able to stuff into the Pathfinder. In fact, my wallet tells me that it wishes the Pathfinder had a little less cargo capacity.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, short of a run in with a previous generation Pathfinder driver on Saturday morning. Clearly said driver was impressed with the new 2013 Pathfinder, judging be the way we sped up to catch us and eventually pass us on the highway. The whole time he longingly stared at the car and I’m pretty sure that once he was well ahead of us he had to wipe a pool of drool off of his chin.

The Pathfinder has gotten better with age. Looking back, the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder took everything we threw at it with stride. While it’s lost some of its off -road ruggedness, it makes up for it with refinement and all around functionality.

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