Saturday, January 12, 2013

REVIEW: The ALL NEW 2013 Nissan Pathfinder

I am so excited to share this vehicle review with all of you! This is not only my FIRST review of 2013 but it's my FIRST EVER vehicle review!

If you are like me, when you are shopping for a new vehicle, you check prices (of course), but you ALSO check reviews. There are many vehicle reviews out there that focus on the horsepower or the "crash-test-safety-rating" or even the MPG of a vehicle. This is NOT that kind of review. Instead I'm going to focus on the details. Those little things that you don't necessarily think about until AFTER you've purchased a vehicle and you find those "little things" that annoy the heck out of you about it.

This review is from a Mommy's (& Daddy's) perspective - we have no mechanical or engineering background to talk about all that horsepower/safety/MPG stuff anyway! I just know what works for our family of 5 (soon to be 6) and what doesn't. I hope you find this review helpful & useful if you are considering purchasing a vehicle in the near future!

Let me get the "official" product review stuff out of the way:

I was asked to review the ALL NEW 2013 Nissan Pathfinder by the folks at Newton Nissan in Gallatin, TN. The model we reviewed/test drove was the "SL" and it has an MSRP of $35,945 with everything you see in the photos. MSRP does not include tax, tags, licenses or other fees. Additional equipment extra - inquire at the dealer regarding exact pricing.

I have in NO WAY been compensated for my opinion on this vehicle. We were provided with the vehicle for 3 days with a full tank of gas for reviewing/test-driving purposes. All opinions expressed are my own - or that of my husband - I will note his thoughts here as well - & are an honest & truthful representation of how we personally feel about this vehicle.

Here is a photo of Nissan Specialist, Tim Clark, explaining the ins & outs of the vehicle for us:

We currently own/drive a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder so I was really excited to see the "ALL NEW" 2013 & compare it to the more "rugged" looking 2012 & to see all the "improvements" Nissan made. Here are a few side-by-side photos of the 2 vehicles so you can have a visual comparison:

As you can see the overall dimensions are nearly the same as the 2012. The 2013 definitely sits lower to the ground though so there is more head room inside (great for tall people like my hubby - he's 6'1" and had plenty of space between his head & the top of the Pathfinder).

Speaking of room, I think it has something to do with the new kind of frame they use on the 2013, but the front driver compartment seems HUGE in comparison to our 2012. There is so much head room & leg room and the seats seem WIDER for extra comfort!

In making those front seats wider though, you lost some cupholder/center console space. To us it's an unfortunate trade off (we don't need wider seats). Our 2012 Pathfinder has LARGE cupholders - they can hold a Gatorade bottle without a problem but have rubber inserts to hold "regular" size cups/bottles as well. We missed that with the new model.

With the vehicle being lower to the ground, it's MUCH easier for little ones to get in & out. Here is our toddler climbing into the vehicle & his carseat ON HIS OWN (he's not yet 3 years old & cannot do this in our 2012 Pathfinder - we are looking into running boards for this reason)! He was so proud of himself (can you tell?)!

I'd like to mention the 2nd row cupholders here (you can see the toddler's sippy in some of the photos above). They are on the DOOR in the 2013 model and I thought that would be "better" thinking the kids could reach their own cups, but they couldn't reach them & neither could the front passenger without some contorting of their body. In our 2012 Pathfinder, the 2nd row cupholders flip down from the center console (so it can be folded up when not in use) & are easy for the front passenger to reach. I could see how it would be an issue with an adult or older child in that middle seat for foot space though so it's all just a matter of preference. With young children right now, I prefer to be able to reach their drinks from the front seat instead.

As you can see in the photo below, there is plenty of room between the 2 carseats we have in there for another carseat (in our case it'll be an infant carrier carseat with base for our new little one coming in less than 7 weeks!). Wanted to note here that there is JUST as much room in the 2012 to fit 3 carseats across without a problem.

(PS - I fixed little princess's carseat after taking this photo because I noticed it was leaning.)

Here is a photo of the NISSAN Intelligent Key® - I removed the ACTUAL key from it to show you as well. You would use this to lock personal items in the glove box if you were to leave your car with a valet for example.

I will admit that it takes some getting used to. You just leave the "key" in your pocket or purse and press the ignition button while you hold your foot on the brake pedal. How neat is that? It also includes a Remote Engine Start System which of course was a treat for us (our 2012 doesn't have that installed) especially since we were doing this review on a very cold weekend in January!

Another great feature is the backup camera (again our 2012 doesn't have this feature). I snapped a quick photo when my husband was backing up. This is great if you have kids that leave items in the driveway or for busy parking lots - you can see if a person or car is coming behind your vehicle even BEFORE it's in your own line of sight.

Since we're about to have 4 children, we are going to start utilizing the 3rd row even more than we do now so I was really excited about checking out the EZ Flex™ Seating System with LATCH AND GLIDE™ Technology on the 2nd row seats! I had my doubts that an adult would be able to squeeze into the 3rd row with a carseat installed on the 2nd row seat but I was proved very wrong! IMPORTANT NOTE: You should NEVER slide the seats forward when there is a child buckled into the 2nd row carseat!

I made my 6'1" husband go first (LOL)!

As you can see, the seat stopped in a more forward position than it was before so he actually had LEG ROOM in the 3rd row! The toddler still had plenty of space for his legs in the middle row as well!

Next, it was MY turn! YES, as you can see, my 8 month pregnant self climbed into the back pretty easily & had plenty of space back there to sit comfortably!

A really neat feature is the Under-Floor Cargo System. This has a TON of storage which is awesome (especially when you're using the 3rd row for passengers). Our 2012 Pathfinder only has enough space for the tire jack & some small tools.

With the 3rd row up for passenger use, there is still PLENTY of cargo space in the back (similar cargo capacity to our 2012 Pathfinder).

With our 2012 Pathfinder, we can fit our Graco double stroller (with a little effort) behind the 3rd row seat. The tires are the issue - they stick out & I don't like to remove them because with how much we use the stroller it really is a pain to take them off and on all the time. We were unable to do this with the 2013 since there the rear glass doesn't open on the tailgate (on our 2012, we open the glass and push the stroller towards the rear seat to close the tailgate without scratching it). Here is a photo of our "attempt" - it sure looks like the tailgate will close but it doesn't & we didn't try to "force" it.

I also use the rear glass window to put groceries, etc in & out of the back without fully opening the tailgate. I missed that when we were driving the 2013 model for the weekend. NOTE: if you aren't notorious for opening the tailgate & having glass jars of groceries fall out & break on you then you might not be too bothered that the rear glass doesn't open.

Another issue we had with the tailgate was that it is much lower (when open) than the 2012 Pathfinder (due to the newer model sitting lower to the ground). I'm 5'7" and in sneakers I was able to walk under it (but just barely) without hitting my head. My husband smacked his head SEVERAL times on the tailgate so that annoyed him a lot.

Overall the 2013 has a more sleek & aero-dynamic design than the 2012 (and previous model years) of the Pathfinder. Here are a few more photos of just the exterior.

Now for the "experience" of actually DRIVING it - obviously there are no photos for this part!

I LOVED that this rode/drove/handles more like a car than a big truck. My husband on the other hand prefers the handling/ride of a truck so on this we are split. There wasn't a lot of road/wind noise on the highway (want to note there isn't much with the 2012 Pathfinder either).

I think the biggest downfall of it sitting lower to the ground would be you do lose a bit of "height" for being a "larger" SUV. You don't sit as high up in the driver's seat (even with it all the way elevated). I lost a little bit of that "safe" feeling from being able to see over smaller vehicles.

When you are backing up or looking at changing lanes, the view over your shoulder is almost nothing but windows/glass. You can see the middle row headrests in your view, but other than that, there should be no reason you can't see any vehicles/people that might be around you.

A few things we didn't/don't like overall with the Pathfinder are the window lock & auto-lock features.

When the driver turns on the window lock (locking all the other passengers from opening the windows with their buttons - like the kids in the middle row), even they (the driver) can't open/close those windows until they turn off the window lock. This is frustrating and is also on an issue with our 2012 Pathfinder. I know it's a "safety" feature, but surely they can make it so the DRIVER can still open/close the windows without having to UNLOCK it first, right?

The auto-lock feature is great for safety, but when you put the vehicle in park the doors stay locked! You have to turn off the vehicle or manually unlock the door(s) in order to get out. I'm all for safety but if the vehicle is in park, I think the doors should unlock at that point or at least enable the DRIVER to just use their door handle to get out of the vehicle. It is more than a little frustrating and has bothered us on our 2012 model also.

Our overall experience with the 2013 Pathfinder was great. We would definitely recommend it to those looking at a new SUV, but we don't quite regret buying the 2012 model instead. We would give it an 8 out of 10 rating. Here is our final "Pro & Con" listing on the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder SL we reviewed.

NISSAN Intelligent Key®
Remote Engine Start System
TONS of leg room
Lower to the ground (easier for younger kids to get in & out)
EZ Flex™ Seating System
Under-Floor Cargo System
Backup Camera

Tailgate height (when open)
Rear Glass doesn't open
Driver sits lower to the ground
Smaller cupholders in the front
2nd row cupholders on the doors
Can't fit double stroller behind 3rd row
Window lock (not specific to 2013 model year)
Auto-lock on the doors (not specific to 2013 model year)

I hope you found this review helpful! If you have any specific questions about our review, please comment below & I will respond promptly!

Later Taters!

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