By on August 4, 2012

Nissan unveiled is 2013 Pathfinder in suburban Detroit and in downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (just two blocks away from the PATH train, get it?) The fashionably rugged, but far from off-roadish locales were carefully chosen:

The new Pathfinder ditches its body-on-frame passé past, and goes with a nimbler unibody design. Truck purists (who don’t buy Nissan anyway) may bemoan it, but Nissan’s GM Al Castignetti says the truck purists have slept through a big shift in the market. Says Nissan’s press release:

“Truck-based SUV sales peaked in the mid-2000s and have declined steadily as consumer demands shifted to more refined, fuel efficient crossover SUVs.  The 2013 Pathfinder is built with unibody construction, vastly reducing its weight by eliminating the fuel-penalizing mass of a traditional SUV’s truck-based frame.”

The base model will be bargain priced at just over $28,000 when it goes on sale in the United States in fall. Made in Smyrna, Tenn., with an engine made Decherd, Tenn., the Pathfinder will add to the politically correct side of the balance of payments by being exported to more than 80 destinations outside of the U.S., with main markets being Canada, Mexico and the Middle East.

 

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13 Comments on “Nissan Pathfinder: Body On Frame Is Like, So Last Month...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Honest cars sell… BOF “family” SUVs are not honest

  • avatar
    bucksnort

    The complaint is not so much unibody as it is the cvt. Unibody is fine for light duty. The cvt is too weak for any significant power output…probably ok for family duty but little else.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Who cares? They still sell the Xterra, which can even be had with the elusive manual transmission that everyone supposedly wants but never actually buys.

    The whole “4x4s need a full frame” argument died with the ’84 Cherokee. This isn’t even the first unibody Pathfinder.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Yerp exactly

    • 0 avatar
      jandrews

      The overriding point here is that purists and enthusiasts are not high volume purchasers.

      I’m an offroad enthusiast. The fact that my Tacoma is full body on frame is a godsend. I have been able to mount skid plates to custom crossmembers (weld or bolt-in). I have been able to weld in frame reinforcement for rigidity where I need it. I have completely revamped the rear leaf spring hanger locations, shackles, and shock mounts. I have installed an anti-wrap bar to prevent rear axle wrap when driving unladen or offroad. I have been able to replace the front and rear bumpers with plate steel versions that can actually stand the duties of vehicle recovery and winching. I have welded sliders (rock rails) to the frame along the sides of the vehicle to prevent rock damage offroad and to provide additional jack points.

      All of this has resulted in a MUCH better truck, and MUCH better 4×4. These items MIGHT have been possible on a unibody or unibody hybrid type vehicle, but most likely some of them would not have been doable.

      So, 4x4s that will be used DO need a full frame. It’s just that the percentage of 4x4s bought to be used for actual rugged work is a fraction of 1 percent. The rest are purchased so Jim’s new F-150 has a visible “4×4″ sticker while cruising his subdevelopment.

      Manufacturers build for the mass market. And the mass market does not need nor want capable four wheel drive vehicles. But it does want vehicles that LOOK like capable four wheel drives.

      And thus, CUVs errywhurr.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    I suspect this Pathfinder will have enough foreign content that it will still, in total, add to the U.S. balance of payments deficit.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    “The base model will be bargain priced at just over $28,000 when it goes on sale in the United States in fall.”
    That’s just nuts! Enough said

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “The complaint is not so much unibody as it is the cvt. Unibody is fine for light duty. The cvt is too weak for any significant power output…probably ok for family duty but little else.”

    And this thing is rated to tow 5K. Long term reliability should be interesting.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    “vastly reducing its weight…”

    I wonder, is it vastly lighter? Is the fuel economy that much better?

    Its funny, SUVs became popular because people thought they were cooler than station wagons and minivans. So now they are trying to make them more appealing by turning them back into station wagons. The next marketing wave will be touting how they took the traditional SUV and made it lower to the ground for better aerodynamics and easier ingress.

    • 0 avatar
      Gannet

      “The next marketing wave will be touting how they took the traditional SUV and made it lower to the ground for better aerodynamics and easier ingress.”

      Here’s hoping.

      In other encouraging news, I note this car doesn’t have the ridiculous over-emphasized wheel openings so popular from Japan of late, nor even much trace of Bangleized surfacing. Just shape. Thank you.

  • avatar
    C170guy

    Here is what it comes down to: did they add lightness?
    It looks like they are trying to say that unibody saved them some weight, but did they add it back elsewhere?

    Sometimes “heavy” means “stuck.”

  • avatar
    graham

    Ugly and unremarkable, but cheaper. Which reminds me…did this Rick Ash drone work for VW recently?

  • avatar
    Junebug

    One of my neighbors ran a little country store for years, he inherited it from his dad and when the time came to pass it to his son he celebrated by buying a new (his first new car) Toyota 4Runner Limited. Oh, it was pretty, and I was so happy he had something nice after working long hours/weekends all those years and raising 2 kids too.

    A couple weeks later he was in a Lexus SUV, I did a triple take and stopped to ask him why. He replied that that damn 4Runner rode like crap and his old lower back couldn’t stand it. He got a great deal on the Lexus and loved it.

    See BOF aint for everybody!


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