Nissan has just taken the wraps off of its handsome new 2013 Pathfinder, touting 30-percent better gas mileage, svelter unibody construction and room for seven people. Built on the same platform as the Infiniti JX luxury utility that’s already on sale, the Pathfinder hopes to make a serious comeback as it drops its body-on-frame packaging for a unibody. It may lose some of its ruggedness, but that’s okay by Nissan, as they say it’s not what its buyers really wanted.
“The majority of our customers just don’t go off road,” says Tom Smith, director of SUV marketing at Nissan. “They’re concerned with gas mileage, all-weather capabilities and having enough space for their families.” Indeed, most carmakers are turning their once top-selling sport utilities into unibody people haulers – witness the Ford Explorer. Others, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Honda Pilot have always maintained unibody roots.
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