Admittedly late to the party, can Nissan regain its place in a radically changed sport-utility market? That’s the big question the maker faces as it rolls out an all-new version of the long-running Pathfinder.
The new model is more than just a face-lift, in fact, more than the usual redesign. The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder evolves from a classic, truck-based body-on-frame ute to a car-like unibody-based crossover. The move has significant advantages, shaving about 500 pounds of mass to deliver a more nimble ride and fuel economy.
But it also raises the possibility that classic SUV buyers might turn up their noses. On the other hand, the market for classic, truck-like utes has all but vanished, so the bigger question is whether Nissan can regain the buyers who’ve migrated to competing products, such as the latest-generation Ford Explorer, that previously made the SUV to CUV migration.