Only a few years ago, many in the mainstream media seemed intent on writing the obituary for the SUV. Those reports, like those of the death of Mark Twain, were “greatly exaggerated.” Well, maybe not. The traditional SUV definitely isn’t dead, but more and more manufacturers are migrating away from classic truck-based ute designs to lighter, more fuel-efficient car-based crossover-utilities.
The latest to do so is the newly-updated Nissan Pathfinder, the concept version making its debut this week at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. A production version will reach showrooms later this year, following in the treadmarks of domestic competitors Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The alternative should have a big payoff, Nissan officials tell TheDetroitBureau, with the 2013 Pathfinder expected to yield about 25% better mileage than the outgoing, truck-based SUV. While the maker declined to provide hard numbers for the new truck, the current offering gets about 16 mpg in the EPA Combined rating.