New practically sensible and efficient SUVs


For many years, the Nissan Pathfinder was a rugged truck-based SUV that was capable of off-road adventures. But since most buyers never so much as venture onto a dirt road, the all new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder rides smoother and comes with more interior space, plenty of room for three rows of seats.

It's new thinking for Nissan's mainstream sport utility and a more modern take on the family vehicle.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder ($28,650 base price) is following in the path of another former truck-based nameplate, the Ford Explorer. It too moved to a more car-like design a couple of years ago, and is now offered in a sport version.

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport ($40,720 base price) comes with a twin turbo eco-boost V6 engine under its hood, producing 365-horsepower and propelling a high-performance SUV that's ready for on-road driving fun.

The 2013 Ford Explorer Sport edition tops the Ford Explorer line in terms of price. The vehicle's highlights include a distinctive leather interior and big 20 inch wheels that offer the sizzle to go with the steak.

The 2013 Nissan Pathfinder combines space efficiency, ride and weight savings, and overall better fuel efficiency. The vehicle's mileage is up significantly over the older version, four to five mpg.

You can still take the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder and 2013 Ford Explorer Sport off-road if you'd like. Nissan even brags about the fact that the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder hasn't lost much of its four-wheeling prowess, thanks to the all wheel drive system's electronic controls.

These new breed SUVs are playing to what most buyers actually want in a vehicle like this: lots of seats, a high seating position, but a smooth ride.

As more and more people realize they don't actually need a truck to carry their stuff around, look for more auto brands to further develop SUVs that have the truck look but combine car sensibility and efficiency.

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