Nissan Pathfinder seems to be suffering from a bi-polar disorder. The first generation was a body-on-frame truck that was a little underpowered, but quite a capable off-roader. Even the hardcore off-road crazies were more than happy to put lift-kits and big rubber on them, and throw them on rocks and into the mud.
The second generation truck hung its Special Forces uniform in the closet and put a unibody Adidas track suit on, while still wearing its steely square jaw, pretending to be tough. It didn’t work for the hardcore crowd, who ran to the Xterra truck army base, but soccer moms and other assorted metro-sexual nannies loved it.
The third generation Pathfinder went back to the macho frame toughness, but jumped into the stratosphere in price. As a result, it lost volume and appeal to the hardcore crowd. Who wants to do 10K in mods and take a 50K truck off-road? It became a niche (although quite capable) truck for wannabe off-roaders with fat wallets.
The new 2013 design stopped pretending all together and is wearing a softer, more flowing skin, with only a hint of a new age tough-girl muscle. It’s sold its soul to the female iron-fist rulers of Suburbia and it should drop the name as well, or it’s going to have some “splainin” to do when the special ops guys come back looking for it.
Car and Driver: 2013 Nissan Pathfinder - We're all wusses now