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by Tim Beissmann

The all-new Nissan Pathfinder has been fully unveiled in the US, with the Japanese manufacturer claiming the fourth-generation SUV will be the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.

Equipped with a 194kW/325Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and teamed with the brand’s next-generation ‘Xtronic’ continuously variable transmission (CVT), the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder uses 10.7 litres of fuel on the combined cycle in front-wheel-drive form and 11.2L/100km when powering all four wheels, according to US testing standards.

Nissan says the figures make the new Pathfinder 30 per cent more economical than the outgoing third-generation model, a result achieved primarily through the SUV’s new aerodynamic design, 227kg weight reduction, reduced engine friction and its more efficient CVT.

Although there is currently no petrol engine option in the local line-up, Nissan Australia told CarAdvice at January’s Detroit motor show that the petrol V6 would be offered in the new Pathfinder range when it arrives down under, which will be towards the end of 2013 at the earliest.

At least one diesel engine will also be offered when the new model launches in Australia, although Nissan is yet to reveal details of any other powertrain options. While any diesel variants are unlikely to benefit from 30 per cent efficiency gains like the petrol model, the new Pathfinder’s substantial weight reduction – achieved through the shift from a body-on-frame chassis to a car-like monocoque construction – should see significant economy improvements nonetheless.

Nissan says the move to a unibody chassis has not affected the Pathfinder’s towing capacity or four-wheel-drive ability, with the new model featuring the brand’s All-Mode 4×4-i system with selectable 2WD, 4WD and Auto modes.

The more accommodating seven-seat cabin now features reclining third-row seats and the ‘EZ Flex Seating System with Latch and Glide’, which features a second-row tip-up seat for use with a child restraint seat that allows easy access to the rear while keeping the child seat securely fastened.

Other available features include Nissan’s Around View Monitor four-camera bird’s-eye view system, satellite navigation, 13-speaker Bose stereo with tri-zone entertainment system, heated and cooled front seats, and Nissan Intelligent Key with remote engine start.

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