• Nissan debuts its Pathfinder Concept vehicle at this year's Detroit Auto Show
  • The Pathfinder concept is a return to Pathfinders of old but with modern flare
  • The next-generation Pathfinder is slated to go on sale in fall of 2012

At the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, Nissan hints at the reinvention of its most popular nameplate: The Pathfinder. Just like the second generation of Pathfinder, the Pathfinder Concept utilizes unibody construction. This is in stark contrast to the truck-like body on frame design of the current Pathfinder.

Inside the Pathfinder Concept seats seven passengers due to an innovative three-row seating configuration designed for comfort, convenience, and entertainment.

The Pathfinder Concept looks, as Nissan puts it, "adventure ready." With its low beltline, and thin body pillars, it's clear the Pathfinder Concept looks lighter than the current iteration, yet capable. The new Pathfinder Concept utilizes front and rear spoilers, rear tire deflectors, and rear suspension fairings to help achieve what Nissan is expected to be one of the best aerodynamic vehicles in the segment.

Fuel efficiency doesn't end with the Pathfinder Concepts outer appearance. Under the hood, Nissan has fitted a new more fuel-efficient V6 engine. Paired with the frugal V6 is a Continuously Variable Transmission (CTV). Together boasting a 25-percent decrease in fuel consumption over the current Pathfinder with a comparable drivetrain.

Even though the new Pathfinder Concept is a unibody, it still has an intuitive all-wheel-drive system and impressive towing capacity comparable with other leaders in the segment. With the new Pathfinder, owners will have no problem towing boats, jet skis, or trailers.

Though not exact, Nissan says customers can expect the next-generation Pathfinder to share many of the features of the Pathfinder Concept. Nissan plans to put the next-generation Pathfinder on sale nation-wide in the fall of 2012.

What it means to you: Nissan wants to try to give the Explorer a run for its money.

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Nick Jaynes developed a passion for writing about cars working his way through Journalism School as a Volvo mechanic. When he's not writing, Nick can be seen hosting the popular automotive web-show DownForce Motoring. In his free-time, Nick collects vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

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