This past week Nissan announced its all-new 2013 Nissan Pathfinder from their Facebook account. When looking over the numbers, and examining the pictures, it’s not very difficult to tell what Nissan wanted to change about its bread and butter SUV.
The new Pathfinder is much lighter and sleeker then its predecessor, while managing to fit room for 7 in its new SUV. As you look at the new design for the Pathfinder, the image of many other new recently released SUVs pop into your head. One of the biggest changes is to Ford’s mammoth seller, the Escape, and the complete redesign that it came out with earlier this year. For the last 10 years the Ford Escape was the image of the small boxy SUV. It did not have an adverse affect seeing as the Ford Escape was extremely successful, and sold the largest amount in one year in 2011, after only one major redesign in the course of its ten-year span. Both the Escape and Pathfinder have moved from a more boxy shape to a much sleeker look that gives a more European design. So what are some of the real reasons why everyone is making this shift?
- Unibody design- this all as one design allows the vehicle to be more in synch and have a lower center of gravity vs. previous “body on frame” designs that were popular with the boxy SUVs.
- Aerodynamic Design – the new body shapes that are more curved allow the vehicle to cut through wind better then boxier shapes. This allows them to be more nimble and agile.
- Better MPG’s – The key characteristic of the new shape of SUVs is cutting out excess bulk. The extra distance covered allows for more materials and more parts creating heavy trucks that get worse gas mileage. With consumers becoming extremely conscious about the environment as well as their wallets at the pump, this new design theme provides a solution.
Hopefully the American consumers like the new body designs of SUV’s because with both foreign and domestic auto makers converting to this, there wont be many boxy shape SUV’s in the near future. Many criticisms of the new SUVs look revolve around the masculinity of the SUV market. Many people converted to SUVs as a way for men to show their masculinity, while also having the versatility for their family. The lighter, sleeker, and more curved design may be better for families, but could drive some men away from the SUV market.