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New Nissan Pathfinder pics emerge

Mystery: Nissan is yet to unveil the production-ready Pathfinder SUV but recently posted this image on its Facebook page.

Nissan Oz unclear on whether Facebook Pathfinder images are of production version


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1 Aug 2012

NEW pictures of Nissan’s fourth-generation Pathfinder seven-seat SUV have been published on the company’s Facebook page, but Nissan Australia has not confirmed if the images represent the production version that is expected to launch here toward the end of next year.

Two of the Facebook images are copies of those Nissan issued when the Pathfinder was unveiled in concept form at the Detroit motor show in January, while two previously unseen shots appear to be of an identical vehicle.

Nissan Australia corporate communications general manager Jeff Fisher said he had not yet seen any official factory photos of the new Pathfinder and could not confirm if the Facebook images were of the production version.

“That one looks suspiciously like the one I was looking at in January, which of course was far from (the production version),” he said.

Unlike the current version, which shares its separate chassis design with the Navara one-tonne ute, the next Pathfinder will adopt a car-like monocoque construction that should boost interior space and refinement while saving about 200kg of weight, improving fuel consumption.

The monocoque move means the next Pathfinder – which will be built in the US instead of Spain – will be more aligned with the Toyota Kluger, Ford Territory and Mitsubishi Pajero that lose some of the off-road ruggedness associated with ladder-chassis vehicles such as the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Challenger.

While Nissan is moving towards monocoque construction, the forthcoming ute-based Holden Colorado 7 and still-secret Ford Ranger-derived SUV will keep their rugged underpinnings.

The Pathfinder’s aerodynamics are expected to be among the class leaders, again due to the monocoque construction, while the exterior styling has moved upmarket, described as “adventure-ready with wheel-oriented muscular fenders and a strong, stable stance”.

Nissan is claiming some class-leading statistics and features for its new Pathfinder, including a 2268kg braked towing capacity, selectable 4x2, auto and 4x4 drive modes, reclining third-row seating, ‘Around View’ 360-degree camera system, and tyre pressure monitoring that during inflation automatically sounds the horn when the correct pressure is reached.

A petrol V6 engine paired with an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) has also been announced for the first front-drive Pathfinder model and is claimed to help reduce fuel consumption by 25 per cent compared with the outgoing petrol V6.

The current Pathfinder’s utilitarian cabin is ditched in favour of family-friendly comfort and usability, with options including a panoramic dual-panel glass roof with sliding front section and a tri-zone entertainment system catering to all three rows of seats.

Nissan has also developed a ‘child seat mode’ that enables easy access to the third row of seats when a child seat is fitted to the 60/40 split second row bench.

The centre bench can also slide fore and aft to provide various compromises of space for passengers and luggage.

Sales of the current Pathfinder are up 12.6 per cent to the end of June, 1277 units earning it a 2.5 per cent share of the segment for large SUVs priced below $70,000.

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