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Nissan Pathfinder facelift coming

New path: Nissan’s is updating its big Pathfinder SUV for the first time since its late-2013 Australian launch.

Powered-up V6 and firmer chassis headline Nissan Pathfinder facelift

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Nissan logo8 Jul 2016

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

NISSAN’s fourth-generation Pathfinder has been given a mid-life facelift that is expected to arrive in Australia early next year featuring an overhauled V6 engine, increased technology and firmer suspension.

The company’s latest corporate identity has also been applied to the front of the Pathfinder, which now sports “boomerang-shaped” full LED headlights – replacing the previous halogen units – and the now familiar V Motion grille.

The interior and rear exterior styling have only been lightly revised, however.

Although there is no word yet on changes to the Pathfinder Hybrid variants, petrol-only models boast a re-engineered 3.5-litre V6 with 56 per cent of parts claimed to be new in an attempt to “add more power and torque without compromising fuel efficiency”, according to Nissan.

Additions to create a fresh VQ35DD engine designation include direct fuel injection, a variable displacement oil pump and electronic control module, leaving the engine’s alloy block, exhaust valve timing control and intake manifold unchanged from the outgoing VQ35 engine.

Comparing current Australian outputs with new US figures, power moves from 190kW to 212kW (produced 400rpm lower at 6000rpm), while torque shifts from 325Nm to 351Nm (delivered 400rpm higher at 4800rpm).

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) remains the only option with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Nissan claims the Pathfinder’s steering is now 11 per cent quicker, its front and rear dampers are 11 per cent and seven per cent firmer respectively, and rear spring rates increase by 25 per cent. New rebound springs have also been added to the front struts.

New safety technology has been added to the brand’s large SUV for the first time, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and ‘moving object detection’ for the around-view camera.

The 8.0-inch colour touchscreen display now features NissanConnect app connectivity including remote vehicle start and a function that can alert authorities if the vehicle is involved in an incident – although it is unclear what technologies will be offered Down Under.

Nissan Australia general manager of corporate communications Peter Fadeyev said he could not confirm either the specifications of local-bound Pathfinders or whether pricing and range realignments will occur.

Although the Pathfinder’s styling falls into line with the facelifted Pulsar (called Sentra in the US) and Altima, Mr Fadeyev confirmed Australia would only receive the facelifted large SUV because production for our country comes from Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee, plant.

The Pulsar and Altima are produced for our market in Thailand that is currently not destined to produce the facelifted models.

The Nissan Pathfinder line-up is currently priced between $39,990 and $68,090 plus on-road costs and is offered in three model grades – ST, ST-L and Ti.

Each is offered with a choice of front- and all-wheel-drive for the V6 petrol, while the four-cylinder hybrid is available in front-wheel drive ST or all-wheel drive ST-L and Ti.

According to industry body VFACTS, Nissan has sold 2798 Pathfinders during the first half of 2016, down 7.6 per cent year to date, and it has obtained a 4.7 per cent share of the sub-$70,000 large SUV segment.

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