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Nissan asks $3000 extra for hybrid Pathfinder

All-rounder: Nissan’s new Pathfinder Hybrid combines a supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for fuel savings of about 15 per cent over V6 variants.

Hybrid Pathfinder to start at $42,990 as Nissan takes the petrol-electric SUV path

Nissan logo21 Aug 2014

NISSAN’S petrol-electric Pathfinder Hybrid will command a $3000 premium over the equivalent V6 models when it arrives in Australian showrooms in September as this country's most affordable hybrid SUV.

Available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, the hybrid variants of the seven-seat American-made large SUV start at $42,990 ($47,001 drive-away) for the base two-wheel-drive Hybrid ST and top out at $68,090 ($74,879 drive-away) for the four-wheel-drive Hybrid Ti.

The new-to-the-range Pathfinder Hybrid combines a supercharged version of Nissan’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that, in its normally aspirated guise, powers other Nissan vehicles such as the X-Trail, with a 15kW electric motor to deliver 188kW of power and 330Nm of torque.

This is 2kW less power but 5Nm more torque than the 190kW/325Nm 3.5-litre V6 in all the other Pathfinder models launched in Australia in November last year.

Nissan says the powertrain delivers fuel savings of about 15 per cent over the V6, scoring 8.4 litres per 100km on two-wheel drive variants and 8.5L/100km for 4WD models.

This is slightly thirstier than diesel-powered rivals such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee (7.5L/100km) and Ford Territory (8.2L/100km).

Like Toyota’s Kluger, no diesel powertrain is available in the Pathfinder, due to its American origins.

The new Nissan becomes the first hybrid in the mainstream large SUV class. To date, the only petrol-electric hybrid SUVs have been of the premium variety such as the $82,900 Lexus RX450h.

Mitsubishi offers the plug-in Outlander PHEV in the medium SUV class, but that is priced from $47,490.

Nissan describes the supercharged four-cylinder engine as super responsive, delivering a torque curve almost identical to that of the V6 when matched with the torque assist electric motor.

Despite this, the braked towing capacity is more than 1000kg less than that of the V6, at 1650kg.

The Pathfinder Hybrid uses two clutches – one connecting the petrol engine and the other engaging the electric motor when required.

As with the V6 models, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard.

Like all hybrids, the Pathfinder recoups power under deceleration, with its electric motor becoming a generator to top up the 144-volt lithium-ion battery pack under the third row of seats.

Nissan says the compact battery does not impinge on the cabin or cargo space of the vehicle.

To minimise noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) at low engine speeds, active engine mounts isolate engine vibrations by applying a reverse-phase cancelling force to smooth out the wrinkles.

As well, an active noise control system in the cabin employs microphones to pick up undesirable sounds and then cancel them with sound emitted via the car’s audio system.

Another small bonus of the hybrid models is the addition of power-saving LED tail-lights – a first for Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder Hybrid is available across three grades – ST, ST-L and Ti – with equipment levels matching those of the V6 models.

On the ST-L, a $2100 option pack adds around-view monitor, sat-nav, premium BOSE audio, bigger eight-inch colour display and 9Gb drive for storing music.

So far this year, Nissan has sold 2571 Pathfinders, representing a massive 269 per cent rise over the same period last year when the previous model was in run-out.

However, the big Nissan still trails many of its rivals in the segment, including the Grand Cherokee (10,019 vehicles), Kluger (9725) and Holden Captiva 7 (6519).

2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid pricing*
Hybrid ST 2WD$42,990
Hybrid ST-L 4WD$57,490
Hybrid ST-L 4WD with Option Pack$59,590
Hybrid Ti 4WD$68,090
*Excludes on-road costs.

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