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New all-diesel, value direction for Pathfinder

Diesel dominates: Nissan's revised Pathfinder is now exclusively diesel.

Nissan drops V6 petrol, upgrades diesel and value across board for mid-size SUV

3 Jun 2010

NISSAN has axed petrol power from its Pathfinder mid-size SUV range as part of a substantial 2010 upgrade now available in Australia after its international debut at the Geneva motor show in March.

As seen in Switzerland, and with the related D40 Navara utility, the overhaul to the D51-series seven-seat Pathfinder brings a major upgrade to the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine – now the sole source of motivation for the SUV, which is struggling on the sales charts.

Nissan Australia this week advised it would continue to assess the Renault-sourced 170kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine shown in Geneva and now in service overseas, for both the Barcelona-built Pathfinder and Navara.

The latter still offers the 198kW/385Nm 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine, albeit in just a single model variant across the workhorse range (dual-cab ST-X).

But lack of sales and the latest diesel upgrade has now forced it from Pathfinder, which won no environmental accolades with a petrol engine that returned a combined fuel consumption figure of 13.5L/100km – and 18.7L/100km on the extra-urban cycle. CO2 emissions were also high at 327g/km.

By comparison, the 2.5-litre common-rail diesel (now designated YDK3) has been re-engineered to produce lower emissions and fuel consumption than the outgoing YD25 version, plus higher levels of power and torque.

12 center imageAs with the Navara, the 2.5 now churns out 140kW at 4000rpm (up 14kW) and a muscular 450Nm from 2000rpm (up a whopping 47Nm).

Combined with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, the Pathfinder diesel now returns 8.5L/100km – down 15 per cent – while the optional five-speed automatic falls 13 per cent to 9.0L/100km.

Meanwhile, CO2 emissions tumble 18 per cent to 224g/km in the manual, or 16 per cent to 238g/km with the auto.

The upgrade allows Pathfinder to hold its position, in engine performance terms, between its two biggest diesel-powered genuine off-road rivals, the Toyota Prado and Mitsubishi Pajero.

The top-selling Prado offers 127kW/410Nm from its 3.0-litre diesel (with 8.8L/100km manual gearbox economy), while Pajero offers a little more power than Pathfinder but less torque (147kW/441Nm) from its larger 3.2-litre diesel, with manual gearbox mileage of 8.4L/100km.

Pathfinder’s starting price continues at $48,490 (plus dealer delivery and statutory charges) for the ST, although the mid-series ST-L climbs $3500 to start from $56,490 and the range-topping Ti rises $2750 to start from $65,990.

Offsetting the price hikes is a considerable increase in standard equipment, which on the ST-L includes curtain airbags, leather upholstery, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, driver’s seat and door mirror memory (the latter now electric folding), Nissan’s Intelligent Key keyless entry system and reverse-parking sensors.

The Ti also makes a strong case in the value equation, with the addition of satellite-navigation (with colour display and seven-inch touch-screen), a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, full iPod/USB connectivity, a reversing camera (with ‘predictive path’ technology), a front DVD player (in addition to the previous rear-seat DVD entertainment system) and Xenon headlights with washers and automatic levelling.

The previous mock woodgrain cabin trim on Ti has also disappeared, replaced by more modern metallic-look trim, and benefits further from revised dials and 4WD switchgear.

Indeed, all Pathfinder models have been modernised with new detailing across the dashboard and centre console, and the base ST is far from forgotten with revised door trims, new seat fabric and the standard fitment of the following items: dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, a six-CD in-dash player, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, illuminated audio and Bluetooth steering wheel controls, and an auxiliary MP3 player input.

Although the exterior changes are subtle, all Pathfinder models have a revised bonnet, grille and a new bumper assembly. The front bumper is more rounded for a sportier look and adds 80mm to the Pathfinder’s overall length, now at 4813mm, while the rear bumper has squared-off edges to give a “more stable, tougher appearance”.

Indicator lights are also now located in the door mirrors across the range.

Two new metallic paint choices – Sand Storm and Thunder Blue – have joined the colour palette, while Graphite Grey has been removed.

Nissan Australia will be expecting the upgrade to improve Pathfinder’s sales performance, with VFACTS figures released today showing the vehicle is down 68.9 per cent for the first five months of 2010, while the mid-size SUV segment overall is up 37.7 per cent.

The Pathfinder currently sits well behind Toyota’s Prado (up 53.0% YTD) and Kluger (11.8%), with Holden’s Captiva in third place in the sales charts (up 70.8% YTD). Ford’s Territory sits fourth, ahead of the Pajero and Mazda’s resurgent CX-9.

Pathfinder is seventh, just ahead of its Murano soft-roader stablemate, and a fast-approaching Hyundai Santa Fe, which is up 162.1 per cent year to date.

Nissan Pathfinder pricing:
ST Diesel $48,490
ST Diesel (a) $51,490
ST-L Diesel $56,490
ST-L Diesel (a) $59,490
Ti Diesel (a) $65,990

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