1 Dec 1986
Nissan unveiled its American-designed Pathfinder at the end of 1986, to capitalise on the burgeoning success of the medium four-wheel drive market dominated by the Toyota 4Runner, Mitsubishi Pajero and Holden Jackaroo.
Based on the recently released Navara utility, the steel-bodied two-door Pathfinder wagon used a separate ladder chassis (with 200mm ground clearance), dual range 4WD (offering 2WD-to-Lo-4WD-to-Hi-4WD) and a limited slip differential for greater off-road abilities.
Which also explains why it sat on a wheelbase 300mm shorter than its donor.
However the Pathfinder’s powered recirculating ball steering, carpet, cloth trim and full instrumentation reflected its mostly urbanised commuting role.
Power came courtesy of Nissan’s 74kW/177Nm Z24S 2.4-litre OHC six-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
In early ’88 the single model approach was split in two, with the base DX losing carpet for vinyl flooring, while the ST gained split fold rear seats, an adjustable steering column and improved driver’s seat.
The ST went for luxury in early ’90 with the adoption of power windows, central locking and new wheels as part of a model-wide refresh.