1 Jul 2005
It was all-change again for Nissan’s third-generation Pathfinder, boasting diesel and petrol engines, room for seven occupants and truly rugged off-road capability.
Five variants were offered from launch – in ST turbo-diesel, auto-only V6 ST, better-equipped ST-L diesel and ST-L V6 petrol, and range-topper Ti V6.
A five-speed sequential automatic is standard on the V6s.
With an overall length of 4740mm, the Spanish-built R51 series Pathfinder is 100mm longer and slightly wider and higher than the outgoing model. The wheelbase, at 2850mm, is 150mm greater than the old vehicle.
Overall ground clearance is up 11mm to 211mm. Approach and departure angles are 33 and 26 degrees respectively.
As befits the bigger, bolder and stronger vehicle, Nissan fitted a more powerful engine than before: a 4.0-litre V6 developing 198kW at 5600rpm and 385Nm at 4000rpm.
The other unit is a 2.5-litre common-rail intercooled turbo-diesel that pumps out 128kW at 4000rpm and a stump-pulling 403Nm of torque at 2000rpm. It is available with a six-speed manual or the five-speed automatic.
All models include 16-inch alloys, ABS brakes, dual airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric mirrors and windows, cruise control and in-dash CD stereo. Both petrol and diesel models have 80-litre fuel tanks.
The tailgate glass opens separately to the rear door and its design borrows the framed six-sided look of the show car.
Unlike some of its rivals, the stiffer and safer Pathfinder favours a full body-on-frame all-steel ladder chassis instead of a monocoque structure.
Nissan claims the body-on-frame structure is stronger for true off-road work.
The structure has also been reinforced at critical points, mainly in the sills, roof side rails and A- and B-pillars.
For off-road work the Nissan uses the latest-generation electronically controlled All-Mode 4WD system with low-range reduction. It is similar to that used in the X-Trail.
A driver can flick through four drive modes - auto, 2WD, 4WD high and 4WD low - via a rotary dial on the dashboard. All modes can be accessed on the move, except low-range.
For everyday use, the system can be left in either auto or 2WD modes.
When locked in 2WD or when the roads are dry and the system is in auto mode, the wagon runs in rear-wheel drive, which helps reduce fuelIn auto mode the system use sensors linking the engine's electronic control unit with the 4WD and ABS controller to monitor wheel slippage and automatically send signals to a hydraulically activated multi-plate clutch mounted ahead of the rear axle to direct torque to the wheels.
For everyday driving the system distributes torque 0:100 front to rear but drive can be split up to 50:50.
Suspension comprises double wishbones up front and a multi-link independent arrangement at the rear. Anti-rollbars are fitted at each end.
All models have front and rear ventilated disc brakes, with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist working with the standard ABS.