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Nissan Pathfinder

Broadcast dates : 7th August 2005
13th August 2005

Strong corporate identity is a feature of Nissanís global line-up right now. The company has made an enormous turnaround in the past five years, from a point of possible closure, to being one of the most profitable car manufacturers in the business.

Nissan has always been strong on engineering, but now the cars look good, with a distinct character. The Pathfinder is the kind of clean-cut good-looker youíd like to take home, not only to meet the parents, but your aunts, uncles and grandmother too.

The new Nissan could be described as a cross-over vehicle in what is already a cross-over market. 

It presents itself from the outside a something of a soft-roader, crisp body-colour bumpers, running boards and dressy alloy wheels.

Yet itís fitted with a low range transfer box and employs some extremely effective traction aids for serious off-road use.
You can order the Nissan with a 2,5 litre turbo-diesel engine, but 4-litre petrol power is better suited to the luxury character of the vehicle, which offers seating for no less than seven people.

To a degree, the interior lives up to the exterior styling, with a mix of practicality and luxury well integrated. Somewhat plasticky wood and metal trim features alleviate the somber black of the dash, and the leather trim on the flattish seats somehow contrives to look ordinary in a vehicle costing a rather pricey R424000.

Mechanically, the Pathfinder uses Nissanís All-Mode electronic four-wheel-drive system to transfer torque automatically between front and rear axles. To minimize fuel consumption it operates as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle in on-road conditions.

In slippery conditions, the Auto mode can transfer up to 50 per cent of power to the front wheels automatically. And the big 4-litre V6 has more than enough power and torque for all situations.

Four-wheel-drive high ratio locks the centre diff to give constant fifty-fifty torque split between front and rear. This aids stability and makes the handling neutral on dirt roads.

Ground clearance is a class-leading 234 millimetres, and relatively short overhangs front and rear give good approach and departure angles over undulating terrain.

The 2,5 litre diesel version offers a 128 kiloWatts and 403 Newton metres. The four-litre V6 fitted to the test model is not that far behind on torque. The five-speed automatic offers Tiptronic function, useful for serious off-roading.

Unlike many serious 4X4s, the Pathfinder does not use axle diff locks to prevent wheelspin in challenging conditions. Instead it uses an electronic wheel-braking system called TCS that gently brakes the spinning wheel and transfers torque to the wheels with traction.

The individual wheel braking system takes a little time to transfer torque, but itís a smooth, mechanically-elegant solution.

As accomplished as it is off-road, the Pathfinder retains its composure on tar, where itíll spend most of its time. The fact that it can offer seven-seater accommodation is simply the cherry on the top.

Nissan Pathfinder 4,0 LE
  • Engine: V6 petrol, 3 954 cc
  • Power: 198 kW @ 5 600 rpm
  • Torque: 285 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: 5 speed automatic, low range transfer box, 4 wheel drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 8,47 seconds
  • Top speed: 191 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 14,47 litres/100 km
  • Price: R424 200

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