dates : 7th August 2005
13th August 2005
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.
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
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
The individual wheel braking system takes a little
time to transfer torque, but itís a smooth,
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
5 speed automatic, low range transfer box, 4 wheel
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
consumption: 14,47 litres/100 km
- Price: R424
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