Nissan doesn’t expect the absence of a diesel variant to greatly affect sales of the new Pathfinder.
“Not at all,” says Nissan NZ managing director John Manley. “The new model is vastly different from the old one.
“Sure, some traditional Pathfinder buyers might say the new one is not for them, but that will be a very small number.
“The old one was more of a truck – the new one is more car-like and will have far greater appeal.
“Just look at the price difference. The old one was $76,000; the new one starts at $55,000.”
The new Pathfinder uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, a reworked version of Nissan’s long-time VQ unit. The old Pathfinder was available only with a four-cylinder diesel.
The new Pathfinder is built in the United States, at Nissan’s Smyrna plant in Tennessee. The old one was built in Spain alongside the Navara.
The old one shared its body-on-frame construction with the Navara ute. The new one moves to a car-like monocoque build, sharing its platform and MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension set-up with the 2013 Infiniti JX crossover. Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury nameplate.
The structural change means the new model has considerably more space in the second and third rows than its predecessor.
It also means the new Pathfinder will lose some of the off-road ruggedness that ladder-chassis vehicles offer, benefits such as longer wheel travel.
But that’s not what the new one is about. It is a family style crossover with seven seats, 10 cup holders, six bottle holders, four power casino online outlets … while retaining serious off-road credentials and a 2700kg braked towing capacity.
It is longer and wider than the old Pathfinder but not as tall. Three variants are available: the entry-level front-wheel-drive ST at $54,990, mid-range ST at $59,990 and the flagship Pathfinder Ti at $65,990. The mid-range ST and Ti have four-wheel drive.
The 3.5-litre V6 produces 193kW and 325Nm of torque and is mated to a seven-step CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission). Nissan claims town-and-around fuel use of 9.9 litres/100km for the front-drive ST model and 10.2 litres/100km for the all-paw ST and Ti.
All three models sit on 18-inch alloy wheels with a tyre pressure monitoring system. All three come with a maximum five-star crash safety rating, a three-years/100,000kmwarranty and AA Nissan roadside assistance.
There are eight colours – Force Red, Galaxy Blue, Alpine White, Desert Dune, Slate Grey, River Stone, Sheer Silver and Onyx Black.