Drive Nissan Pathfinder Review

16 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Drive Nissan Pathfinder Review отключены
Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars

Bill McKinnon

Make NISSAN Model PATHFINDER Price Recommended retail ST $44,990; ST-L $47,990. Model Variant ST 4×4,ST L 4×4 Series R51,R51 Series Year 2005 Body Group 4D WAGON Country Of Origin Spain. Power 128kW at 4000rpm (above average).

Warranty Three years/100,000km (average).

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Cars and car companies are subject to the same Darwinian principles as other organisms. If the environment in which they exist changes, they must adapt to it. If they can’t, they ….

Large, petrol-powered four-wheel-drives, for example, will struggle in an era of high fuel prices. Small cars will thrive.

It will be goodbye dinosaurs and hello mammals all over again.

While rabid 4WD haters will rejoice at such a prospect, the breed itself will survive as technology, like genetics, gives it the ability to mutate to suit the new world order.

Nissan’s latest Pathfinder is a case in point. It’s a larger, heavier wagon than its 10-year-old predecessor — weighing in at 2.2 tonnes. It’s still built on a light-truck chassis and is touted by Nissan as a true off-roader.

With a 198kW, 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine, matched with a five-speed automatic gearbox, keeping this baby in juice is going to be a frequent and expensive exercise.

All of which bodes ill for the Pathfinder’s prospects of going forth and multiplying.

However, Nissan also has a new 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel, with up-to-the-minute common rail direct-injection technology, including a variable vane turbocharger. It produces 128kW of power and 403Nm of torque (at 2000rpm) — 18Nm more than the 4.0-litre V6.

Hooked up to the five-speed auto, it uses only 8-9 litres/100km on the highway and 10.5-11.5 litres/100km around town, a remarkably efficient return given the Pathfinder’s size and weight.

Prices are sharp. The ST 2.5-litre turbo diesel/six-speed manual is $44,990. The 4.0-litre V6 starts at $47,990. The ST-L is $48,990/$51,990. The 4.0-litre V6 Ti is $58,990.

The 2005 Pathfinder has independent suspension — double wishbone front, multilink rear — rack and pinion steering, anti-lock brakes and electronically controlled all-wheel-drive, operated by a switch on the dash.

Its drivetrain incorporates 2WD (to the rear wheels), Auto (which can send 50 per cent of the drive, via a multiplate clutch, to the front wheels if the rears start to slip) plus 4WD high- and low-range, both employed on loose surfaces only.

Stability control is provided on ST-L and Ti variants. It includes a limited-slip differential function on both axles.

The Pathfinder is now a seven-seater. Its two rear seats fold flat into the load floor.

Two front airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking, cruise control and 16-inch alloy wheels are also included on the ST.

The ST-L adds 17-inch alloys, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, roof rails, side steps, leather wrapped steering wheel/gear lever and a six-CD player in the dash.

The Pathfinder’s safety story is soured by the provision of side and curtain airbags on the top-of-the-line Ti only; it also gets a sunroof, back-seat DVD/MP3 player and air-conditioning, leather upholstery, power front seats, rear parking sensors and fake wood trim.

The 2.5-litre drives the ST-L auto (as tested) to 100kmh in 13.3 seconds — average for a contemporary turbo diesel engine in a two tonnes-plus truck and impressive given the Nissan engine’s relatively small capacity.

Put it this way. The Pathfinder is about five seconds quicker to 100kmh than the 3.0-litre turbo diesel Nissan Patrol.

The 2.5 is also smooth, with deceptively strong pulling power from 1500rpm and long, loping highway legs.

It’s not the quietest diesel in the world, though. Under acceleration, there’s pronounced induction noise — a not unpleasant sound but intrusive all the same.

Nissan rates the Pathfinder (petrol or diesel) to tow up to three tonnes.

Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars

The automatic shifts smoothly, whatever mode is employed. Left in Auto, on a corrugated gravel road, the Pathfinder didn’t put a foot wrong. The transfer of drive was seamless, while stability control intervened only when necessary.

In more extreme country, the Pathfinder also excels, though its low-range is not quite low enough to permit foot-off-the-brakes first-gear descents on steep, slippery slopes.

On bitumen, the Pathfinder is less at home. On smooth surfaces it feels great but, then again, so do most cars. Its independent suspension is tuned on the firm side and the Pathfinder feels nervous on bumpy bends, particularly at the rear.

The steering is slightly more direct and tactile than usual, while the brakes are excellent in power, progression and pedal feel.

The dash layout takes 30 seconds to learn. Oodles of storage is close at hand, including a large split-centre console bin, two sunnies holders, two gloveboxes and door bins that hold a one-litre water bottle.

Tall drivers will use all the front-seat travel as the headroom is not as generous as similarly priced rivals. The seats, while clever in their layout and flexibility, lack support and the lower cushions are too short. Not ideal for long hauls.

The middle seat has plenty of headroom and legroom but is too low to the floor, so adults almost squat, in a cramped, knees-up position. Three child restraint anchors are on the rear of the seat, which is split 40/20/40; two storage bins are in the floor underneath.

Access to the two individual back seats is via the tumble-forward outside sections of row two. The seats are suitable only for sub-teenage kids, or very supple, short yoga practitioners.

In five-seat configuration, there’s vast space in the back, accessed via the tailgate window or the roof mounted tailgate itself. The plastic floor is easy to keep clean but allows objects to slide and bang around. There are no shopping bag hooks.

Eight securing lugs, three small netted recesses and a 12-volt outlet (there are also two of these in the dash) are provided.

The extended load area is up to 2.15 metres long but clumsy and impractical in design. With the middle row seatbacks folded forward, the floor is not flat and the fold down panels on the seat backs, which are meant to cover the gaps in the floor, don’t fit inside the wheel arches. Double fold the middle row and you have a stepped floor, while sacrificing a lot of front seat travel.

A full-sized spare, on an alloy wheel, is mounted externally under the load area.

Nissan’s new 2.5-litre turbo diesel Pathfinder shows that big, heavy 4WDs can deliver strong, refined performance with a frugal thirst. However, space efficiency, comfort and dynamics are wanting.

The 4.0-litre V6 faces the same problem as other large-capacity petrol engine 4WDs that consume their own body mass in unleaded each week. They look like good value, until you have to fill the tank. Their days as a dominant suburban automotive lifeform are numbered.

Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars
Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars
Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars
Nissan Pathfinder Electric Cars

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