By Lou Ann Hammond, Wed, 20 Oct 2004 08:00:00 PDT
New from Nissan, coming down the mudway with Halogen lights in ambient setting is the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder. A V-6 that hollers and screams at the competitors, do that!
There are some competitors that won't be able to match the off-road capabilities that Nissan took us on. There are some journalists that shouldn't have been on the ride, notably the guy that rammed the right quarter into the tree.
Off-roading is not a fast sport. Off-roading is more like foreplay, where you get to know your partner first. There is rarely a time in off-roading where fast is better; slow, methodical. All your attention is paid to that one granite rock that you would normally be wary of walking on, low putting 6,000 lbs on and hoping it holds. Hill Descent Control is welcome on all these off-roaders. It's an incredible tool that limits maximum downhill speed to about 5 miles an hour or 1-2 mph in low range. Hill Start Assist will hold you in place on a hill - without rolling back - for up to two seconds.
The body-on-frame Pathfinder has four-wheel-independent double-wishbone suspension, and performance shocks are available on the off-road model. Brakes are 4-wheel disc, front vented, rear solid. Standard on XE, SE and SE Off-Road are 16" aluminum alloy wheels. The LE offers an upgrade to 17" alloy wheels. Tires range from P245/75 R16 BSW or OWL up to P265/65 R17 respectively. Nissan didn't chintz on the spare either, a full-size spare tire is included.
Nissan is sticking to their SUV stature instead of switching to the ever increasing popular crossover. One can feel the truck-ness of it after going off-roading. It has a definite truck feel. I didn't check if our vehicle had the Rancho performance off-road shocks. We did have the legendary VQ 4.0 litre V-6 engine that gave us 270 lbs. of horsepower with 291 lb. foot of torque.
Nissan upgraded the interior, giving more texture and brushed aluminum accents. The second row seat has a 40/20/40 split and folds flat. It really can fit seven American adults in the vehicle, complete with cupholders for all. Standard equipment includes power windows and door locks, tilt steering wheel, four 12-volt DC outlets (two front, one rear and one in the center console box), 8-way adjustable driver's seat and overhead console with sunglass storage.
More people are realizing that they don't go off-roading, but like the advantages that an SUV offers. For those people, a crossover is perfect. For the five percent that want to take their SUV off-road occasionally, Nissan has made a vehicle just for you.
The new Pathfinder is assembled at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee. Engines are supplied by Nissan's Decherd, Tennessee engine facility.