Pathfinder’s mid-life refresh announced

Updates are coming for the Nissan’s family-sized Pathfinder sports utility – and perhaps price rises, too?


EXTRA performance, an enhanced specification, safety and suspension revisions are coming for the Nissan Pathfinder.

While announcing an April arrival for editions that represent a mid-life facelift for the seven-seater wagon, Nissan New Zealand has held off citing any price changes.

These might be expected however. The current lineup starts at $54,990 and tops above $65,990, but the new models deliver significant specification enhancements, including first time provision of sat nav.

The latter arrives as result of New Zealand now adopting an identical line to Australia, where prices have increased. Until now, the Ti sold in NZ has been a rebadge of our neighbour's mid-level ST-L; the Australian market Ti, meantime, was a higher-specified vehicle and, in pre-facelift form, the only model with onboard mapping. 

Could that have hurt the Nissan's chances here? It would seem safe to assume so. Certainly, surging sports utility popularity does not appear to have given the model much of a break in 2016.

It placed well behind potential rivals the Toyota Highlander (1989 sold), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (747) and Holden Colorado/Trailblazer (307/112) last year.

The 206 registrations for last year cited by data accrued by New Zealand Transport Authority also show it to be the least popular of Nissan’s crossover and SUV portfolio – by comparison the X-Trail and Qashqai respectively took 2059 and 1790 sales.

 he new big threat in the sevenseater category would seem to be the Mazda CX-9, which tops out at $62,990 yet has an extra-rich specification.

Nissan NZ says the model will continue in three model grades, with the option of front-drive.

The update is identified by a freshened look, mainly led by a change of corporate grille and addition of LED daylight running lights, though it also uptakes a new bonnet and bumper. There’s a fresh bumper and taillights on the rear.

Sourcing from the United States continues to negate any diesel opportunity, however the mainstay 3.5-litre V6 petrol has undergone an upgrade to deliver power and torque enhancements that leave it on par with the Highlander.

The outputs of 202kW and 340Nm are 12kW and 15Nm up on the previous counts and results from major internal revisions.

Nissan says 50 percent of the engine’s components are new to Pathfinder. These include new heads with a revised combustion chamber design and electronic variable valve control, new intake manifold and redesigned pistons. It also uptakes a mirror-bore cylinder coating that reduces friction and does away with cast-iron cylinder liners.

As before, the V6 engine is hooked up to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), this time in its latest third-generation guise that includes simulated up-shifts for what Nissan vows is a more natural feel. The tow rating remains at a relatively modest 2700kg.

Fuel economy on the combined driving cycle is said to have been improved by 0.1 litres per 100km on two-wheel-drive V6 variants, to 9.9L/100km, and by 0.2L/100km on four-wheel-drive variants, to 10.1L/100km.

The new top grade Ti model upgrades on active safety gadgets. It sports autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, active cruise, and a moving object detection system that monitors for movement (child, pet) behind the vehicle when reversing. There is also the 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

It comes with a powered tailgate responding to gesture opening; waggling your foot under the bumper will be enough to cause it to open. The Ti spec also includes 20-inch alloys, cooled seats, and a second-row entertainment system with wireless headphones.

The ST grade delivers 18-inch wheels, cruise control, tri-zone air con, a smart key, reversing camera and rear sensors. There’s a new and improved eight-inch touchscreen with extended connectivity too. Also added is a new tether anchor point on the third-row seating.

The updated ST-L model adds Bose audio, sat nav, and a 360-degree camera along with its leather trim and powered, heated front seats and sunroof.

The suspension is now slightly firmer than before and Nissan promises quicker steering response.