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TOUGHER THAN THE REST
Whether at work or at play, Nissan's Navara and Pathfinder offer supreme off-road all-wheel ability and on-road performance mixed with genuine practicality. Now with new looks, new and revised engines and a host of quality improvements, they are an even better proposition.
"Nissan is an acknowledged leader in the four-wheel drive market and that's in no small part to the success of the Navara and Pathfinder. Now a series of important changes have been made to ensure both models stay at the top of their game - and help to maintain Nissan's pre-eminent position in the European SUV sector."
Simon Thomas, Nissan's European Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing.
At a glance
....more performance, improved emissions and economy
Europe's best selling pick-up and its SUV sibling - the Nissan Navara and Pathfinder - have been given a mid-term boost with a number of significant enhancements designed to keep them at the top.
Among the changes are the arrival of a new and technically advanced 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine; important improvements to the popular 2.5-litre dCi diesel; greater levels of active and passive safety - including the fitment of Electronic Stability Programme (ESP); new equipment including the availability of a state-of-the-art touch-screen satellite navigation system, a premium Bose sound system - a unique feature on pick ups in Europe - and a rear view camera; enhanced interior quality and a number of styling changes to keep Navara and Pathfinder looking sharp.
Together the improvements reinforce Nissan's premier position in the all-wheel drive market and strengthen both Navara and Pathfinder's status in a hugely competitive segment.
"Navara has been Europe's favourite pick-up since its launch in 2005, while Pathfinder has won acclaim from owners for its unique combination of toughness, practicality and all-wheel drive reassurance. Although the market for SUVs has changed dramatically over the past few years, there are still a significant number of customers who have a need for these attributes. This has been reinforced by the recent extreme winter weather found all over Europe," said Vincent Wijnen, Nissan's European Vice President for Marketing.
"Now Navara and Pathfinder drivers can brave the elements in more comfort and with even greater ability thanks to the substantial changes we have introduced," said Vincent.
Launched at the Geneva Motor Show, the improved new-look Navara and Pathfinder models are due on sale across Europe in April 2010. They will be followed two months later by the new 3.0-litre V6 diesel flagship models.
Both Navara and Pathfinder have built enviable reputations for their tough, no-nonsense ability. With a generous 900 kg payload and a 3000 kg towing capacity, Navara has become the pick up of choice across Europe. Available in both Double Cab and King Cab forms, Navara not only looks good but delivers on a practical level, best in class ground clearance, switchable four-wheel drive and a long list of standard equipment.
Pathfinder is a genuine SUV, with Nissan's ALL-MODE 4x4 system incorporating a low ratio mode. Fully independent suspension gives excellent on-ride comfort and handling without compromising off-road ability, which is enhanced by best in class ground clearance.
Pathfinder also works on a practical level with seven seats available and the longest load length in its class for superior cargo capacity. Now with a new look, new and revised engines, better quality interiors and more standard equipment, the best just got better.
The changes in detail
New V6 engine
The new direct injection V6 turbodiesel has been developed by the Renault Nissan Alliance to deliver high levels of performance with class-leading refinement.
Designated V9X, development work started on the engine some four years ago, with a 3.0-litre V6 configuration chosen as the best way to achieve the desired levels of performance and refinement.
An unusual 65 degree vee angle offered an excellent compromise between crankshaft balancing, crankshaft and cylinder block reliability and engine packaging, allowing the single turbocharger to be neatly mounted within the vee.
But perhaps the key element of the new V6 is the material chosen for the engine block. While rivals tend towards aluminium-alloy cylinder blocks to reduce the weight of their diesel engines, Alliance development engineers felt that to achieve the desired levels of refinement an alloy block would need extra material added to increase its stiffness and reduce noise levels. Some rivals engines even add complexity in the form of balancer shafts to boost refinement, but all these additions negate the weight advantages of an alloy block.
Conventional cast iron would answer the refinement needs but would place too much weight over the front wheels and adversely affect the car's handling characteristics. In its place, they chose Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI), a material that offers all the benefits of cast iron, including high levels of stiffness and noise absorption, without the weight penalty. And while CGI is heavier than a pure alloy block there is no need to add stiffening ribs or extra sound deadening material so the weight gain is comparatively modest.
Using experience gained during the development of the acclaimed Alliance 2.0-litre dCi engine - and carrying over some technology - accelerated development of the new V6, but number of significant changes have been made to the hardware for the V9X. The combustion chamber design, for example, has been optimised to improve the balance between emission levels and fuel efficiency.
The compression ratio has been lowered to 16:1 to benefit not just economy and emissions but also noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), while internal engine friction is reduced by the use of ultra smooth components such as the micro-finished forged steel used for the crankshaft.
Class leading levels of torque and highly competitive specific power outputs are delivered thanks to the adoption of a comparatively large single turbocharger, which is mounted within the vee of the engine, an intercooler, and the use of the latest generation of Bosch common-rail fuel injection. This system incorporates piezo injectors and operates at 1800 bar.
Power output is 170 kW (231PS) while the torque output of 550 Nm leads the class. Better still, peak torque is achieved from as low as 1,700 rpm and is available all the way to 2,500 rpm, while as much as 500 Nm is available from a mere 1,500 rpm. Idle speed is an exceptionally low 650 rpm with none of the vibrations and noise usually associated with a diesel.
The result is strong low-end performance with comfortably refined delivery and exemplary throttle response. In addition, the engine helps provide strong towing performance, the Pathfinder capable of towing a 3500 kg braked trailer with Navara having a 3000 kg limit.
Emissions and fuel efficiency targets included achieving Euro 5 compliance. In addition to the gains made by the changes to the combustion chamber, the V9X engine also incorporates a number of innovative features designed both to enhance emissions performance and improve reliability.
Among these is the adoption of an overcooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system which reduces NOx emissions. The system incorporates an integrated exhaust gas by pass in the EGR cooler which quickly helps to achieve the optimum temperature after start up so that the full cooling capacity can be used. This features a low temperature water circuit for the EGR cooler to reduce still further the temperature of the exhaust gas and lower carbon monoxide and hydro carbon emissions.
Equally significant is the treatment of the tailpipe emissions. The system comprises a metallic oxidation catalytic converter offering lower pressure loss compared to a ceramic system and an exothermic catalyst and a catalytic diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the same container. The latter arrangement works in conjunction with a seventh fuel injector which is positioned in the exhaust.
This is activated while the particulate filter is being regenerated - a process of which the driver is completely unaware - but significantly means the opportunity for unburnt fuel to pollute the engine oil is removed. It also allows the filter to be regenerated in low-load conditions, such as idling, and therefore achieves a high efficiency level under all driving conditions. It also helps stretch oil change intervals to as much as 20,000 kms for most customers.
The new engine will be available with Nissan's advanced seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.
"This exceptional engine - and in particular its wall of torque - sets new standards for the class, producing an iconic flagship model with unbeatable performance and refinement," said Pierre Loing, Nissan's Vice President for Product Planning in Europe.
Improved 2.5 four-cylinder dCi
The existing 2.5 dCi four cylinder common rail engine hasn't been forgotten, however, and significant improvements will cement its position as the most popular engine in the range with improvements to performance, economy, emissions and overall refinement, too.
The changes include a new direct injection system which operates at 2000 bar, up from 1800 bar. This increase in pressure means the fuel spray is atomised to even finer degree resulting in more complete combustion. A new cylinder head with parallel ports increases the swirl efficiency of the combustion process, smoothing the intake and exhaust flow, while a new variable nozzle turbo (VNT) with electric control rather than the previous hydraulic system for quicker responses, has also been adopted.
These improvements not only raise power, but also lower fuel consumption and emissions. The latter are also reduced thanks to the fitment of a by-pass valve in the Exhaust Gas Recycling cooling system. The by-pass valve allows the EGR system to warm up more quickly from a cold start, cutting emissions of hydrocarbons and soot still further.
The overall result is a useful 11 per cent rise in both power and torque to keep the engine at the top of the class. Power rises by 19 PS to 190 PS (140 kW) while torque increases by a healthy 47 Nm to 450 Nm.
Over the combined cycle manual versions use 8.5 l/100kms - an improvement of 1.3 l/100kms - while CO2 emissions have fallen by 40g/km to 224 g/km. Both figures are class competitive. A version of the engine with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) is also available in certain markets.
Refinement is enhanced by the use of flexible tubing at the turbocharger outlet. A small bellows-type joint helps to absorb excess vibration, promoting smoother engine performance whether idling or under acceleration .
The revised models have been given a new look front and rear to differentiate them from their predecessors. Changes at the front include a new bonnet, revised grille and a new bumper assembly. Adding 80mm to the length of both models, the bumper is more rounded and lends a more sporting touch to the cars.
There's a new headlamp design with distinctive projector styling where Xenon lamps are fitted (Pathfinder only). Headlamps washers now pop-up from beneath body colour moulding in the bumpers. There's a new design of 18 inch alloy wheel to complement the existing range of 16 inch (steel and alloy) and 17 inch (alloy) designs. V6 models, meanwhile, are given a discreet V6 badge at the leading edge of both front doors while V6 Pathfinders also gain a new side moulding across the doors.
Changes at the rear include a new bumper design with squared off edges to give a larger and lower mass for a more stable, tougher appearance. As well as visual improvements, the changes to the design also contribute to a reduction in the coefficient of drag (Cd) from 0.38 to 0.37.
The existing colour palette is increased by two new metallic shades for Navara - Electric Blue and Blue Grey - while Blue Grey is added to Pathfinder's portfolio.
Most of the changes inside the cabin of both Navara and Pathfinder have been designed to boost quality and include new switchgear, revised door trims, new seat fabric, the addition of chrome highlights, revised dials and, depending on the model, the availability of Nissan's latest Nissan Connect Premium with a new high resolution touch screen.
Typical of the attention to detail that has helped enhance quality are the door trims which have been changed to improve both the look and feel of the interior and practicality. The armrests and door pads are more tactile to the touch thanks to increased thickness and density of the foam used, but their shape has also been altered to make them more comfortable in use.
As well as improving fit and finish, the material used has also been enhanced with leather trim now available on the top LE grade. Practical touches mean the door pockets can now happily hold an A3 map book as well as a one-litre bottle. The rear door storage pockets are now large enough to hold a standard Nissan First Aid kit.
Switchgear changes include a new, easier to use, all-wheel drive command control switch while the steering wheel controls for the phone and audio are now illuminated. Chrome finishers have been added to the automatic transmission surround and, depending on the model grade, to the instrument binnacle. There's a new storage box on the centre console with a damped lid while SE and LE versions also benefits from ‘Fine Vision' instruments with a crisper appearance. LE versions of Pathfinder now have the option of black or light biscuit leather trim.
Equipment improvements include a new Speed Limiter, which is incorporated into the existing cruise control system. Especially useful in urban environments and roads with average speed cameras, the desired maximum speed can be set by the driver ensuring limits cannot be broken. If a sudden burst of speed is needed - to avoid an accident for example - the limit can be overridden by a sharp push on the throttle.
Active safety is improved with the availability of Nissan's Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) on Navara (already available on Pathfinder) which uses sensors to monitor the engine's ECU, wheel speed, steering angle, plus longitudinal and lateral G and yaw rates to anticipate and control wheel slippage.
Nissan's Connect Premium combined, communication and music system is an optional extra. Simple and quick in use, the 40GB hard drive-based system has a high resolution touch screen with a 3D Birdview display while the easy to update map coverage now extended to Russia, Turkey and Eastern Europe. A new intuitive multi-function controller is fitted and the system also incorporates RDS-TMS live traffic updates and rich content from Michelin.
The entertainment side of the system incorporates a 9.3GB Music Box, large enough to hold music from up to 300 CDs, and also has iPod, USB and Aux-in connections for MP3 players. Bluetooth audio streaming is also possible. The single CD player also reads DVDs, which can be watched on the central screen when the handbrake is applied.
There are eight languages available for the menus and navigation system while the voice recognition software can handle seven: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch. Optionally available is a Bose Premium Sound system with special speakers and amplification designed especially for Navara and Pathfinder.
The new piece of equipment is a rear view camera. Already available on Pathfinder, it can now be specified on Navara, offering improved visibility when parking especially when the bed is loaded or a hard top fitted.
The changes model by model
Navara SE (in addition to XE)
Navara LE and LEV6 (in addition to SE)
Pathfinder SE (in addition to XE)
Pathfinder LE and LEV6 (in addition to SE)
"With more power, better fuel economy, lower emissions, more equipment, better quality and a refreshed visual appeal, the new Navara and Pathfinder are set to continue where they left off, as Europe's favourite pick-up and toughest SUV," said Vincent Wijnen.