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PATHFINDER AND NAVARA 2010: 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
NISSAN NAVARA 2010
At a glance
Europe's best selling pick-up, the Nissan Navara has been given a mid-term boost with a number of significant enhancements designed to keep it 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 availability 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 help keep Navara looking sharp.
The improvements - many of which has also been applied to Pathfinder, Navara's SUV stablemate -reinforce Nissan's premier position in the all-wheel drive market and strengthen both Navara and Pathfinder's status in a hugely competitive segment.
The revised Navara has been given a new look front and rear. Changes at the front include a new bonnet, revised grille and a new bumper assembly. Adding 80 mm to its overall length the bumper is more rounded and lends a more sporting touch to Navara.
There's a new headlamp design and 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 are given a discreet V6 badge at the leading edge of both front 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 - Electric Blue and Blue Grey.
Most of the changes inside the cabin 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 Connect Premium multimedia suite 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.
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 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. It is standard on LE versions and optional of SE variants.
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.
Also new for Navara is the availability of a rear-view camera, offering improved visibility when parking especially when the bed is loaded or a hard top fitted.
The changes version by version
Navara SE (in addition to XE)
Navara LE and LEV6 (in addition to SE)
The Navara story
With its class-leading load bed dimensions, high levels of power and torque and a lavish specification, Nissan's Navara brings SUV levels of comfort, refinement and performance to the market while still offering ‘go anywhere, do anything' qualities.
Navara was designed in tandem with the Pathfinder SUV, and they both built at Nissan's NMISA plant in Barcelona. The two vehicles share much of their mechanical layout and technical features meaning Navara enjoys SUV-like comfort and sophistication appealing to the leisure market. Beneath the chrome, however, Navara is still very much a workhorse, with an enviable combination of a tried and tested four-wheel drive system and a versatile load area.
King Cab and Double Cab
Navara is available in two styles: the King Cab with rear ‘half' doors that hinge backwards, and the longer Double Cab with four conventional doors. Both have the same 3200 mm wheelbase and overall length (5269 mm) meaning King Cab has the larger load bed.
The King Cab features two occasional forward facing seats in the back of the cabin suitable for children or, over short journeys, for adults. The area can also double as a home for dogs thanks to seat squabs that can be folded up against the rear bulkhead. Access is easier than in most of its competitors thanks to its pillarless four-door configuration.
The Double Cab version has a three-seater rear bench in an enlarged cabin, providing ample room for five. It too has a full roster of interior storage spaces and its rear seats also flip up - on a 60/40 split - to create extra storage space behind the front seats.
But the serious load story concerns the pick-up bed, which provides best-in-class load space in its market segment: the Double Cab measures 2.36m2, the King Cab 2.9m2 in area. This is thanks, in part, to a design which reduces the intrusion of rear wheel housings to a minimum.
The result is impressive: thanks to having the largest practical bed width in its class, King Cab can hold a typical quad bike, which means mountain bikes and off-road motor cycles can be carried with ease while longer loads can be accommodated when the tailgate is opened. With its larger passenger compartment, the Double Cab has a shorter bed, but still provides best in class load capacity. Sharing a minimum width dimension between the wheel housings of 1130 mm with the King Cab, it has an internal bed length of 1511 mm compared to the King Cab's 1861 mm.
Tethering loads on the move has also been made easier in the Navara thanks to a feature unique in this segment, C-Channel. This factory-fitted system incorporates five rails (one channel on either side of the load floor, plus one on each of the three fixed sides of the pick-up bed) into which self-locking cleats can be placed, providing fixed points for securing ropes and a full range of bespoke accessories designed to work with C-Channel.
Cabin storage space has been thoughtfully conceived. The cabin has two glove boxes ahead of the front passenger offering a total of 6.4-litres of space, a 6.0-litre storage box within the centre console and a small storage area on top of the dashboard. Coin, cup and card holders can also be found in the centre console, while there's a sunglasses holder in a practical overhead console in the roof. There are also deep door pockets while detachable storage boxes can be found under the rear seats.
Like Pathfinder, the Navara features a rugged ladder-frame chassis and a refined independent front suspension system featuring double wishbones and coil springs. Unlike Pathfinder, however, this is teamed with a rigid axle and over slung leaf springs at the rear, designed to provide the best possible payload levels while providing SUV-like ride and handling and comfort. Navara has a generous payload of 900 kg and a 3000 kg towing capacity.
Proven four-wheel drive
The Navara uses Nissan's proven part-time four-wheel drive system which provides drive to the rear wheels under normal conditions or a 50/50 torque split to all four wheels when 4WD mode is engaged.
There are also high and low ratio modes, the crawl ratio being best in class and providing outstanding levels of traction over slippery surfaces, especially on tricky hill descents. All three modes are selected electrically via an easy to use rotary dial on the dashboard, selection being confirmed by a dashboard mode indicator. A limited slip differential completes the package.
In 2WD, drive is delivered to the rear wheels, but once four-wheel drive (4H) is electrically engaged, torque is split on a 50/50 basis between the front and rear axles to cope with slippery conditions.
Navara, unlike some ‘soft roader' 4x4s, features a low ratio transfer 'box and for serious off-road forays then it's time to select 4L; Navara's crawl ratio (2.625) is one of the best in class, allowing the driver to deploy maximum engine output while travelling at a very low speed, which greatly increases wheel traction and the likelihood of getting through extreme conditions. Navara thus provides outstanding levels of traction over slippery surfaces, especially on tricky hill descents and ascents where the driver can retain full control of the vehicle.
Navara's off-road ability is further enhanced by its generous minimum ground clearance figure of 234mm, and approach and departure angles of 29 deg and 22 deg respectively.
It can also wade through water at a depth of up to 450mm, and the maximum climbable gradient is an impressive 39 degrees. Steering is a power-assisted rack and pinion system while the braking system has ventilated discs at the front and efficient drums behind. ABS with EBD and Brake Assist is a standard feature.
NISSAN PATHFINDER 2010
At a glance
Like the new Navara, Nissan's super tough Pathfinder SUV has been given a new look, new engines and new equipment to keep it at the top of the class. Principle changes include new front and rear styling, significant changes to the popular 2.5-litre dCi engine and the arrival of a new 3.0-litre V6 diesel at the top of the range.
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 extreme winter weather that has blighted most of Europe these past couple of years," said Vincent Wijnen, Nissan's European Vice President for Marketing.
"Now Pathfinder drivers can brave the elements in more comfort and with even greater ability thanks to the substantial changes we have introduced," said Vincent.
Like Navara, Pathfinder has been given a new look front and rear with a new bonnet, revised grille and a new more rounded bumper assembly (front) and a new bumper design at the rear with squared off edges to give a larger and lower mass for a more stable, tougher appearance.
As well as new alloy wheels, there's a new headlamp design with distinctive projector styling where Xenon lamps are fitted. Headlamps washers now pop-up from beneath body colour mouldings in the bumpers. In addition to a discreet V6 badge at the leading edge of both front doors, the V6 Pathfinder gains a new side moulding across the doors while the existing colour palette is increased by a new metallic shade, Blue Grey.
Most of the interior changes have been designed to boost quality and include new switchgear, new seat fabric, the addition of chrome highlights and revised dials. Armrests and door pads have been reshaped to make them more comfortable in use.
Materials used have also been enhanced with leather trim now available on the top LE grade while practical touches mean the door pockets are larger and, therefore, more practical.
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 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. Options include Nissan's Connect Premium combined, communication and music system. 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.
Entertainment aspects embrace a 9.3GB Music Box, large enough to hold music from up to 300 CDs, as well as 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. A Bose Premium Sound system with special speakers and amplification designed especially for Pathfinder is an option.
The changes version by version
Pathfinder SE (in addition to XE)
Pathfinder LE and LEV6 (in addition to SE)
The Pathfinder story
Pathfinder is more than an SUV: with seven seats in most versions and a flexible and versatile interior, it is a genuinely practical family vehicle, too.
The cabin is an object lesson in creative design, with no possible storage opportunity overlooked. The flexible interior provides an extraordinary 64 different seat/cargo configurations and the seats fold easily and simply. It takes just two actions, for example, to fold the third row of seats to increase luggage space, an operation that needs up to 10 actions in some rivals.
The versatility of the interior starts with the seats. The second row of seats folds on a 40/20/40 basis while the third row has a 50/50 split. With all the seats in place, the luggage area behind the third row is the longest in its class.
With all the seats folded, Pathfinder has a totally flat floor while to add even more practicality, the front passenger seat can also be folded flat to provide a class leading 2.8m of cargo length: perfect for loading those awkwardly long cartons of flat-packed furniture.
Folding the third row of seats is possible from outside the vehicle when the tailgate is open; each seat back has a simple release handle which when pulled allows it to be folded forwards onto the seat squab.
The second row is equally easy to fold - either from outside the vehicle or from the third row - and collapsing the seat back of either outer seat onto its squab and then tumbling the entire assembly forward allows walk in entry to the rear. Access is made even easier by rear doors which open to 73 degrees.
Practical storage features include no fewer than 12 cargo hooks in the rear compartment - six on the floor, four on the sides and two in the roof - to allow loads to be securely fastened for journeys. A hard tonneau cover fits over the luggage space hiding its contents from prying eyes.
Pathfinder has a potential luggage area of 190 litres with all seven seats in place, rising to 515 litres with the third row folded and to 2091 litres with rows two and three lowered (all VDA). Ample interior oddment space is augmented by under floor storage and a practical overhead console. Up to 6 cupholders are available throughout the Pathfinder, some capable of holding 64-oz cups.
And should more luggage space be needed, all Pathfinder models have integral roof rails to which a number of different accessories can be fitted enabling roof boxes, bicycles, snowboards or skis to be carried in safety. Reaching the roof rack is eased by Pathfinder's lower than SUV average height.
The clever design of the body provides class leading shoulder and elbow room, while head, knee and leg room in the front two rows of seats is competitive. Thanks to the squared roof line, head room in the third row is among the best and while the seats will usually be occupied by children, adults can be accommodated in the back for short journeys in comparative comfort.
Following 4x4 tradition, Pathfinder employs body-on-frame construction with a sturdy, fully boxed all-steel ladder frame. To this, however, is attached fully independent suspension front and rear to provide the on-road handling, stability and ride comfort expected from a car. The result is dynamic on-road performance capable of matching the best in class and sure-footed ability off-road.
Pathfinder features compact double wishbone suspension with coil-over shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar at the front and a similar double wishbone and anti-roll bar arrangement at the rear. To ensure the load area remains uncompromised by suspension intrusions, however, the shock absorbers and coil springs at the rear are mounted separately. Rack and pinion steering provides good feedback and linear response.
With ventilated discs front and rear, the latest generation anti-lock system plus brake assist and electronic brake force distribution (EBD), Pathfinder's brakes deliver short stopping distances in an emergency and have excellent resistance to fade: the system is highly competitive with the brakes found on premium brand SUVs. Pedal feel is on a par with the best car systems.
Strong off-road performance is helped by the latest version of Nissan's highly sophisticated, electronically controlled ALL MODE 4x4 control system which allows secure and relaxed driving under all conditions, both on- and off-road, with advanced electronics taking care of all traction needs. The low ratio crawler gear makes it ideal for serious off-road work.
ALL MODE 4x4 ensures Pathfinder has grip at all times on- or off-road and no matter how severe the conditions. But unlike some other automatic four-wheel drive systems, ALL MODE uses advanced electronics to ensure drive is transferred between wheels and axles the instant a problem arises. Via its electronic throttle control, the system is able to anticipate low traction situations, and engage four-wheel drive before traction is lost.
Only by using electronic sensors can this happen instantaneously: other systems might sound similar on paper, but usually operate via a dual pump system, whereby the slipping of one pair of wheels pumps up the system to bring in the other pair. Because a wheel has to slip for anything to happen, there's a delay of several wheel rotations before traction is restored by which time the car could well be stuck. ALL MODE anticipates loss of traction meaning that it only takes a few degrees of a single wheel rotation for torque to be reapportioned.
Active and passive safety
As the system is electronic, ALL MODE 4x4 is fully integrated with Pathfinder's array of electronic traction aids, collected together under the ESP+ banner. Standard across the range, ESP+ offers more than traditional stability systems and is ideally suited to a dual role vehicle such as Pathfinder.
Drivetrain: Navara and Pathfinder
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 2.5 dCi versions of both Navara and Pathfinder are available with a six-speed manual transmission or the option of a five-speed automatic.
"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.