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Pathfinder looking to conquer

28.03.2013

NISSAN is trying to drive its Pathfinder down a new road with the introduction of a new affordable entry level model.

This medium SUV has been a stalwart of the brand for some time and while its sales figures may be dwindling in recent years due to some staunch competition from the popular Toyota Fortuner and newly launched Chevrolet Trailblazer, Nissan is hoping to breathe some new life into the Pathfinder with the launch of the SE spec.

This derivative is available with either a manual or automatic gearbox and is fitted with a 2.5-litre common-rail turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, capable of producing 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

In terms of fuel economy, Nissan claims a fuel-consumption figure of 8.5 litres/100km for the manual and 9.0 litres/100km for the automatic. The carbon emissions are also kept as low as possible, at 224 g/km (238 g/km for the automatic).

There’s no denying the Pathfinder’s commanding road presence and it is more than capable on the gravel thanks to its ALL-MODE 4x4, which provides intelligent four-wheel-drive, a drive-mode selector switch and active brake limited slip (ABLS).

During the launch we became rather familiar with the SE spec after doing well over 500km behind the wheel, which included some complex dirt driving. And while the Pathfinder is difficult to fault, particularly regarding its ride quality and spacious interior, the lack of low-down grunt is a concern when driving the manual, particularly when creeping over rocky slopes and trying to get off the mark quickly.

Beyond this, the Pathfinder has finally been priced in line with its competitors as it tries to take the fight to them. However, in order to price it at this level, the SE derivative has lost the extra row of seats and the fog lights, to name a few. To be honest, it hasn’t lost anything you’ll really miss though.

The exterior design is still potent and aggressive thanks to its sharp lines. However, you do feel like it’s starting  to show its age when compared to its rivals. The interior is also well finished but again it seems like it’s trying to hang onto the days when it was still king. And this has left it looking dated.

The aggressive price tag for this new model is sure to make it a popular option for those in the market for an SUV. The Pathfinder SE manual retails for R450 900, while the automatic will cost R470 900. Prices include a 3-year/90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000 km warranty.

Article written by Stuart Moir
28.03.2013
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