Nissan's new Pathfinder Hybrid is not a replacement for the previous diesel model. That was a bit of a stump jumping, rock hopping, mudplugger. An old-school fourbie.
The new Pathy Hybrid is more your sophisticated luxury SUV family cruiser complete with a passenger-car style chassis and features. Oh, and Nissan would like to think an environmental conscience.
It can possibly go a tad off road (gravel/snow) but the thing is this big bus won't dent your finances too much when you have to fuel it up.
Big, naturally aspirated V6 petrol SUVs are notoriously thirsty, some with appalling drinking habits. Think 15+litres/100km and you aren't far from the mark for some of them.
But this Pathy Hybrid can go as low as 8.4 litres/100km in the (front) 2WD model and it's on regular 91 octane. That's a big achievement for a 2.0-tonne plus behemoth that easily carries seven - and a bit of gear. How does Nissan do it?
Three Pathy Hybrid models are available, the 2WD ST at $42,490 and the 4WD ST-L and Ti at $57,490 and $68,090 plus on roads. It's a fair bit of cabbage for the Ti - our drive car, but Nissan has jammed in heaps of kit to sweeten the deal including some driver assist features and the particularly good Around View Camera. Really handy when reversing from between two other SUVs.
The base car gets goodies like EZ-Flex seats facilitating rear row access, reverse camera, rear park sensors with parking guidance, three zone climate control, hill start assist, "intelligent" key, 18-inch alloys and LED tail lights.
The ST-L gets more including leather, big sunroof, heated seats, electric steering wheel adjust and other stuff while the Ti has satnav, 20-inch alloys, power tailgate, 9 gig music box Bose audio, dual 7-inch rear screens, reverse sync mirrors and other stuff. An option pack on ST-L takes it close to Ti spec'.
The transmission is a CVT in all cases but there are two clutches, one for the petrol engine and one for the electric motor that synchronise as needed. The 4WD system is Nissan's All-mode system seen on numerous other models.
Drivers can select 2WD, Auto all-wheel drive and Lock 4WD from a console mounted dial. Regenerative electricity is produced when braking or decelerating and the electric motor occasionally drives the car for a short time.
ENGINE / TRANMSISSION
Easy, they slot a 2.5-litre petrol four cylinder under the bonnet with a supercharger attached together with a 15kW electric torque boost motor for a combined effort of 188kW/330Nm.
That's about the same as the 3.5 V6 petrol Pathy - but with much better fuel economy. You have to pay for the privilege though with a higher purchase price and lower towing capacity - 1650kg braked for the Hybrid, 2700kg braked for the V6 petrol. Still, not everyone wants to tow a boat.
Not much to say here - it's big , comfortable and goes pretty well. You can hear the four pot engine under acceleration but it does a good job of moving this large vehicle. Some tardiness off the line is evident but once on the move there's plenty of get go for all kinds of driving.
It has well controlled ride characteristics too, not as soft and mushy as expected and it quite agreeable to drive on general duties. Once cruising minimal noise or vibration enters the roomy cabin.
The audio in Ti is excellent as is the power tailgate and heated seats. It takes a bit too long to sync Bluetooth. Should be one or two simple functions and no searching.