The Nissan Pathfinder is a SUV manufactured by Nissan Motors since 1986, derived from Nissan's compact pickup truck platform. The Pathfinder is slotted in size between the Murano and Armada or Patrol, but in price between the Xterra and Murano.
The North American first generation Pathfinder came in two different bodies and shared styling and most components with the Nissan Hardbody Truck. Built on a ladder-type frame, WD21 Pathfinders were available in both 2WD and 4WD configurations. In the middle east from 1986.5 to 1989 Pathfinders came with a two door body. In early 1990 it became a four door in the middle east. Some middle eastern 1990 Pathfinder's came with the two door body, but they are rare. Before the Pathfinder there was the Nissan Bushmaster (an aftermarket conversion of the Datsun Truck), but this too, is rare.
When the four door version was introduced, Nissan chose to conceal the door handles as a part of the "C" pillar trim to visually make it appear like a two door truck with a camper shell, with the conventional door handles on the front doors. This design tradition is still used on some Nissan SUV's currently offered, to include the Nissan Armada and the Nissan Xterra.
From 86.5 to 1989 Pathfinders were available with either the Nissan VG30i 3.0 L V6 (143 hp (107 kW), 162 lb·ft (220 N·m) torque), or the Nissan Z24i 2.4 L (106 hp (79 kW)) I4 (the same engine choices as the Nissan Hardbody Truck). In 1990 the V6 received an upgrade from throttle body injection to a multi point fuel injection system. This engine was known as the VG30E, and was rated at 153 hp (114 kW) and 180 lb·ft (244 N·m) torque. Also in 1990, the Z24i was replaced with the KA24E. The first generation continued until 1995. In certain countries this generation also came with a 2.7 L I4 Diesel Engine known as the TD27 with the option of a turbocharger to increase the power rating.
The first generation (WD21) Pathfinders are known to develop rust in the following areas: the frame above and behind the rear wheels, the floor directly above the catalytic converter and under the back seats. On automatic-equipped models, the transmission cooler is notorious for clogging up and starving the transmission of fluid, resulting in a costly rebuild or replacement. Installation of an aftermarket transmission fluid cooler is recommended for any WD21 Pathfinder with an automatic transmission. Nissan techs generally recommend that the stock cooler in the radiator not be used at all.
A facelift occurred in 1990 when the 4-door model arrived. The front grille was revised, various interior trim level options became available and various exterior packages were offered by dealerships. The 1993 models received a third brake light. The 1994 model received a curved dashboard.
The second generation was introduced in 1996 with more rounded styling. The second generation Pathfinder was completely redesigned from the first generation, switching from body on frame construction to unibody construction. The engine was upgraded to the VG33E, with 168 hp (125 kW) and 196 lb·ft (266 N·m) torque. For the 1999½ model year, the Pathfinder was freshened. 2001 brought a new 240 hp (179 kW) V6 engine, the VQ35DE. With its facelift, the Pathfinder also grew in size, making way for the compact Xterra.
Diesel engines continued to be used in Japanese and European models.
As of the 2002 model year, the Pathfinder is no longer sold in Japan, and is currently available in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
The Pathfinder was given a significant facelift for the 2000 model year with a new front fascia two grille variants, rear fascia, and interior. Another face lift occurred in 2002, when the current Nissan logo was added and received a bolder grille versus the 2000 model, as well as a new steering wheel and radio display.
At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Nissan unveiled a completely redesigned Pathfinder for the 2005 model year. The new R51 Pathfinder uses the Nissan F-Alpha platform, and is powered by a 4.0 L V6 engine VQ40DE (266 hp (198 kW), 288 lb·ft (390 N·m)) or a 2.5 L YD25DDTi (174 hp (130 kW), 297 lb·ft (403 N·m)) Turbo Diesel.
In late 2003, a full-size SUV, the Pathfinder Armada, debuted. Although they share a common name, they have little similarity and use different platforms. The "Pathfinder" prefix was dropped for 2005, leaving just the name "Armada".
The Pathfinder is sold as the Terrano in many markets outside of North America. In 2005, when the redesigned Pathfinder was released the Pathfinder name became international as it sold worldwide. These were the first to be sold in the UK.
The 2005 model introduced a third row of seats to the Pathfinder line for the first time. It has been subject to a class action lawsuit because of repeated coolant leaks that permanently damage the transmission.
An updated version debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. Now available with a Nissan 3.0-litre V6 Turbodiesel (V9X Engine) producing 240 hp (175 kW),406 ft·lbf (500 Nm) @ 2,500 rpm while an upgrade YD25DDTi Turbodiesel power rises to 140 kW (190 PS) – up 14 kW (19 PS) – while torque increases by a healthy 47 Nm to 450 Nm. Over the combined cycle manual versions use 8.4 L/100km – an improvement of 1.4 L/100km – 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.
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 80 mm to the length of both models, the bumper is more rounded and lends a more sporting touch to the cars.
A new headlamp design with projectors is offered for Xenon lamps. Headlamps washers now pop up from beneath body colour moulding in the bumpers. A new 18-inch (460 mm) alloy wheel complements 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 and a new side moulding across the doors.
A redesigned Pathfinder will go on sale in late 2012 as a 2013 model. it will become a unibody car-based crossover. It will ride on the same platform as the Infiniti JX, Altima, Maxima, Murano, and Quest