Home' Sunraysia Daily : motors31012015 Contents 2
Sunraysia Daily Saturday, January 31, 2015
Road testing the Nissan
Pathfinder Hybrid TI
HYBRID isn t the first thing that
springs to mind in the blokey
Pathfinder word cloud but as
we re all acutely aware, times
are changing. Big boofy four-wheel
drives are getting leaner forms of
propulsion. Heavens, even sporty
heavy-hitters like Porsche will sell you
a big SUV with an oil-burner.
Nissan has put a lot into electric
tech, with the Leaf being its halo
model, so it makes sense for the
Japanese company to drop in a quirky
drivetrain for those looking to spend
more time in traffic and less time
bouncing around a paddock.
Nissan has had to plug a gap
with the Hybrid - the US-sourced
Pathfinder doesn t have a diesel
engine (our American friends aren t
fans of the fuel), so Nissan s hybrid
system is the only choice to reduce
The Pathfinder range kicks off at
a reasonable $39,990. This is for the
3.5-litre V6 powered front-wheel drive
only machine, but there is a lot car
here for the money.
The range works its way through a
variety of front and four-wheel drive
V6 variants with a couple of hybrid
versions peppered in the range. All
variants have seven seats as standard,
a sensible touch.
The cheapest hybrid is the front-
wheel-drive-only ST, asking a $3000
premium over the basic petrol. The
ST-L rises to $57,490 and then at the
top of the range is the $68,090 Ti 4x4,
the car we re testing here.
That wedge of cash gets you
three-zone climate control, active
noise cancellation, front rear and
around-view cameras, keyless entry
and start, cruise control, DVD player
with screens and headphones for the
middle row, electric front and heated
seats, sat-nav, auto headlights and
wipers, real and fake leather bits and
pieces, big central screen, powered
tailgate, electric sunroof and tinted
After an awkward start, the design
language that debuted on the slightly
odd-looking Murano has gone well
when applied to both the X-Trail and
the Pathfinder (and the Qashqai if
you squint a bit). It s not what you d
call pretty, but it s well-proportioned
and the looks disguise what is a
genuinely gigantic car.
Some SUVs this size suffer from
compensation issues, but the
designers have kept the chrome
minimal and tasteful and the 20-inch
wheels do a fine job of filling the
considerably spacious arches.
Inside is well-executed if a
bit plasticky in places, but the
difference between the real and fake
leather is minimal and, honestly,
inconsequential. There s a truckload
of storage available from drink
holders for all three rows (ten in
total!), to cubby holes and slots for
smart phones - its cabin you could
easily live in.
The third row of seats is very well
designed in both placement and
operation, with a simple process to
lift the seat backs out of the floor
and - surprise - you can actually fit
real live humans in there rather than
cadaverous crash test dummies.
There s a decent footwell to put your
passengers feet in. Few seven seaters
are as generous. Even with the rears
up, there s enough space in the boot
for a few bags.
Five-star ANCAP protection is
served up by six airbags, with the
curtain airbags reaching right back
to the third row. There s also ABS,
brake assist, traction and stability
control, hill holder, load limited and
pre-tensioned belts for the front
passengers while all seats get lap-
The massive blind spots are
eliminated by the front, rear and
Pathfinder Ti has a quirky sound
system controlled by a big eight-
inch screen that also does duty for
the reasonable sat-nav and various
cameras around the car. The top of
the range also picks up 13 Bose-
branded speakers, seven more than
the standard, non-branded system.
After a slightly puzzling set up
process, the stereo gave good clear
sound and a more-than-decent
Bluetooth phone performance. It
integrates happily via USB, as well.
The DVD player sends vision back
to two headrest mounted screens for
middle row passengers, with a pair of
wireless headphones thrown into the
All Pathfinder Hybrids are powered
by a 2.5-litre supercharged four
cylinder and a fifteen kilowatt electric
motor. Together the power outputs
come to 188kW (versus the V6 s 190)
and 330Nm (five up on the V6 s 325).
The 2.5 is also secured by active
engine mounts to reduce noise and
vibration coming into the cabin,
where it is then further suppressed
with active noise cancelling.
Power hits the road in the Ti via all
four wheels and a CVT transmission.
The driver can select front or four
wheel drive, or let the car decide for
Nissan claims 8.5 litres per 100km
on the combined cycle, around twenty
percent better than the V6. We saw
just over 10 L/100km in mainly city
driving, which is pretty good going.
The Pathfinder is big, there s no
getting away from it. However, it won t
get away from you. Despite healthy
power outputs, the big boy sets a
leisurely pace, but with a strong mid-
range assist from the electric motor.
The CVT transmission makes the
most sense given the powertrain.
The Ti is the heaviest of the range,
troubling the scales at just under 2.1
tonnes but this compares favourably
with other similarly-sized vehicles,
which are often rather heavier.
The Pathfinder won t set the world
on fire with steering or handling but it
does have a fantastic, cushioney ride.
The body roll is well-checked but you
can feel the weight moving around
on the long springs as you tip it into
It s light and easy to drive once
you ve gotten used to its considerable
girth and length and we settled
in pretty quickly once we stopped
guffawing at how tight shopping
centre car spaces are.
The main thing is, your six
passengers will be perfectly happy in
the Pathfinder - it s roomy and quiet
and has plenty of things to keep them
occupied. In this spec, it s a real city-
biased car, with an overlap of SUV
and people mover attributes.
There won t be a stampede of
Tarago or Odyssey owners to the
Pathfinder - they re far too different -
but as seven seaters go, it s roomier
than the (admittedly cheaper)
Outlander PHEV and far better
finished. It won t sip the fuel as
While the Nissan Pathfinder Ti
nudges $70,000 before on-roads,
there s a lot of metal for the money
and it will still tow 750 kg unbraked or
1650 kg braked (down from 2700 from
the thirsty V6). It ll also do a decent
job off-road if you re happy to ruin
those nice wheels.
Seven seats, hybrid drivetrain,
acres of space. It does exactly what
it says on the tin without dragging
around surplus cylinders you ll never
For more information on the Nissan
Pathfinder Hybrid TI, contact North
Star Motors LMCT 8241 at 29
Orange Avenue or phone them on
A stack of car for the money, with a
green-tinged heart to boot.
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