2001 Nissan Pathfinder Delivers Luxury, Refinement - In A Hurry
12 January 2000With a New, Class-Leading 250-Horsepower V6 Engine, 2001 Nissan Pathfinder Delivers Luxury, Refinement - In A Hurry
DETROIT, Jan. 11 -- Though the calendars have just turned to 2000, Nissan gets a jump on the 2001 model year with the world debut of a powerful new Nissan Pathfinder premium sport utility vehicle at Detroit's North American International Auto Show. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000111/LATU093 ) The 2001 Nissan Pathfinder, which goes on sale at Nissan retailers nationwide in March, features an all-new 250-horsepower engine using the same technology as Nissan Maxima's award-winning V6, a restyled interior with a new instrument panel and center console, and more standard power and convenience features. "Last winter we brought forward the Pathfinder's redesigned exterior," said Jed Connelly, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "Now, with its exciting new V6 engine bursting onto the scene, we couldn't hold back the 2001 Pathfinder a minute longer." The 2001 model completes the transformation of this generation Pathfinder -- originally introduced in 1996 with an entirely new body, interior and innovative MonoFrame(R) chassis design and continued one year ago (as a 1999.5 model) with additional refinements to the exterior and its premium equipment packaging. "The recent addition of the all-new Xterra and Frontier Crew Cab has brought tremendous consumer attention to Nissan's truck lineup," said Connelly. "With the addition of the most powerful SUV V6 in America and the refined interior, our 2001 Pathfinder is truly worthy of its flagship status." Engine/Suspension For 2001, Pathfinder receives a significant improvement in power with the addition of a new VQ35DE DOHC 3.5-liter 24-valve V6. Rated at 250 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque with the 5-speed manual transmission and 240 horsepower and 265 ft-lbs of torque for 4-speed automatic transmission equipped models, Pathfinder now has more horsepower than some V8s available on competitors' compact sport utility vehicles. The previous Pathfinder engine was a SOHC 3.3-liter design (designated the VG series) producing 170 horsepower and 200 ft-lbs of torque. The new engine is based on the Nissan VQ engine series currently used in the 2000 Maxima -- an engine named as one of Ward's Auto World magazine's "10 Best Engines" for five consecutive years. But rather than just enlarge the Maxima engine (a 3.0-liter design), the creators of the new Pathfinder V6 designed it specifically for SUV applications with an emphasis on low to mid-speed torque needed for off-roading and recreational equipment hauling. Among the many advanced systems utilized in the new engine are NCVCS (Nissan Continuous Valve Timing Control System), NVIS (Nissan Variable Intake System), a new lightweight piston design and a new aluminum block (35 pounds lighter than the previous cast iron block). In addition, new double-tipped platinum spark plugs provide 100,000-mile service intervals. A new resin engine cover provides a clean engine compartment appearance. In keeping with the engine's "Maxima DNA" and Pathfinder's premium equipment positioning, the new engine is as refined as it is powerful. More than 100 improvements have been initiated to reduce levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Liquid-filled front and double-cushion rear engine mounts help isolate engine vibrations from the cabin. Pathfinder is available with a 5-speed manual (SE only) or a new, strengthened, electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive (standard on XE and LE, optional on SE). The automatic features Nissan's NEW DUETTE control system for seamless shifting. Four-wheel drive Pathfinders feature a shift-on-the-fly transfer case, which can be engaged at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The 2001 Pathfinder continues to utilize a proven 5-link rear suspension design with coil springs and stabilizer bar with an optimized shock absorber layout for ride and handling control. The front suspension features independent struts with coil springs. Pathfinder's unique MonoFrame construction provides a smooth, comfortable on-road ride while offering outstanding off-road capabilities. The MonoFrame design combines the body, floor and frame into a single, rigid structure (as opposed to separate pieces bolted together), reducing stress throughout the body and minimizing squeaks and rattles. Special side members distribute stress evenly throughout the body at the A-, B- and C-pillars, assisting noise reduction and contributing to Pathfinder's solidity. The result is a "car-like" ride with truck-like toughness. Aluminum alloy 16-inch wheels with separate designs for each model are standard on every Pathfinder, along with mud and snow-rated 16-inch steel- belted radial tires. All models have standard 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), with Nissan's unique G-sensor system which "reads" the driving surface and adjusts braking control accordingly. Standard power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering ensures maneuverability and a tight turning radius. "The new Pathfinder is deceptively fast and has a true performance engine note -- a benefit of the most powerful V6 engine in class," said Connelly. "There's also a true sense of luxury and refinement in every other system and component." Exterior Design The 2001 Pathfinder continues the bold, aggressive appearance introduced midway through the 1999 model year, achieved through use of a high hood with a "milled off" top/front edge appearance, multi-parabola headlights, model- specific grille designs and a muscular front fascia. The rear view features a smooth tailgate, bumper and rear combination lamps. A tailgate finisher puts the final touch on the rear end and completes the refined, premium look of Pathfinder. Body-color bumpers have been added for 2001 to the XE model and a special "3.5" engine badge has been added to the tailgate. Two new exterior colors -- Burnt Cherry and Bronzed Gray -- are offered among a total of nine. Interior Design The 2001 Pathfinder continues to provide the highest level of premium equipment. Among the refinements for the new model year are a completely restyled instrument and center console, a new dark charcoal interior color treatment (in addition to a retuned beige), an available Bose audio system with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and available memory driver's seat. Pathfinder continues to offer a full array of interior fabrics with standard cloth trim. All driver controls are arranged according to frequency of use -- the most commonly used controls are in the driver's field of vision, and switches are varied in size and shape to ensure that they will be recognized by touch. A white instrument meter cluster (titanium colored on SE) offers outstanding gauge readability day or night. Four-way adjustable front bucket seats cradle front seat occupants with a fatigue-reducing design, consisting of higher density foam on the sides to prevent sliding in the seats and a low density foam center for comfort on long and short drives. Between the seats is a new dual level center console with padded armrest and built-in 12-volt power source. On either side of the occupants are large door pockets. The front passenger seat features a back pocket, perfect for map and magazine storage. Luxury and convenience features include low-cut pile carpeting, an under- dash flip-down coin tray, overhead sunglass storage, a cargo area under floor mini-storage bin, a cargo area concealed storage bin and a 60/40 split fold- down rear seat. Safety Standard Pathfinder safety equipment includes dual front supplemental air bags, adjustable front shoulder belt anchors, front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters, pipe-style steel side-door guard beams, front and rear crumple zones, an energy-absorbing steering column, a clutch/ignition interlock feature (manual transmission) and child safety rear door locks. Front seat supplemental side-impact air bags, which deploy from the side of the front seats, are available as part of the optional Leather Package on LE and SE models. Model Availability The 2001 Pathfinder is again offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 drive configurations and in three models -- the well-equipped Pathfinder XE, sporty and rugged SE and luxurious LE. The 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission is standard on XE and LE Pathfinders, while the SE is offered with a choice of automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The XE model adds a long list of standard equipment that was previously available only as part of an option package. This includes power windows, heated mirrors and locks, remote keyless entry and vehicle security system, rear cargo area cover, leather-wrapped steering wheel and rear convenience net. Several option packages are offered in 2001, allowing buyers to further tune their vehicles toward luxury or sportiness. Packages include the SE Popular Package, SE Sunroof Package, Leather Package (SE and LE models only) and LE Sunroof Package. Optional on SE and LE 4x4 Pathfinders is a limited-slip rear differential.