Nissan's Pathfinder Concept debuts at the North American International Auto Show

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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The Nissan Pathfinder has been in production since 1986 and is one of the most popular sport utility vehicles on the road. Now, Nissan has introduced a prelude to the fourth-generation version: the 2012 Pathfinder Concept. It's been put on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and though it is a concept vehicle, the Pathfinder Concept looks production-ready.

"With the upcoming fourth-generation model, we're about to re-invent Pathfinder again." said Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager of Nissan North America's Nissan Division. "We've created a vehicle with an extraordinary balance of SUV capability, thoughtful technology and premium comfort to lead the segment once again – and help owners accomplish more in the real world, not just off-road."

Nissan's Pathfinder Concept is a mid-size sport utility vehicle with seating for seven occupants in a three-row configuration. Where the current production Pathfinder is bulky looking, the Pathfinder Concept has a slightly rounded and shapely figure. The proportions are actually reminiscent of the JX crossover vehicle from Nissan's luxury division Infiniti.

One notable feature of the Pathfinder Concept is that it features a unibody platform instead of the Pathfinder's longstanding body-on-frame design. Nissan says the unibody platform allows for better interior packaging flexibility. The new Pathfinder is also expected to weigh much less than before, and is therefore more fuel efficient.

Power for the Pathfinder Concept is supplied by a V6 engine that comes mated to Nissan's next-generation Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In true sport utility form, the Pathfinder Concept also features a 4-wheel-drive system. When compared to the previous V6-equipped Pathfinder, the new powertrain is expected to deliver a startling 25 percent increase in combined city and highway fuel economy.

"With the new engine and CVT combination's unprecedented efficiency, it maintains nearly the same horsepower as the previous generation's larger displacement V6, as well as a similar driving feel," said Castignetti. "It also retains its ability to tow boats, jet skis, trailers and a variety of other recreational gear, and its role as an excellent vehicle for unfavorable driving conditions with four-wheel drive."

As Castignetti mentions, the new powertrain delivers nearly the same horsepower as the previous generation V6 version. The previous model developed 266 horsepower from its 4.0-litre V6, so expect about 250 or 260 horsepower. The fourth-generation Nissan Pathfinder is anticipated to go on sale this autumn, most likely as a 2013 model.

"The new Pathfinder carries on the tradition of the adventure-ready vehicles that have come before – offering a new level of family enjoyment and engagement that is just right for today's real-world, everyday uses," concluded Castignetti. "After more than 25 years, Pathfinder is ready to tackle new terrain and the new challenges of modern family lives."
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: SUV, Nissan, 2012, Pathfinder Concept, Midsize,

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