Nissan Pathfinder

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Nissan Pathfinder
2005-2007 Nissan Pathfinder (R51) ST-L wagon 03.jpg
2005–2007 Nissan Pathfinder ST-L (R51, Australia)
Body and chassis

The Nissan Pathfinder is a lineup of sport utility vehicles manufactured by Nissan since 1986, originally sharing Nissan's compact pickup truck platform, and now in its fourth generation.

The Pathfinder was marketed as the Nissan Terrano (Japanese: 日産・テラノ, Nissan Terano) outside North America. Beginning in 2004, the R51 series was marketed internationally as the Pathfinder.

First generation (WD21; 1985)[edit]

First generation (WD21)
90-92 Nissan Pathfinder.jpg
Also called
  • Nissan Terrano
  • Nissan Terramax
  • May 1985 – September 1995
  • 1995–2006 (Indonesia)
DesignerDoug Wilson, Jerry Hirshberg (1982, 1983)[3]
Body and chassis
Body style
  • 2-door SUV (1987–1989)
  • 4-door SUV (1990–1995)
RelatedNissan D21 Pickup
Wheelbase2,649 mm (104.3 in)
Length4,366 mm (171.9 in)
Width1,689 mm (66.5 in)
  • XE: 1,669 mm (65.7 in)
  • 1986–89 SE & LE: 1,679 mm (66.1 in)
  • 1990–95 SE: 1,694 mm (66.7 in)
SuccessorNissan Xterra

The first generation Pathfinder was introduced as a two-door body-on-frame SUV, sharing styling and most components with the Nissan Hardbody Truck. Built on a ladder-type frame, the Pathfinder was Nissan's response to the Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Bronco II, Jeep Cherokee, and non-American SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner, Honda Passport, and the Isuzu MU.

Before the Pathfinder there was the Nissan Bushmaster (an aftermarket conversion of the Datsun Truck), but they are rare as well. Its optional 4WD system that could be engaged electronically while the vehicle was moving, unique at the time, and a four-speed automatic transmission. All WD21 Pathfinders were available in both 2WD and manually engaged 4WD configurations, with base models installed with a 2.4 L four cylinder engine. 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 installed later in November 1988.

In Japan, it was exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Shop locations, where it was called the Terrano as a smaller companion to the larger Nissan Safari. While the Pathfinder/Terrano was essentially based on the newly introduced Hardbody truck, the rear five link coil suspension was borrowed from the Safari to enhance its off-road abilities. The two door version was installed with the VG30E Nissan V6, that was shared with the Fairlady ZX.

As the Japanese market Terrano was regarded as a luxury vehicle, with an emphasis on outdoor leisure activities, the Terrano was introduced to Japanese buyers as an off-road, back country Fairlady ZX. Ownership costs to Japanese drivers are expensive due to the exterior dimensions exceeding dimension regulations and the engine displacement incurring a higher annual road tax obligation. To emphasize this marketing approach, the Terrano was available with options not normally found on other budget-minded vehicles. Some of the upmarket Japanese-model options were climate-controlled air conditioning, electrically powered windows, seats, door locks, and, in 1993, Recaro seats. Nissan's sports division Autech added special equipment packages, introducing the "Wide R3M Urban" and the "AJ Limited". The emphasis on luxury was partly due to a strong economy in Japan, in what is now regarded as the Japanese "bubble economy".

In 1987, the first generation Terrano was entered in the 9th Paris to Dakar rally race, with continued entries in rally races for many years, winning multiple times in its category.

The four-door Pathfinder was introduced in October 1989 to enhance the Pathfinder's market appeal, but the overall vehicle length and wheelbase were not extended to accommodate the rear doors. At its introduction to North America, 1985 to 1989 Pathfinders came with a two-door body. In early 1990 it became only a four door. Some US 1990 Pathfinders came with the two door body, but they are 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 was used on all Nissan SUVs, including the Nissan Armada, Nissan Juke, Nissan Terrano II, and the Nissan Xterra. The front doors were slightly shortened to accommodate the rear doors.

From 1985 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.

The first generation Nissan Pathfinder also sold in Indonesia from 1995 to 2006 as Nissan Terrano. Only available with four-door body, 2389cc Z24 carburetted petrol engine (103hp & 182Nm), 2WD (4WD only available for 1995-1996 highest trim model[4]) and 5-speed manual transmission. Only 17.801 units were sold during 11 years of production.[5]


A facelift occurred in 1990 when the 4-door model was introduced. The front grille was revised, numerous interior trim level options became available and numerous exterior packages were offered by dealerships. The 1993 models received a third brake light and the 1994 models received a curved dashboard. Two more facelifts occurred for Indonesian production Terrano in 1997 and 2003, this facelifts made the exterior and interior looks more modern unlike the global version of first generation Pathfinder.

Second generation (R50; 1995)[edit]

Second generation (R50)
1997 Nissan Pathfinder (WX) RX wagon (front).jpg
Also calledNissan Terrano
Infiniti QX4
ProductionOctober 1995 – August 2004
DesignerJerry Hirshberg, Yoshio Maezawa (1992, facelift: 1997)
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,700 mm (106.3 in)
  • 1999–2002: 4,529 mm (178.3 in)
  • 2000–04: 4,641 mm (182.7 in)
  • 2000–04: 1,821 mm (71.7 in)
  • 2000–04 XE: 1,770 mm (69.7 in)
  • 1996–99: 1,839 mm (72.4 in)
  • 1999–2002 XE: 1,745 mm (68.7 in)
  • 2003–04 SE: 1,847 mm (72.7 in)
  • 2000–04 LE & 2000–01 SE: 1,801 mm (70.9 in)
  • 2000–01 XE: 1,725 mm (67.9 in)
  • 1999–2002 XE & 1998–99 LE: 1,704 mm (67.1 in)
  • 1999–2002 SE & 1999–2000 LE: 1,725 mm (67.9 in)

The second generation Pathfinder was introduced in late 1995 with revised styling using unibody rather than body-on-frame 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. In 2000, model year 2001 brought a new 240 hp (179 kW) V6 engine (for the Automatic transmission models). The Manual transmission models boasted 250 hp (186 kW) and 240-lbft of torque. This engine was the VQ35DE. The 4 cylinder engine option was no longer available.

Diesel engines continued to be used in Japanese and European models.

As of the 2002 model year, the Terrano / Pathfinder was no longer marketed in Japan, and was available in North America, Europe and the Middle East. The market position held by the Terrano in Japan was replaced by the Nissan Murano in 2002. The Japanese market Terrano and high luxury content Terrano Regulus saw demand drop significantly due to the hard economic times felt in Japan, known as the Lost Decade. Nissan offered a smaller, off-road vehicle to its Japanese customer base who enjoyed the Pathfinder when it introduced the Nissan X-Trail in 2000.


The Pathfinder received a facelift for the 1999.5 model year with a revised front fascia, rear fascia, and interior. Another facelift occurred in 2002, when the updated Nissan logo was added and received a revised grille versus the 1999½ model, as well as a new steering wheel, different rims and radio display. In 2003, the Pathfinder again received a new steering wheel.

Infiniti QX4/Terrano Regulus[edit]

1997–2003 Infiniti QX4
Infiniti QX4
97-00 Infiniti QX4.jpg
Also calledNissan Terrano Regulus (Japan)
ProductionSeptember 1996 – November 2002
Model years1997–2003
AssemblyNissan Shatai, Kanda, Fukuoka, Japan
Body and chassis
ClassMid-size luxury SUV
Body style5-door SUV
RelatedNissan Pathfinder
SuccessorInfiniti QX56
Infiniti FX
Infiniti JX

The Infiniti QX4 is a mid-size luxury SUV introduced in September 1996 and based on the unibody Nissan Pathfinder. It was released following Acura's introduction of the SLX and Lexus's larger LX 450. The QX4 was Infiniti's first entry into the SUV market segment.

Marketed in Japan as the Nissan Terrano Regulus and available in Nissan's JDM Nissan Bluebird Store, the Terrano Regulus was also briefly offered at Nissan Motor Store, its luxury-oriented dealership. Major differences between these vehicles and the Pathfinder include a more upscale interior, and unique styling. Marketed as a luxury vehicle, The Terrano Regulus offered off-road capability with a low-range four-wheel-drive system and 8.3 inches (211 mm) of ground clearance.

Year-to-year changes[edit]

2001 Nissan Terrano Regulus (JDM)
Nissan Terrano Regulus Starfire (JDM)

The QX4 received its first major update in 2000 for model year 2001, with a new VQ series engine (also later seen in the G35 and FX35) increasing its power from a relatively low 168 hp (125 kW) to a 240 hp (179 kW) V6 engine. The displacement went from 3.3 L to 3.5 L. The timing belt was replaced with a timing chain and the ignition distributor was replaced with an individual coil ignition system.

This facelift also gave the QX4 an updated exterior and interior body style, including a new dash with integrated analog clock, 17-inch (423 mm) alloy wheels and xenon HID headlamps. In Japan, the Terrano Regulus trim package was no longer offered. Also, a rear-wheel drive QX4 model was added (1997 through 2000 were only available in 4WD).

2002 Infiniti QX: Cruise control designed to maintain a set distance from other traffic was the main addition for 2002. The QX4 shared Nissan's Intelligent Cruise Control with Infiniti's flagship Q45 sedan. Employing laser sensors, the system was designed to automatically speed or slow the QX4 to keep it a constant distance from cars ahead. Also new for 2002 was a revised audio system, plus audio controls for the available leather/wood steering wheel. The optional rear-seat video entertainment system offered a choice of VCR or DVD player.

2003 Infiniti QX: Additional standard equipment for 2003 included curtain-type side airbags, available for the first time. New standard equipment that had previously been part of the Premium Package included 17-inch wheels, a driver-seat memory system, and a leather/woodgrain steering wheel with audio controls. Options included heated front/rear seats and a videotape or DVD rear-seat entertainment system. A power moonroof that came standard.

The QX4 was discontinued in 2003, and its position in price was taken by the FX35/45 crossover SUV. The last QX4 was manufactured during November 2002.[citation needed] The QX4 was succeeded by the larger QX56 in 2004.

Third generation (R51; 2004)[edit]

Third generation (R51)
05-07 Nissan Pathfinder .jpg
ProductionAugust 2004 – August 2012 (up to 2014 in Europe and Australia)
Model years2005–2012 (up to 2014/15 in Europe/Australia)
Saint-Petersburg, Russia (2012–2014)
DesignerKiyoshi Yanase (2002)[6]
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
PlatformNissan F-Alpha platform
  • 5-speed RE5R05A automatic
  • 7-speed RE7R01B automatic (V9X only)
  • 6-speed FS6R31A manual (export models)
Wheelbase2,850 mm (112.2 in)
  • 2005–07: 4,765 mm (187.6 in)
  • 2008–2012: 4,890 mm (192.5 in)
  • 2005–07: 1,849 mm (72.8 in)
  • 2008–2012: 1,849 mm (72.8 in)
  • S & SE 4WD: 72.8 in
  • SE Off-Road: 1,862 mm (73.3 in)
  • LE 4WD: 1,852 mm (72.9 in)
  • S & SE 2WD: 1,839 mm (72.4 in)
  • LE 2WD: 1,842 mm (72.5 in)
SuccessorNissan Terra (as a body-on-frame SUV)
Nissan Pathfinder (R52) (nameplate)

In August 2003, Nissan unveiled Dunehawk Concept and showcased it at the IAA 2003 in Frankfurt (R51 design patents filed 8 September 2003), previewing the next Pathfinder's design. 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, thus returning to a body on frame construction. It 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 (126 kW (171 PS; 169 hp), 403 N⋅m (297 lb⋅ft)) Turbo Diesel.[7]

The larger Pathfinder Armada debuted in late 2004, but was based on the Titan full-sized pickup truck and dropped the "Pathfinder" prefix in 2005.

The 2005 model introduced a third row of seats to the Pathfinder line for the first time.

2008 facelift (US and Middle East)[edit]

The facelifted 2008 Nissan Pathfinder debuted at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. Some of the badge positions on the rear liftgate were tweaked, and this version also received the Titan's 5.6-liter V8 engine rated at 310 hp (231 kW) and 388 lb⋅ft (526 N⋅m).

2010 facelift (Europe, South America, Asia/Oceania, Caribbean)[edit]

An updated version debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010, now available with the Nissan V9X Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel producing 228 hp (170 kW) and 406 ft·lbf (550 Nm) at 1,750 – 2,500 rpm while an upgraded YD25DDTi Turbodiesel producing 188 hp (140 kW) – up 19 hp (14 kW) – while torque increases by 35 ft·lbf (47 Nm) to 332 ft·lbf (450 Nm) is also available. Over the combined cycle manual versions use 8.4 L/100 km – an improvement of 1.4 L/100 km – 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 R51 series Pathfinder continues to be sold and produced outside North America.

Exterior changes[edit]

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 color 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. V8 models are given a discreet V8 badge at the leading edge of both front doors and a new side moulding across the doors.

Fourth generation (R52; 2012)[edit]

Fourth generation (R52)
2014 Nissan Pathfinder (R52 MY14) Ti 4WD wagon (2015-07-09) 02.jpg
Nissan Pathfinder Ti 4WD (Australia)
ProductionSeptember 2012–present (USA)
2013–2014 (hybrid)
Model years2013–2021
AssemblyUnited States: Smyrna, Tennessee (Nissan Smyrna assembly plant)
Russia: Saint-Petersburg (since late 2014–2016)
DesignerAlfonso Albaisa (2010)[8]
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
PlatformNissan D platform
RelatedInfiniti QX60
TransmissionJatco XTRONIC CVT
Wheelbase2,900 mm (114.2 in)
Length5,045 mm (198.6 in)
Width1,961 mm (77.2 in)
Height1,768 mm (69.6 in)
2013 Pathfinder concept
Nissan Pathfinder Ti 4WD (Australia)

A redesigned Pathfinder went on sale in late October 2012 as a 2013 model. Just like the second generation Pathfinder, it once again moved away from a body-on-frame, truck-based SUV and adopted a unibody design. It rides on the same platform as the Infiniti QX60, Altima, Maxima, Murano and Quest. This generation Pathfinder has an interior similar to the second generation Murano, the Infiniti QX60, and some more SUVs and sedans. The third row has more leg room than the Nissan Rogue.

A concept, nearly identical to the eventual production model, was first revealed at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. Retail availability was scheduled for September 2012. The new Pathfinder is only available with a VQ35DE 3.5-Liter V6 engine producing 260 hp (194 kW) and 240 lb-ft (325 Nm) of torque. City, highway and combined average fuel economy numbers are 20 (City), 26 (Highway) and 22 (Combined) mpg for the FWD version and 19 (City), 25 (Highway) and 21 (Combined) mpg for the 4WD version. The Pathfinder is now significantly lighter than the previous generation, with the FWD model weighing 4149 pounds, while the 4WD Pathfinder weighs 4290 pounds.

This generation also abandons the door handles that were placed on the C pillar that were present in the previous three generations. As of 2015 the R52 series is only available in North America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the Middle East. It has not been scheduled to go on sale in Japan, nor is it assembled there.

2014 model year update[edit]

Changes to the US 2014 model include:[9][10][11]

  • New SL Tech Package, featuring Bose® Premium Audio System, Nissan Navigation System, voice recognition, XM NavTraffic and NavWeather capability (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Zagat® Restaurant Survey, Bluetooth® Streaming Audio and 8.0-inch color touchscreen monitor
  • Offered in four models: S, SV, SL and Platinum (each available in 4WD and 2WD); Pathfinder Hybrid offered in SV, SL and Platinum (4WD and 2WD)[12]
  • 3.5-liter V6 models available late summer 2013
  • Pathfinder Hybrid available fall 2013
  • Pathfinder utilizes a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) transmission made by Jatco; early versions of this CVT have proved to be problematic to the point of requiring replacement by Nissan in some 2013 and 2014 model years due to a hydraulic line size issue.

Canadian models of 2014 Pathfinder includes Pathfinder 3.5-litre 4WD V6 X, Pathfinder V6 S; 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid includes SV and Platinum Premium.[13]

The Nissan Pathfinder is now sold in some African, Asian and Middle Eastern markets. A locally built Pathfinder entered the Russian market in November 2014.[14]

Pathfinder Hybrid (Limited and Late availability)[edit]

Introduced for model year 2014, the Pathfinder Hybrid, available in 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive configurations, uses a supercharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor paired to a compact lithium-ion battery. The Li-ion battery fits under the 3rd row seat, with no effect on space used for cargo or passengers. The Pathfinder Hybrid will also had hybrid emblems and hybrid LED taillights versus the non-hybrid model.[citation needed]

Nissan discontinued the Pathfinder Hybrid after the 2014 model year due to limited availability and poor sales in the United States (discontinued after the 2015 model year in Canada and in other global markets except Australia and New Zealand).[citation needed]

2017 facelift[edit]

2017 facelift
2017 facelift

For model year 2017, the Nissan Pathfinder received an exterior update which includes a new fascia with restyled headlights and taillights and a new direct-injected V6 engine with CVT—outputting 284 hp (212 kW) and 259 lb⋅ft (351 N⋅m). The headlights had LED projector low beam headlamps and LED daytime running lights standard on Platinum trim levels while S, SV, and SL trim levels offer restyled halogen projector headlights with LED daytime running lights. Restyled taillights will be standard on Platinum trim levels, and all 2017 Pathfinders will also have new exterior colors added. The interior also has redesigned cup holders. A Motion Activated Liftgate is also now standard on SL and Platinum trim levels only as part of the power liftgate. The 2017 model year is also its 30th anniversary for the Nissan Pathfinder but there won't be any 30th anniversary special edition model for the 2017 Pathfinder. But the Nissan Pathfinder will have a Midnight Edition trim level which will be higher than the Platinum trim level for its base MSRP and arrive in early 2017 and the Nissan Altima, Sentra, Murano, Maxima and Rogue will also add the Midnight Edition trim level to their trim lineups in early 2017.

2019 update[edit]

The Rock Creek Edition package is introduced to the Nissan Pathfinder for the 2019 model year. The appearance package is only available on the SV and SL trim levels. The package adds 18" X 7.5" dark-finished aluminum alloy wheels, black overfenders and black door handles, Rock Creek Edition badging, leatherette-appointed seating with cloth inserts and Rock Creek Edition badging (SV trim level), leather appointed seating with Rock Creek Edition badging (SL trim level), and premium Rock Creek Edition interior trim.[15]

Fifth generation (R53; 2021)[edit]

Fifth generation (R53)
ProductionSeptember 2021 (to commence)
Model years2022
AssemblyUnited States: Smyrna, Tennessee (Nissan Smyrna assembly plant)
DesignerKen Lee[16]
Body and chassis
Body style5-door SUV
PlatformNissan D platform
RelatedInfiniti QX60
Engine3.5 L VQ35DE V6 (gasoline)
Transmission9-speed ZF 9HP automatic
Wheelbase2,900 mm (114.2 in)
Length5,004 mm (197.0 in)
Width1,961 mm (77.2 in)
Height1,768 mm (69.6 in)

The fifth-generation Pathfinder was unveiled on 4 February 2021, scheduled for a second-quarter of 2021 debut as a 2022 model. This model replaced the CVT with a 9-speed automatic transmission supplied by ZF, a standard trailer sway control feature, a standard 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system with a choice of optional 9-inch touchscreen with 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with Safety Shield 360 being standard on all trim levels. ProPilot Assist is standard on Pathfinder SV and SL trims, with ProPilot Assist with Navi-Link standard on the Platinum. The new Pathfinder also has two-tone exterior color options.[17][18][19]


Calendar year United States
2010 21,438[20]
2011 25,935[20]
2012 42,621[21]
2013 88,632[21]
2014 79,111[22]
2015 82,041[22]
2016 81,701[23]
2017 81,065[23]
2018 67,550[24]
2019 65,691[25]
2020 48,579[26]


  1. ^ "Nissan. Nissan in Indonesia". Retrieved 25 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Nissan. Nissan in Indonesia". Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Doug Wilson (TRAN, '69)". Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
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  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Patent USD499987 – Surface configuration of a vehicle body, toy, and/or replica". Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ Logiurato, Brett. "How Nissan Avoided the Pitfalls of Honda and Toyota, Kept Momentum in 2011". Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  9. ^ "2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Offers 26 MPG Combined Fuel Economy and 526-Mile Driving Range – With No Compromise of Performance or Interior Roominess". Nissan Online Newsroom. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  11. ^ Steven J. Ewing. "2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid arrives with supercharged engine, 26 mpg combined". Autoblog. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  12. ^ Brandon Turkus. "2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid priced from $35,110*". Autoblog. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  13. ^ "2014 Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid Press Kit". Nissan Online Newsroom. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Nissan Pathfinder are on sale now". 31 October 2014. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
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External links[edit]