For 2003, the Nissan Pathfinder premium sport utility vehicle again stands strong in the Nissan lineup of performance vehicles with a 240-horsepower engine, based on the same technology as Nissan Maxima’s award-winning V6, and available All-Mode 4WD® System (LE model). For the new model year, refinements and enhancements include a standard leather-appointed interior for the LE, while SE models feature restyled 16-inch 6-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels.
Both models also feature a new 4-spoke steering wheel and electronic rear hatch window release. A new Vehicle Dynamic Control Package offers Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control System and tire pressure monitor system. In addition, satellite radio is available on all 2003 Pathfinders, with a choice of XM or Sirius services. Four new exterior colors are also offered for the 2003 model year.
Other enhancements include front side-impact and side curtain supplemental impact air bags available on SE and standard on LE, standard LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren) system and titanium-color interior accents on SE models.
“With new available features such as Vehicle Dynamic Control and standard leather-appointed seats on LE, along with previously available features like all-Mode 4WD and the popular Nissan Mobile Entertainment System, Pathfinder remains the vehicle of choice in the ultra-competitive SUV market,” said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.
An Aggressive Exterior, Relaxing Interior
The 2003 Pathfinder features an aggressive yet refined appearance, achieved through use of a high hood with a “milled off” top/front edge, multi-parabola headlights and fog lights, new 16-inch 6-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels on SE or standard 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on LE. The rearview features a smooth tailgate, bumper and rear combination lights. Body-color bumpers and fender flares and a tailgate finisher complete the contemporary look of Pathfinder.
As in previous years, the 2003 Pathfinder continues to provide the highest level of premium equipment. Among the refinements for the new model year are a new steering wheel, standard leather-appointed seats for LE and available integrated satellite radio. SE models also receive new titanium-color interior accents.
Luxury features include a Bose® audio system with AM/FM/cassette/6-disc in-dash CD changer and steering wheel audio controls (std. LE, avail. SE).
Pathfinder is equipped with a titanium-colored (SE) or white (LE) meter cluster that offers outstanding gauge readability day or night. Other standard features include low-cut pile carpeting, 8-way adjustable driver/4-way adjustable front passenger seats with a fatigue-reducing design consisting of higher density foam on the sides to prevent sliding in the seats, a low density foam center for comfort on long and short drives and a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat.
For convenience, the front passenger’s seat back features a pocket perfect for map and magazine storage, on either side of the occupants are large door pockets and between the seats is a dual level center console with padded armrest and built-in 12-volt power source.
All Pathfinders come standard with a flip-down coin tray, overhead sunglass storage, one-touch power sliding glass sunroof (LE only), cargo area under-floor mini-storage bin and cargo area concealed storage bin.
A Powerful Engine Matched with a Rugged Suspension
The 2003 Pathfinder is again powered by a 3.5-liter VQ35DE DOHC 24-valve V6. Rated at 240 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque and mated to a standard 4-speed automatic transmission, Pathfinder has ample horsepower and low-end torque for both on- and off-road excursions.
The engine is based on the Nissan VQ engine series used in the 2003 Maxima – an engine named as one of Ward’s Auto World’s “10 Best Engines” for eight consecutive years. The Pathfinder V6 is designed and tuned specifically for SUV applications, with an emphasis on low to mid-speed torque needed for off-road use and transporting recreational equipment.
Among the many advanced systems utilized in Pathfinder’s engine are NVTCS (Nissan Valve Timing Control System), NVIS (Nissan Variable Induction System), a lightweight piston design and an aluminum-alloy block. In addition, double platinum-tipped spark plugs provide 100,000-mile service intervals. A resin engine cover provides a clean engine compartment appearance.
Pathfinder is available with a standard 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive, featuring Nissan’s NEW DUETTE (New Development Unity Engine Transmission Total Engineering) control system for seamless shifting.
Four-wheel drive Pathfinders feature a shift-on-the-fly transfer case (SE), which can be engaged at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. 4x4 LE Pathfinders come standard with the advanced push-button All-Mode 4WD system.
The All-Mode system utilizes a wet multi-plate clutch design managed by a computerized electronic control unit, which allows up to 50 percent of available torque (infinitely adjustable) to reach the front wheels on demand.
For 2003, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with Traction Control is optionally available with all models as part of the Dynamic Control Package, which also comes with a tire pressure monitor system.
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.
All 2003 Pathfinders feature power-assisted brakes and standard 4-wheel/4-sensor/3-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), with Nissan’s unique G-sensor system (4x4 only), which “reads” the driving surface and adjusts braking control accordingly. Standard power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering ensures maximum maneuverability and a tight turning radius.
Standard Pathfinder safety equipment includes dual stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors, front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors, pipe-style steel side-door guard beams, front and rear crumple zones, an energy-absorbing steering column, child safety rear door locks and child seat anchors with three tether points. Front seat side-impact supplemental air bags and curtain side-impact supplemental air bags are standard on LE and optionally available on SE Leather Package. New for 2003 is the standard LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether for CHildren) child seat anchor system.
Also standard on all Pathfinders is a Vehicle Security System with Immobilizer and remote keyless entry.
The 2003 Pathfinder is offered in both 4x2 and 4x4 drive configurations and in two models – the sporty, rugged SE and premium-equipped LE. A 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission is standard on all models.
Several option packages are offered in 2003, allowing buyers to further tune their vehicles toward premium amenities or sportiness. Packages include the SE Popular Package, SE Sunroof Package (sunroof standard on LE) and SE Leather Package. The Vehicle Dynamic Control Package adds VDC with Traction Control and tire pressure monitor system. Four new exterior colors are available (eight total) in 2003: Crystal Blue, Burnt Copper, Sunlit Sand and Polished Pewter. Two interior colors are available: Charcoal (black leather) and Beige.