The 2001 Nissan Pathfinder premium sport utility vehicle recently entered the Nissan lineup featuring an all-new 250-horsepower engine based on the same technology as Nissan Maxima’s award-winning V6, available All-Mode 4WD® System (LE), a restyled interior with a new instrument panel and center console and available navigation system, and more standard power and convenience features, including a rear seat entertainment system with video cassette player and flip-down ceiling-mounted screen.
“The 2001 model year got off to a quick start with the introduction of Pathfinder’s powerful new V6,” said Bill Kirrane, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “Now, we’ve enhanced this new model with available features such as All-Mode 4WD, the Nissan Mobile Entertainment System and our innovative Birdview™ navigation system.”
The 2001 model completes the transformation of this generation Pathfinder – originally introduced in 1996 with an entirely new body, interior and innovative MonoFrame® chassis design and enhanced as a 1999.5 model with additional refinements to the exterior and its premium equipment packaging.
The 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 six 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.
Pathfinder’s new engine is as refined as it is powerful. Numerous 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. LE Pathfinders are now available with the push-button All-Mode 4WD system – 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 the front wheels on demand.
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 2001 Pathfinder is deceptively fast and has a true performance engine note – a benefit of the most powerful V6 engine in class,” said Kirrane. “There’s also a true sense of luxury and refinement in every other system and component.”
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, halogen fog lights (standard on SE and LE) model-specific grille designs and a muscular front fascia.
The rear view features a smooth tailgate, bumper and rear combination lamps. A tailgate finisher and rear wind deflector (standard on SE) 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.
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), a Bose® audio system with an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and steering wheel-mounted controls (standard on SE and LE), an optional one-touch power sliding glass sunroof with tilt feature and safety reverse function (standard on LE) and available memory driver’s seat.
Also new for 2001 is an optional (SE, LE) dashboard-mounted navigation system with Nissan’s unique three-dimensional Birdview map display. Birdview offers an easy-to-read rolling display of roads, buildings and other points of interest.
An available Nissan Mobile Entertainment System features a flip-down 6.4-inch ceiling-mounted LCD monitor and video cassette player, which plays through wireless headphones or the Bose audio system (available on SE with A/T and LE).
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.
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.
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 Sunroof Package and Leather Package (SE and LE models only). A limited-slip rear differential is optional on 4x4 A/T SE and LE models (it is standard on SE M/T models). Optional is the rear seat entertainment system (SE A/T and LE) and an in-dash navigation system (SE and LE).
Pathfinder SE models now come standard with the Popular Package, which includes a Bose audio system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer, halogen fog lights, rear wind deflector and steering wheel audio controls. On Pathfinder LE models, the Sunroof Package now comes standard and includes a one-touch power glass sliding sunroof with tilt feature and safety reverse function.