When it was first introduced in 1986, the Nissan Pathfinder sport utility vehicle (SUV) stood as an innovator in class – and as the lone SUV in Nissan showrooms in North America. Today, the family of Nissan SUVs has grown significantly in size and scope, now encompassing the full-size Armada, Xterra, Murano and, for the 2005 model year, a completely redesigned Pathfinder.
The new Pathfinder remains true to the adventure roots of the original with an all-new larger, more powerful design featuring, for the first time, three-row seating, along with enhanced off-road capabilities and improved performance driven by the use of a new 4.0-liter version of the award-winning Nissan VQ-series V6 engine and a new fully boxed, all-steel frame based on the full-size Pathfinder Armada.
“For 2005, we’re strengthening the original Pathfinder concept by providing what we believe is the best balance of off-road and on-road capabilities and utility in class,” said Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc. “Each of our four Nissan SUVs has a specific role in the lineup. With the success of Murano as our true crossover SUV, we're able to utilize the strengths of the Armada platform in creating the 2005 Pathfinder a highly capable, mid-sized adventure vehicle for highly active families.”
Expressive Exterior Styling
In its third major redesign, the 2005 Pathfinder evolves the now classic look of the previous generations - including a large, powerful hood and headlights, solid shoulder line, large integrated fender flares, short front and rear overhangs and Nissan SUV signature angled C-pillar with high-mounted rear door handles. The new Pathfinder also bears a strong family resemblance to the larger Armada, especially in the angled strut-style grille and powerful overall presence and straightforward functionality.
New exterior features include a new roof rack design with integrated forward and rear grips and an updated, clean-cut rear tailgate design with flip-up rear glass hatch opening. Other exterior features include available side running boards, heated outside mirrors and power slide and tilt sunroof.
“The styling of the new Pathfinder gives it a tough but modern appearance. It projects an authentic 4x4 adventure feeling, much like the Armada, yet with a relaxed attitude that implies an athletic leanness rather than overt force,” said McNabb. “The new Pathfinder has also grown in nearly every dimension, though it retains its manageable size that is ideal for many buyers – neither too big nor too small.”
The 2005 Pathfinder features a longer wheelbase (112.2 inches) for enhanced roominess, ride comfort and stability, while its manageable overall length (187.6 inches) and short front and rear overhangs enhance maneuverability for around town or driving on off-road trails.
The Pathfinder also offers a bold palette of expressive exterior colors, including six new colors and three carryovers: Avalanche, Silver Lightning, Storm Gray, Silverton Blue, Woodland Bronze, Red Brawn, Super Black, Granite and Canteen.
A Flexible Three-Row Interior Design
The new Pathfinder continues the Nissan SUV tradition it originated in providing an interior environment designed to enhance active family lifestyles. The addition of the 3rd row seat gives Pathfinder 7-passenger seating, along with outstanding passenger/cargo flexibility. The split fold-down 2nd and 3rd row seats can be folded down individually, combining with the fold-down front passenger seat to provide up to 64 different seating/cargo configurations. The 2nd row seat, for example, features a 40/20/40 split feature with a one-touch release lever for easy access to the 3rd row.
The 50/50 split 3rd row seat folds down into the floor, allowing complete passenger/cargo use spontaneity, and the adjustable head restraints (2nd and 3rd rows) do not need to be removed to fold down the seats. The back side of the 3rd row seatbacks combines with an available easy-to-clean luggage area flooring and a total of eight cargo area utility hooks (floor hooks can carry up to 110 pounds) to create an extremely versatile area for hauling camping equipment, bikes, wetsuits and other gear. Another unique feature of the new Pathfinder's interior is the hidden storage area located under the 2nd row seats, one of many areas designed to help hold the accessories of an active lifestyle.
A long list of available comfort and convenience features continues Pathfinder’s longstanding reputation for attention to driver and passenger needs. Standard equipment includes power windows and door locks, tilt steering wheel, dual front and rear 20-ounce cup holders, four 12-volt DC outlets (two front, one rear and one in the center console box), 8-way adjustable driver’s seat and overhead console with sunglass storage.
Other available features include a first aid kit, dual-zone automatic temperature control, rear air conditioning, adjustable pedals, leather-appointed seats, power sunroof, HomeLink® Universal Transceiver, Bose® audio system with eight speakers and subwoofer, MP3 CD playback capability, power-adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seats with driver memory package, leather-appointed steering wheel, wood grain trim, navigation system and DVD entertainment system.
“The new Pathfinder's interior offers both function and room for cargo and passengers,” said McNabb. “It's a great space and great facilitator for family adventures or personal pursuits.”
A New Full-Size Foundation
Like the full-size Armada, the 2005 Pathfinder combines rugged body-on-frame construction with the superior ride and handling characteristics of 4-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension.
Utilizing the Armada's "F-Alpha" platform as a basis, the Pathfinder builds from a fully boxed, all-steel ladder frame and adds an all-steel double-wishbone front suspension with coil-over shocks and stabilizer bar. In the rear, an independent rear double-wishbone suspension design with the coils located on the toe control link (offset spring and shock) with stabilizer bar improves ride quality and optimizes handling, especially on rough road terrain. Rancho® performance shocks are offered as standard equipment on the SE Off-Road model.
Powering the new Pathfinder is a standard 4.0-liter DOHC V6, rated at a class-leading 270 horsepower and 291 lb-ft torque. The new engine is part of Nissan's award-winning VQ engine series found in the 350Z, Maxima, Altima, Murano and Quest. The engine features a longer stroke than the 3.5-liter version (92.0 mm versus 81.4 mm) and has been specifically tuned for SUV and truck applications.
Like others in the VQ series, the new 4.0-liter version includes such advanced design features as Electronic Throttle Control with secondary mapping in 4LO (4x4 models), Continuous Valve Timing Control (C-VTC), Nissan variable Induction Control System (NICS), silent timing chain, microfinished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, molybdenum-coated pistons, resin intake manifold, digital knock control system, high capacity muffler, lightweight aluminum block and platinum-tipped spark plugs.
Every 2005 Pathfinder is equipped with a standard electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission. The transmission features a “super wide” gear ratio for good acceleration performance, while a Direct Control System helps provide smooth shift quality. Maximum towing capacity (if properly equipped) is rated at 6,000 pounds. An integrated tow hitch is standard on all 2005 Pathfinders.
Like the previous generations, the new Pathfinder is offered in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations. Pathfinder's available advanced All-Mode four-wheel drive system includes 2WD/AUTO/4H/4LO modes and electronically controlled transfer case. A Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system is standard.
Along with the more powerful engine, one of the major drivetrain enhancements for 2005 is the off-road traction system offered as standard on 4WD SE Off-Road models. It includes an advanced 4-Wheel Limited-Slip system, which helps limit wheel slip when starting on low traction surfaces.
The new Hill Descent Control (HDC) allows for going downhill without the constant application of the brake pedal. HDC must be engaged by the driver (via a switch) and is available only when the transfer case is engaged in 4HI or 4LO (it works in both forward and reverse). It can be activated at speeds up to 31 mph in 4HI and 15 mph in 4LO.
Hill Start Assist (HSA) allows the driver to stop on a slope, release the brake pedal and not roll back for up to two seconds. HSA is always active and is available in 2WD and 4WD 4HI and 4LO. HSA is designed for rugged, low-speed off-road driving situations. Other 2005 Pathfinder driveline components include engine-speed-sensitive power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake force Distribution.
Available wheels include standard 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (XE and SE) or off-road style 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (SE Off-Road) or 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels (LE). Available tire sizes include 245/75R16 (XE), 265/70R16 (SE), 265/75R16 (SE Off-Road) and 265/65R17 (LE).
The Pathfinder's list of safety features and equipment includes Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones, Nissan Advanced Air Bag System (which includes dual-stage front supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and a front occupant classification sensor), and 3-point front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters. Standard are 3-point seat belts for all rear seat occupants, including the 2nd row center position, the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat anchor system and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).
Also available are supplemental front seat side-impact air bags, and available roof-mounted supplemental curtain air bags for side impact and rollover protection for outboard passengers in all three rows.
A Choice of Four Well-Equipped Models
The all-new 2005 Pathfinder will be offered in a choice of four models: XE, SE, SE Off-Road and LE. Every model comes complete with standard three-row seating, 4.0-liter V6 and automatic transmission and in a choice of 4x2 or 4x4 configurations.
Along with the long list of standard features found on the Pathfinder XE, SE models add running boards, roof rack crossbars, fog lamps, front tow hook, fold flat front passenger sear, unique seat fabric, EZ-Clean cargo area, rear reading lamps, cargo net, first aid kit, body-color outside mirrors, 8-way power driver’s seat and 2nd row fold-down center armrest.
The SE Off-Road model adds off-road style aluminum-alloy wheels, painted front springs, Rancho performance shocks, unique blue seat fabric, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist (4WD models only), skid plates (lower radiator, oil pan and fuel tank, and transfer case on 4WD), dual-zone automatic temperature control, rear air conditioning with controller, adjustable pedals, digital compass, outside temperature gauge, leather steering wheel and shift knob, silver painted center cluster and “Off-Road” badge.
The 2005 Pathfinder LE includes many of the features found on the SE Off-Road model, plus 17-inch wheels and tires, heated outside mirrors, auto headlamps, power sunroof, HomeLink system, advanced Bose audio system with eight speakers and subwoofer, steering wheel audio switches, leather-appointed seats and door inserts, 4-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, driver memory package (seat, mirrors and pedals), wood grain trim and supplemental front seat side-impact air bags, and roof-mounted supplemental curtain air bags for side impact and rollover protection for outboard passengers in all three rows.
A number of option packages are also offered, including the SE Comfort Package, SE Premium Package, Off-Road Leather Package, SE/LE Mobile Entertainment System, LE Navigation Package and Air Bag Packages.
The new Pathfinder is assembled at Nissan's award-winning Smyrna, Tennessee manufacturing facility. Engines are supplied by Nissan’s nearby Decherd, Tennessee engine facility.