MOTOR vehicle launches this year have come thick and fast and 2013 is probably going to be the busiest yet.
The Johannesburg International Motor Show in the last quarter of the year is set to see a record number of vehicles launched.
However, motor companies can’t afford to sit on their hands in the meanwhile and the latest to offer two new models is Nissan.
What is it?
The Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 dCi 4×4 SE, which has had a few of the bells and whistles cut from the LE specification list, is now R100000 cheaper, yet does not suffer because of the cost-cutting exercise.
The vehicle – available with either a manual or automatic gearbox – still has all the qualities of a dependable 4×4 vehicle that is at home on the streets of Sandton or bundu-bashing on the Witwater Game Reserve in the Waterberg region near Namboomspruit, where the launch took place.
How does it look?
Nothing much has changed in the looks department and the vehicle has a contemporary styling that is still up to date and stylish.
For those who like to keep away from prying eyes, there’s privacy glass in the rear and seating for six and their luggage in a comfortable interior.
What’s it like to drive?
On and off road the Pathfinder is a capable vehicle that won’t let you down when the going gets tough, as we experienced on the rugged Witwater Game Reserve dirt tracks as well as in the abandoned Union Tin mine area in the Waterberg mountains.
Power comes from a 2.5-litre common rail turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 140kW at 4000rpm and 450Nm at 2000rpm.
The engine is mated to either a manual or automatic gearbox and All-Mode 4×4 – which provides intelligent four-wheel drive, a drive mode selector switch and Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS).
Ground clearance is fairly good and we only experienced bottoming through in really rough offroad situations.
Any special features?
We found the ABSL feature, which is unique, and is a development which found its way to the Pathfinder via the supersportscar, the Nissan GTR, good in offroad conditions.
ABLS redirects power to the driven wheels which have the most traction, using ABS wheel-speed sensors to detect a loss of traction in one or more of the driven wheels, applying braking force to the affected wheel or wheels to help slow them down.
Should you buy one?
Yes, that is if you want to save yourself at least some R100000 on the more expensive LE model.
In our opinion, the SE model does not lose much as far as options and extras are concerned and we wonder if Nissan aren’t cutting their own throats by offering this cheaper model.
Who wants to pay R594900 for the 2.5dCi 4×4 AT NAV LE model when the 2.5 dCi 4×4 SE model costs R450900?
Nissan Pathfinder 2.5 dCi 4×4 SE
Engine: 2.5 litre four-cylinder DOHC turbo diesel with intercooler
Power: 140kW at 4000rpm
Torque: 450Nm at 2000rpm
Top Speed: 186km/h
Fuel Consumption: 8.5l/100km (claimed combined)
We like: The price
We don’t like: Ground clearance could be better