from the November 1986 issue of Car and Driver.
not you need This vehicle. life would like Proceed to you without Nissan Pathfinder in it. In the form of you can Can’t go a day without taking out your Swiss Army Knife.
But what if an unexpected urge comes upon you in a little woodland? Or to sink in the sand? Suppose you suddenly need to saw through a snowbank? How can you punch a canyon, or bore a boulder, or file an awl, if you don’t have such a versatile little utensil on your hip?
Doing all this is the so-called game-utilities. Chevy’s S-10 Blazer, Ford’s Bronco II, Jeep’s Cherokee, Toyota’s 4Runner, Mitsubishi’s Montero, Dodge’s Raider, Isuzu’s Trooper II—almost everyone is making compact sport-utilities now, and Nissan studies shows that about 489,000 were sold here in 1985. ‘ have become popular because they offer so many automotive capabilities in a small, sleekly cornered device. Commuting, camping, conveying, cruising, carousing: With a car like this, everyone feels prepared for everything. It doesn’t matter that the owner never really takes advantage of all the possibilities. that the possibilities are ThereNeatly folded, always ready, that’s what makes these little “utes” so charming.
So tempting that finally Nissan, which claims the title of number-one importer in combined car and truck sales, has fielded its first US-market sport-utility vehicle. Available only in the US (though, unlike Nissan’s pickup trucks, it will be built only in Japan), the new Pathfinder is basically a six-month-old, new-generation “hardbody” pickup with an integral sheetmetal enclosure at the rear. , It was styled simultaneously with the new truck (in Nissan’s California studio), is built on an only slightly modified short-wheelbase truck chassis, and offers most of the truck’s optional hardware: fuel-injected V-6 engine, four-wheel drive, brush guard, etc. Nissan is taking great pains, though, to make sure no one thinks of the Pathfinder as a truck,
According to market research, sport-utility buyers are a more advanced group than truckers. They have more schooling, they earn more, their lifestyle is more sophisticated. They are also big. All of this means that while they can buy trucks to get the tough cars they want, they want really tough cars.
Ergo, the Pathfinder has coil instead of semi-elliptic leaf springs above its rear axle, for a smoother ride. The interior is very car like and exceptionally spacious both front and rear. The highest of the three available trim levels offers features such as electrically adjustable windows, mirrors and shock absorbers. Power steering is standard on all models, as is part-time 4WD. Nissan expects about 75 percent of Pathfinder buyers will choose the 140-hp 3.0-liter 300ZX-derived V-6. In contrast, nearly four out of five of the company’s pickups are sold with the 106-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder.
The Pathfinder’s selling points include the longest wheelbase in the field, the widest cargo area, and the largest optional factory-available tires: Size 31×10.5R-15, they put more than eight inches of tread on the road and measure over 30 inches are in range.
At a brief, rather carefully conducted press introduction in California’s San Bernardino Mountains, we confirmed that the Pathfinder does indeed ride almost as smoothly and quietly as a normal passenger car on paved roads and as comfortable and civilized on unpaved roads. Sets a new standard for. , For the driver, visibility, steering feel and overall handling are all satisfactory, considering the vehicle’s core objectives. it’s not at all Fast The vehicle, despite the power but torquey V-6, has little trouble getting the rear end out at will. Passengers, and that includes back-seaters, can really enjoy the ride, thanks to soft springing and ample leg- and headroom.
We weren’t able to try anything quite like the rock-riddled Rubicon, but we feel safe saying that, for the roughest back-country byways the typical owner is likely to tackle, the Nissan will be perfectly satisfactory. And, since 99 miles out of every 100 are likely to be on asphalt or concrete, the way this new sport-utility codes its crew should make it a winner.
Even for those who are not in the Swiss Army.
1987 nissan pathfinder
Vehicle Type: Front-Engine, Rear/Four-Wheel-Drive, 5-Passenger, 3-Door Wagon
2.4-liter inline-4 or 3.0-liter V-6, iron block and aluminum heads
Displacement: 146–181 inches32389–2960 cm3
Power: 106–140 hp
5-speed manual, 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 104.3 Inch
Length: 171.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3500–3900 lb
EPA Fuel Economy
City: 15-16 mpg