The 2010 Geneva auto show, which will open next week, is not usually the place to spot newfangled bakkies and SUVs but Nissan will be showing off its upgraded Navara and Pathfinder ranges that have been boosted by Renault turbodiesel power.
Pathfinder, Navara get V6 TDI
Considering the boundless popularity of the Navara in southern Africa, the improvements to both it and the five-door Pathfinder SUV should intrigue local buyers.
From a styling perspective very little has changed – with some stylised high-end wheel options on the Pathfinder being about as much of a muchness as you need to know about.
New ten-blade, 18-inch, alloy wheels will appeal to urban SUV owners.
Pathfinder bigger outside, Navara much better inside
If you are a particularly astute Navara/Pathfinder owner you’ll notice the slightly-revised bonnet fronted by a reshaped grill, framed by new projector headlights on Pathfinder. The facelift is underscored by restyled bumpers, which add 80mm to the Pathfinder’s overall vehicle length.
Cabin upgrades include new trim, upholstery, chromed highlights, restyled dials and thoroughly contemporary switchgear.
We’re heartened to see a proliferation of steering-wheel satellite controls for Navara, an area that was dating quite badly in compared to rivals.
Touch-screen navigation and a rear-view parking camera will be optional on the Pathfinder, enabled by the screen resolution capability of the new centre console.
New centre console's increased digitisation a welcome boon. Ventilation
controls much improved too.
Big bakkie, big power
Nissan is obviously keen to meet the bakkie market’s biggest shakeup in decades (the pending introduction of VW’s Amarok) with a commensurate increase in performance from its own offering, the Navara double-cab.
Subsequently the current 2.5 dCi four-cylinder engine benefits from increased outputs and is joined by a Renault sourced 3l compression ignition V6.
Thanks to some fiddling by Nissan’s engineers the 2.5 dCi now has an extra 13kW and 47Nm, boosting peak outputs to 141kW and 450Nm. These numbers beat those of the most powerful incarnation of Amarok’s 2.0 TDI engine.
A Renault sourced 3.0l V6 will now headline the diesel side of the Navara/Pathfinder range, producing 173kW and 550Nm – whilst the current 4l V6 engine is carried over.
Beyond its larger (utilitarian) Patrol sibling and Toyota's Cruiser, the Pathfinder
has the best towing capability of any Japanese SUV.
Proper towing capability
The surge in power courtesy of the 3.0 V6 significantly ramps up Pathfinder’s braked towing capacity to 3.5t, enabling it to join the Land Rover Defender/Discovery 4 league of big-rig towing.
Not to be outdone by its SUV sibling, Navara double-cab will now see off a 3t braked trailer with ease.
The handsome double-cab bakkie also benefits from a neat dynamic safety upgrade in the shape of Pathfinder sourced ESP brake actuated chassis stability control.
The updated Pathfinder and Navara models are set to on sale in Europe from April.
Expect them to arrive locally in the third quarter, although the sophisticated nature of Renault's 3l V6 turbocharged engine, especially considering its compression ignition format, might preclude it from the local market at first - where diesel fuel quality is still vacillating at best.