The Nissan Pathfinder is classified as a CUV or Crossover Utility Vehicle and is built by Nissan Motors. Production of this vehicle began in 1985 and its overall design is derived from Nissan’s compact pickup truck platform. This vehicle falls between Nissan’s Murano and Armada in terms of its size, but in terms of price it falls between the Xterra and Murano. The Pathfinder’s traditional Japanese competitor is the Toyota 4Runner. The first generation Pathfinder was initially introduced as a 2-door SUV and it shared the same styling and many components with the Nissan Hardbody Truck.
This vehicle was built on a ladder-type frame and was Nissan’s response to the Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Cherokee, and Ford Bronco. The Nissan Bushmaster is the Pathfinder’s predecessor and it is an aftermarket conversion of the Datsun Truck. One of the most unique features that this vehicle offered was an optional 4-wheel drive system that could be engaged electronically while the vehicle was moving, using a 4-speed automatic transmission. All of the WD21 Pathfinder models could be purchased with both 2 and 4-wheel drive configurations. The base models came with a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine. In various countries, the Pathfinder could also be purchased with a 2.7 L I4 Diesel Engine called the TD27 with optional turbocharger installer in November of 1988.
The first generation Pathfinder was sold only in Nissan Bluebird Shops in Japan, where the Nissan Terrano nameplate was used instead of the Pathfinder name. In Japan, this vehicle was slightly smaller and while it was based heavily on the Hardbody truck, the rear five link coil suspension came from the Safari in order to enhance its off-road abilities. The 2-door version of this vehicle shared a similar appearance with the second generation Nissan EXA and was installed with the VG30E Nissan V6, which is also found in the Fairlady Zx.
The second generation Pathfinder was first introduced in 1995 with more round styling and was completely redesigned from the first generation. The first generation vehicle used a body on frame configuration, while the second generation vehicles used a unibody construction. The engine in these vehicles was upgraded to the VG33E, which was capable of 168 horsepower and 196 pound-feet of torque. Some changes were made to the 1999 model and the 2001 model brought with it a new and more powerful V6 engine that was capable of 240 horsepower. With the larger engine, the size of the second gen pathfinder also increased, paving the way for the compact Xterra.
A significant facelift was given to the Pathfinder for the 1999.5 model with a new front and rear fascia. This vehicle got yet another facelift in 2001, which is when the updated Nissan logo was used and a bolder style grille as well. There were numerous variants of the Pathfinder, including the Infiniti QX4, which is a mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle that was introduced in September of 1996. This vehicle used the same unibody construction as the Pathfinder and was released around the same time that the Acura SLX and Lexus LX 450 were launched.
The third generation Pathfinder was revealed to the public in August of 2003 in Frankfurt to preview this vehicle’s new design. It wasn’t until 2004 that the completely redesigned Pathfinder was introduced to the public at the North American International Auto Show. The Pathfinder was again facelifted in 2008 and debuted at the Chicago Auto Show in 2007. In 2010, another facelifted version of this vehicle was displayed to the public at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. This time, the vehicle was available with a Nissan 3.0 liter V6 Turbodiesel V9X engine, which was capable of producing up to 240 horsepower.