2005 Nissan Pathfinder Preview
Old school SUV, new school capability
Page 1: Introduction
DETROIT, MI - President Clinton hadn't yet dallied with Monica Lewinsky and was battling Senator Bob Dole for leadership of the United States when last the Nissan Pathfinder was redesigned. Heck, we barely knew Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey. And most automakers were just starting to get the hang of building a decent, family-friendly SUV, having given Ford a five-year lead with the runaway hit, the Explorer.
When that 1996 Nissan Pathfinder arrived, it was highly regarded for its blend of off-road capability and on-road handling, and it represented a quantum leap over the durable but agrarian original Pathfinder that it replaced, which itself was nearly a decade old. The '96 Pathfinder drove more like a car than a truck on pavement, and in the dirt it drove more like a truck than a car. But except for minor changes to keep it competitive, Nissan did not update the Pathfinder much…until now.
The 2005 Nissan Pathfinder is completely redesigned, based on the automaker's new F-Alpha truck frame, which it shares with the all-new Nissan Frontier. This is a fully boxed steel frame, strong and sturdy for towing and tough going. The Pathfinder isn't a crossover suv, despite its front and rear double-wishbone suspension setup. In fact, it's equipped with skid plates to protect the underside from the terrain it's built to conquer.
Of course, the two-wheel-drive version is best kept finding well-traveled paths. Four-wheel-drive models are equipped with Nissan's All-Mode 4WD system that includes four settings: rear-wheel-drive, automatic 4WD, 4WD High and 4WD Low. A sophisticated off-road traction control system helps the 2005 Nissan Pathfinder grip Mother Earth.