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Pathfinder Terrano 4x4
Nissan Pathfinder Terrano
Type: 4 door wagon, 2 door
"A great people and cargo hauler, but not
much of a trail rig"
The Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano
(same 4x4, different world markets) is one of the best built and
most reliable 4x4 vehicles on the market--and it has been pretty
much since its debut in 1986.
The first two generations of
Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano were stellar automobiles
overall--reliable, nimble, powerful, and stylish. They had a few
small problems, but they held up well, were able to rack up plenty
of miles, and made great all-around family cars.
this site, we review 4x4s, not cars. And while the Nissan Pathfinder
and Terrano is certainly a rock solid four wheel drive
automobile, it's not as much of a truck--or real world 4x4--as the
ads might suggest.
What the Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano has in car-like qualities,
it unfortunately lacks in 4x4 trail cred--which is
often the way it goes.
While the first generation was
box-like, truck derived, and solidly body-on-ladder-frame, the
second generation was redesigned from the ground up, rounded,
and converted to the dreaded (to four wheelers at least)
unibody construction. Yes, unibody is supposed to be as good as
a frame, but those on the trails know it's not the case.
It was still a solid vehicle, but from the second
generation onward the Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano was clearly
geared to the asphalt set, not off road types.
It's not that
the first and second generation Nissan Pathfinders were terrible off
road, because they're not. The components are tough, ground
clearance is adequate, most came with limited slip rear
differentials, and the part time, and later full time, four wheel
drive systems were proven and reliable.
But the focus on
car-like qualities--while doing wonders for Nissan Pathfinder
sales--meant fewer and fewer were bought and used for the purpose
purported in the commercials. And because of that, there were fewer
off road accessories for the Pathfinder, fewer mods, and fewer
When Nissan unveiled the once again all new and
completely redesigned Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano in 2005, the
vehicle was taken a step back toward its truck roots by going back to a body-on-ladder frame
This is due to the shared platform with other Made-in-America Nissan pickup trucks (all previous
Pathfinders were made in Japan). But independent tests in South Africa have shown the new
Pathfinder suffers in the traction department and can have
difficulty negotiating moderate trail obstacles. The older Nissan Pathfinders, even with
their unibody chassis, made better trail rigs thanks to solid axle rear ends.
Given Nissan's track record with reliability and
performance, the all new Pathfinder and Terrano will no doubt
be a great car--just perhaps not a great trail conquering 4x4.
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Nissan still makes
some of the most capable, purpose built trucks and 4x4s out there,
but the Pathfinder and Terrano are today more suited to on road
driving than off road adventure.