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by Daniel DeGasperi

The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid has made its debut at the 2013 New York auto show, mating a supercharged petrol engine with an electric motor.

The unique hybrid system replaces the V6 petrol engine found under the bonnet of the regular new-generation Nissan Pathfinder with a 2.5-litre supercharged four-cylinder unit.

Sandwiched between the petrol engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) – where a torque converter would usually go for an automatic transmission – is a 15kW electric motor, boosting total outputs to “around” 186kW of power and 329Nm of torque.

A Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch System provides a clutch plate both between the petrol engine and electric motor, and inside the CVT. According to the Japanese manufacturer the system “efficiently manages power from both the electric motor and the gas engine”.

The electric motor also acts as a generator to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack, which is located beneath the third row seats at the rear of the car. Both cabin space and luggage space is unaffected in the Pathfinder Hybrid compared with a regular V6 petrol or diesel variant.

A 4.2-inch colour monitor shows power readings, including regenerative braking – harnessing energy when coasting or braking – battery charge levels and power distribution between motors.

Nissan claims a 785km range on a single tank thanks to combined fuel consumption of 9.1L/100km – or about 1L/100km less than the petrol-only, front-wheel-drive Honda MDX that also made its debut at the show.

Yet the Pathfinder Hybrid maintains full four-wheel-drive capability, incorporating Nissan’s All Mode 4×4-I system with 2WD, Auto and 4WD Lock modes. Depending on the spec level, 18-, 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels are available. The Hybrid also has a 1600kg towing capacity.

The Nissan Pathfinder Hybrid can be identified by LED rear tail lights and Nissan PureDrive badgework. Inside, it maintains the EZ Flex Seating System that made its debut on the regular new-generation model.

The system tilts the centre bench forward when it slides to enhance entry and egress to the rearmost two seats.

Other features carry over from the regular models, including around view monitor and a tri-zone entertainment system.

Although the Nissan Pathfinder is expected in Australia in V6 petrol and diesel spec later this year, the hybrid is, for now, built only in left-hand-drive for the North American market.




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