The big American-built supercharged hybrid model joined the Australian Pathfinder line-up late last year, entering the range as a stand-in for the usual diesel option.
The Hybrid’s introduction represented a significant change in strategy: in the case of the previous Pathfinder, diesel was eventually the only option. But, with no new diesel model available anywhere in the world, Nissan Australia's choices for a green Pathfinder option were now limited to hybrid only.
If reported changes to Nissan’s Pathfinder plan in the US are any indication, we may yet lose that option too.
According to overseas outlets Automotive News and Car & Driver, production of the Pathfinder Hybrid for the US market ended in January, with only existing inventory available until recently when stocks had at last been depleted.
Speaking with Automotive News, Nissan USA spokesperson Dan Bedore said that the hybrid model’s absence will not have a significant impact on the Pathfinder range in the US.
“The hybrid was never a big part of Pathfinder sales,” Bedore said. “Our emphasis has been on the traditionally-powered Pathfinder, which is really the heart of the market for that segment [in the US].”
Does this mean the end of the road for the greenest Pathfinder option in Australia?
The Hybrid makes up just 9.5 percent of all local Pathfinder sales, which sit at 2261 year-to-date (end of May; June figures still to come). By comparison, the petrol-only Kluger has notched up more than twice as many sales at 5224 YTD.
But, for those interested in a fuel-efficient SUV with an urban focus and a big cabin - bigger even than fellow seven-seater, the Kluger - this variant has its place.
For now, there are no planned changes to the Pathfinder Hybrid's place in Nissan's Australian line-up.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Nissan Australia’s communications manager Peter Fadeyev HAS confirmed that the Pathfinder Hybrid is still in production for our market - along with others outside of North America - and that will remain unchanged.