The History Of Nissan Terrano

For the model marketed as Nissan Terrano II in Europe, see Nissan Mistral.

The Nissan Pathfinder and Terrano were originally compact SUVs and they are now mid-size SUVs. Where as the Pathfinder is sold in North America, the name first introduced in late 1986, elsewhere in the world the vehicle was known as the Terrano. The first generation Pathfinder/ Terrano platform is known as the WD21. The second generation Pathfinder platform is known as the R50, and the third generation is known as the R51. The Pathfinder is slotted in size between the Murano and Armada or Patrol, but in price between the Xterra and Murano.

The North American first generation Pathfinder came in two different bodies, and shared styling and most components with the Nissan Hardbody Truck. In the US from 1986.5 to 1989 Pathfinders came in a two door body. In early 1990 it became a four door in the United States. Some US 1990 Pathfinder's came with the two door body, but they are rare. The 2-door version was available in Canada until 1992. From 86.5 to 1989 Pathfinders were available with either the Nissan VG30I V6 (145hp (108kW), 180lb·ft (244N·m) torque), or the Z24(106hp (79kW)) I4. In 1990 the V6 received an upgrade from throttle body injection to a multi point fuel injection system. This engine was known as the VG30E, and was rated at 153hp (114kW) and 180lb·ft (244N·m) torque. Also in 1990, the Z24 was replaced with the KA24E. The first generation continued until 1995. This generation also came out in the 2.7l I4 Diesel Engine known as the TD27 with the option of a turbocharger to increase the power rating.

The first generation pathfinders are (in salted road locales) notorious for the frame above and behind the rear wheels rusting away and killing such a fine vehicle.


A facelift occurred in 1990 when the 4-door model arrived. When the 2-door model disappeared from Canada in 1992, the Pathfinder was sold only as a 4-door in 1993, and the bumper got a minor facelift that time.

The second generation was introduced in 1996 with more rounded styling. The second generation Pathfinder was completely redesigned from the first generation, switching from body on frame construction to unibody construction. The engine was upgraded to the VG33E, with 168hp (125kW) and 196lb·ft (266N·m) torque. For the 1999 1/ 2 model year, the Pathfinder was freshened. 2001 brought a new 240hp (179kW) V6 engine, the VQ35DE. With its facelift, the Pathfinder also grew in size, making way for the compact Xterra.


The Pathfinder was facelifted in 2000, and then again in 2002, when it switched to a newer grille. Another facelift occurred in 2003, when the current Nissan logo was added and received a bolder grille versus the 2002 model.

At the 2004 North American International Auto Show, Nissan unveiled a completely redesigned Pathfinder for the 2005 model year. The new R51 Pathfinder uses the Nissan F-Alpha platform, and is powered by a 4.0L V6 engine VQ40DE (270hp (201kW), 291lb·ft (395N·m)) or a 2.5L YD25DDTi (174hp (130kW), 297lb·ft (403N·m)) Turbo Diesel.

Until 2005, most Pathfinders were built in Japan, but the new Pathfinder is built in the USA at Smyrna, Tennessee and in Spain, near Barcelona. The American plant produces left-hand-drive, auto-only petrol vehicles for their own market, and rest-of-world output comes from Spain.

In late 2003, a full-size SUV, the Pathfinder Armada, debuted. Although they share a common name, they have little similarity and use different platforms. The "Pathfinder" prefix was dropped for 2005, leaving just the name "Armada".

The Pathfinder is sold as the Terrano in many markets outside of North America. In 2005, when the redesigned Pathfinder was released the Pathfinder name became international as it sold worldwide. These were the first to be sold in the UK.

2008 Facelift

The facelifted 2008 Nissan Pathfinder debuted at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show, and added new models with a V8 engine from the related Nissan Titan.

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