Nissan Terrano/Nissan PathFinder – Your Multi Terrain Companion

by on December 12, 2010

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The Nissan Terrano also known as the Nissan Pathfinder was first introduced in the market in the year 1986. It is a five door 7 seater SUV ideal for families. The vehicle is not at its stylish best but is a reasonable comfortable and affordable one among the other nissan cars.

Generations of the Nissan Terrano:

First Generation Nissan Pathfinder Series (1986–1995):

The first generation Nissan Terrano which belonged to the WD21 series was similar in style and components to the Nissan Hardbody Truck. Initially, the Terrano had a two door body which was introduced in the US and was available till 1989. Later, in 1990, it started coming with a four door body. In the 4 door version of this luxury SUV, the door handles of the vehicle were designed in such a way that they remained hidden to give it the appearance of a two door truck. Only the front door handles were made visible. This design can still be found in some Nissan SUVs even today like the Nissan Xterra and Nissan Armada.

The Terrano of the first generation however had some disadvantages. The frame behind and above the rear wheels and the seats at the back were prone to rusting. The transmission cooler used to get clogged and replacement was quite expensive.

As a result, some up gradation was done to this 7 passenger SUV in 1990. The 4-door model was first introduced in this year. The exteriors as well as the interiors were improvised. In 1993, another up gradation was done wherein the vehicles got a third light for the brake.

Nissan Pathfinder

Nissan Pathfinder

Second Generation Series (1996–2004):

The second generation of this vehicle came under the R50 series. There was a total change in design compared to the first generation. The body was made to a unibody construction. There was also an improvement on the engine. It was a 168 hp and 196 lb•ft torque. In 2001, the engine was further upgraded to 240 hp V6 engine. To incorporate all these, the vehicle itself was made bigger in size. In Japan and Europe, diesel versions for this SUVs were used.

From 2002 onwards, Terrano was not sold in Japan anymore and now it is available in Europe, Middle East and North America. It was in this year that the present Nissan logo was used in this vehicle.

Third Generation Searies (2005-Present):

The third generation Nissan Terrano was known as the R51 Series and was first seen in the 2004 North American International Auto Show. These vehicles were incorporated with a 4.0 L V6 engine. In 2005, when the vehicle was again redesigned, it became popular by the name ‘Pathfinder’. In the 2005 model, a new third row of seats was introduced for to this Nissan Terrano to accommodate more people. In 2007, the Terrano was remodeled with the V8 engine which was more powerful and efficient.

Facelift to Nissan Terrano in 2010:

At the Geneva Motor Show of 2010, a new Terrano with a 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel engine was introduced. This version of the vehicle was more environment friendly emitted less CO2 compared to earlier versions.

The vehicle also received a facelift in its design of the front and rear parts. A new bonnet, a new sporty looking bumper assembly and revised grilled were some of the changes made to the front side of the SUV. 18 inch alloy wheels replaced the earlier 16 inch steel and alloy wheels.

Nissan Terrano Equipments as it evolved:

The 1995 models had black roof pillars and black interior trim. The SLX models of the seven passenger  Terrano had body colored bumpers and driver’s seat was adjustable. Then came the wood trim dash, special seat fabric, front fog lights and alloy wheels. The door locking system was improved and wheel arches were widened. In the April 2002 version, CD player, passenger airbag, 16 inch alloy wheels, audio controls, leather trim and active front head chains were introduced. The vehicles now have air conditioning, door mirrors, CD player with remote on steering wheel, electric windows, third row bench seat and many more exciting features. The vehicle is also equipped with roof rails, electric glass sunroof, a CD autochanger, leather upholstery, headlamp washers and heated front seats.

Performance and Handling:

The seven seater Nissan Terrano has been powered by three different engines at three different times. From 1993 to 2001, the 2.4 liter 100bhp petrol engine was used. It was not very fast but was quite a relaxed one in normal motorway pace. In 1996, the diesel engine of 2.7 liter capacity which was already around was improved greatly. The engine was then provided with an inter cooler. This engine however, was noisy and was a tad slow. Since 2002, a stronger 3.0Di engine is being used. Terrano is a sturdy off-roader on account of its long travel suspension and low ratio gear box. On the road, it does not match up to its rivals though due to hazy steering and a noisy gear change.

Comfort and Reliability:

The seats of the Terrano are comfortable enough but legroom is very less compared to other similar vehicles. Shoulder room is also less. The interiors are not upto the mark. The plastics used are not of standard quality. The vehicle gives a lot of road noise and during windy conditions. The Terrano however, is very strong in build and gives a very good mileage.

Safety Features of the Terrano:

The Terrano has been equipped with airbags at the front and sides and front seats have operational head restraints. Some more improvement need to be done on the safety front for the vehicle but it still has the basic safety features.

Drawbacks of Nissan Terrano:

The driving position of the Terrano is not that great inspite of decent all around visibility. The driver does not get enough space and the legroom is also not that large. The adjustment of the steering wheel height also does not make the driver very comfortable.


The Terrano is a quite affordable 7 seat SUV ideal for families. Although not very popular like the Cherokee or Discovery, the vehicle still enjoys its own advantages. It meets the requirements of most families with its accommodation and reliability among the other nissan 7 seater cars.

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