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Nissan introduces 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid SUV with FF hybrid system; 24% improvement in fuel economy over conventional

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2014 Pathfinder Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Nissan introduced the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show. The new hybrid—which uses Nissan’s new FF hybrid system (earlier post)—will be available in three fully equipped trim levels when it joins the lineup in late summer 2013. It is expected to be priced at around $3,000 more than Pathfinder 3.5-liter V6 models.

Fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg (9.0 l/100 km) combined, an increase of 24% over the standard Pathfinder. Estimated city fuel economy is 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km), while highway mileage is estimated at 27 mpg (8.7 l/100km). With the Pathfinder Hybrid’s 19.5-gallon fuel tank, the same as non-hybrid models, driving range is estimated at more than 526 miles (847 km).

For the Hybrid version, Pathfinder’s standard 3.5-liter V6 is replaced by a new supercharged 2.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor paired with a compact Li-ion battery. The 15 kW electric motor and gas engine work in tandem to provide performance similar to the conventional Pathfinder. The system is rated at 250 net hp (186 kW) and 243 lb-ft (329 N·m) of torque—versus the 3.5-liter V6’s 260 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque.

The hybrid system also uses a Nissan Intelligent Dual Clutch System (one motor / two clutch parallel system). Positioned between the gasoline engine and the next-gen Xtronic CVT (where the torque converter would normally be), the motor also functions as a generator, conveying energy from the CVT to the battery upon deceleration. One clutch is installed between the gasoline engine and the electric motor, the other within the CVT.

The Li-ion battery is fitted under the 3rd row seat, preserving Pathfinder’s 2nd row sliding functionality and easy access to the 3rd row. A regenerative braking system automatically recharges the battery by converting the vehicle’s kinetic energy that would be otherwise lost in braking.

Pathfinder offers selectable 2WD, Auto or 4WD Lock modes for its available ALL-MODE 4x4-i system. The system lets the driver choose full-time 2WD for maximum fuel economy, Auto mode to automatically monitor conditions and adjust the balance of power between front and rear wheels for best traction, or 4WD Lock mode when the confidence of full-time 4WD is desired. In addition, standard Hill Start Assist helps add control when starting and driving away on a steep incline (both 4WD and 2WD models).

Hybrid-equipped Pathfinders retain the ability to tow boats, jet skis, trailers and a variety of other recreational gear with standard towing capacity of 3,500 pounds (when properly equipped).

The Pathfinder Hybrid is the first of several upcoming Nissan hybrid models.

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