The newest addition to Nissan’s acclaimed VQ series of engines adds power and torque without compromising fuel efficiency.
The new VQ35DD engine in 2017 Pathfinder is based on the proven 2016 Pathfinder engine, but it uses more than 50% new or new-to-Pathfinder engine parts and components — including the fuel injection system, combustion chamber design, pistons, intake manifold, and intake valve timing control.
“Like every area of a vehicle, engines evolve. The key in doing so successfully is in understanding where you are going with the changes,” said Michael Bunce, vice president, Product Planning, Nissan North America, Inc. “With the new Pathfinder, the goal wasn’t to add raw power, it was to enhance driving feel and confidence across the entire rpm range — whether merging on a freeway on-ramp or pulling a trailer full of watercraft up to a mountain lake.”
WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD
The changes begin with the cylinder block. The engine is now cast with a molten iron coating layer (mirror-like finish) on the surface of the cylinder bores. This process, called mirror bore coating, reduces friction between the piston ring and the cylinder wall of each cylinder. Just as important, it eliminates the need for the traditional cast iron cylinder liners (six total), thus making the aluminum cylinder lighter by around three pounds.
“While three pounds might not seem like much outside of racing applications, it allows additional componentry to be added without increasing overall weight,” explained Bunce.
Along with the new combustion chamber design, the engine features new pistons, a new air intake system — which enhances torque and horsepower — and new fully electronic valve timing on the intake side. An electric motor fitted to the valve timing system varies timing continuously to help improve power, driveability, and fuel economy, and to reduce emissions.
The engine also adopts Nissan’s Direct Injection Gasoline system, which provides better wide-open throttle performance and improved fuel economy and emissions performance (versus a non-direct-injection system). The system injects fuel directly into the combustion chamber rather than into the intake port. The designated shape of the piston head controls the injected fuel flow to the spark plug. This introduces concentrated fuel around the spark plug, reducing the time needed to burn the fuel. This also helps eliminate residual fuel buildup, resulting in cleaner exhaust.
The compression ratio has also been raised to 11.0:1 (from the previous 10.3:1).
MORE PERFORMANCE WITHOUT SACRIFICING EFFICIENCY
The changes increase engine output to 284 hp at 6400 rpm (from the previous 260 hp) and 259 lb-ft of torque at 4800 rpm (up from 240 lb-ft). The result is more responsive acceleration and re-acceleration when entering highways or passing. And, while adding more horsepower and torque, Pathfinder fuel economy estimates remain 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined for 2WD models.
Stop in and check out the new 2017 Nissan Pathfinder at Nissan of LaGrange, where You Come First.