New Nissan models destined for Europe, to be unveiled at next month’s Paris motor show, include a seven seater Pathfinder SUV all but identical to the US-built version, the Murano crossover with the 350Z sportscar’s V6 engine and a revised Patrol offroader.

The 2003 X-trail fuel cell vehicle will also be shown for the first time in Europe alongside the 350Z roadster re-specified for the continent.

Due to go on sale in March 2005, the Pathfinder sports utility vehicle is a new addition to Nissan Europe’s growing four-wheel drive line up and is said to be inspired by the Dunehawk concept car displayed at the Frankfurt motor show in 2003.

The interior provides three rows of seats, with the second and third rows folding flat to create a large load area.

A Nissan Europe statement did not say where it is building the European Pathfinders but recent media reports have suggested that they will be made at the firm’s Spanish plant.

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While US-spec models assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee, get a new four-litre V6 petrol engine built in nearby Decherd, European versions get a new 2.5-litre ‘YD’ series four-cylinder turbo diesel engine with second-generation common rail fuel injection for lower emissions and a new balancer shaft system for greater refinement. It is claimed to develop category-leading power and torque while also providing outstanding fuel economy.

The model comes with an enhanced version of the all mode 4×4 transmission fitted to European X-trail models, allowing drivers to choose between four different settings with the twist of a selector switch, rather than a separate ‘range’ gear lever.

Nissan will offer a rear-view parking camera – as pioneered on Primera – and the intelligent key system which allows the doors to be unlocked and the engine started without having to insert the key into a lock.

Xenon headlamps, a premium audio system, satellite navigation with traffic message channel (TMC) and voice recognition, leather upholstery, dual zone climate control in the front and air conditioning in the rear are available.

The European version of the Murano is powered by an adapted version of the 3.5-litre VQ V6 engine from the 350Z coupe and roadster. Nissan Europe claims the Murano has proved to be a huge hit in North America where it has been on sale for more than a year.

More than 1,600 changes have been made to the US specification Murano to suit the European market but these were not detailed in a Nissan statement.

Nissan claims the Murano’s continuously variable automatic transmission with six speed manual mode is unique in the SUV’s segment. This model also has the all mode switch-controlled 4×4 system.

There will be just one version of the Murano on sale in Europe  with a high standard equipment level including satellite navigation with TMC, colour rear-view parking camera, Bose sound system, bi-xenon headlamps and leather interior.

The Murano will go on sale early in 2005 across Europe but prices and specification will not be announced until the Paris show, when the order book will open.

The Patrol has exterior changes and an upgraded interior.

There’s a new ‘face’, a new-look rear end and a new integrated side step, while revisions to the 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine give more power and torque. The ‘GR’ tag will be dropped from the name.

The revised Primera range of medium-size sedan, hatchback and station wagon models, built in Britain, will also be on display in Paris.

Nissan to unveil Euro-spec Pathfinder, Murano and 350Z roadster in Paris