2008 Nissan Pathfinder SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Pathfinder SUV


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Nissan Pathfinder Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 5.6 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 310 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder

  • The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder is fast on the street and capable in the dirt. But consumers just wanting a comfortable, seven-passenger midsize SUV will be better served by some competing models.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V6 and V8 engines, well-designed interior, ample storage and cargo space, high towing capacity, above-average off-road ability.

  • Cons

    Second- and third-row seats are cramped for adults, ride and handling not on par with car-based competitors.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder receives its biggest update since its last full redesign in '05. Most significantly, a V8 engine is available…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)

Used '08 pathfinder se v8

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder SE-V8 4dr SUV (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

We have a baby on the way and needed to upgrade from a Scion TC. My family only buys Nissan and have loved them. Her Pathfinder is really nice. It has 42K on it and has no squeaks or rattles. The 310 HP and 388 FT/LB Torque you can feel when the gas pedal is dropped to the floor. Just running around town in rush hour traffic it is getting 15.6 mpg. Which for a big V8 is to be expected. We bought an extended warranty that last for 3 YR or 36,000 miles. Will cost $50 for any issues that we have and Oil Changes are 50% off. Incredible vehicle and because it is a Nissan we will enjoy it for years to come.

Taking some getting used to

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder SE-V8 4dr SUV (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

Had a 04 Maxima that was fully loaded for 1yr 9 mos, major problems with it so traded for 08 Pathfinder. Loved the Maxima but Pathfinder is getting there. Went on vacation to IL from MS a day after I purchased. Drove great, gas mileage was awesome, and looks great. My son complained bc he had to ride in the 2nd row and he is 6'2', very noisy when you rolled the back windows down, and there was some hard switch over after you lifted your foot off the accelerator. The pricing was sufficient for the package

Nice contrast to a toyota

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder SE-V8 4dr SUV (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

Traded in an '04 T4R Sport with a V8 for this and I'm very happy. Having two T4Rs ('00 + '04) I was wary getting a Nissan but it's been a blast (so far). The V8 is extremely powerful yet is very thirsty (13-14 mpg in mixed driving) and likes premium fuel. Thankfully I have a very short commute. Interior is nicely laid out. Love the premium package features (back-up cam), stereo sounds good, iPod hook-up, automatic 4x4, dual-zone AC, etc. However, heated side mirrors should not be only for the leather pkg. Lame. Handles well but the T4R with X-REAS handled much better in turns. I too have the problems w/ the power seat controls getting touched while exiting the truck. It's a p.i.t.a.

Gas Mileage


  • 13
  • cty
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2008 Nissan Pathfinder Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder receives its biggest update since its last full redesign in '05. Most significantly, a V8 engine is available for the first time. Nissan has taken the 5.6-liter V8 from its full-size Armada SUV and made it optional in the Pathfinder. In this application, it makes 310 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque and also raises the Pathfinder's maximum towing capacity to 7,000 pounds. Inside, you'll find a revised interior with new gauges and cupholders and a larger center stack display screen. New or updated convenience features are also part of the deal, including a new navigation system with a hard-drive-based music storage unit. Visually, the '08 Pathfinder looks a bit different thanks to updated front and rear styling and new wheel designs.


The funny thing about the Nissan Pathfinder is how it seems to search for a new identity every few years. Born in the late 1980s as a rugged body-on-frame two-door meant for tackling trails, the Pathfinder morphed into a unit-bodied four-door with a creamy suspension by the later '90s. When the current Pathfinder came to market three years ago, it reflected Nissan's desire to make it all things to all people.

To please the off-road crowd, the Pathfinder returned to a sturdy, heavy body-on-frame platform derived from the full-size Titan pickup and Armada SUV. Nissan built in up to 9.1 inches of ground clearance, added a dedicated Off-Road trim level and offered both part- and full-time four-wheel-drive systems.

At the same time, Nissan wanted the Pathfinder to be suitable for mainstream multiple passenger transport. Its body is far larger than past models and contains seven standard seats arranged in three rows. In addition, both the second- and third-row seats fold flat into the floor, thanks to the use of an independent rear suspension.

These two approaches to midsize SUV design don't quite mesh with 100-percent effectiveness, however. The body-on-frame design is somewhat at odds with the sporty tuning of the steering and suspension, and the result is a somewhat stiff ride and heavy-handed handling. Additionally, both back rows are a bit cramped for adults.

For 2008, Nissan has made a number of updates in hopes of increasing the Pathfinder's appeal. Inside, the dash and center console have been revised for easier use and there are new cutting-edge convenience features such as Bluetooth connectivity and a switch to a hard-drive-based navigation system that can also be used to store music files. Finally, a strong new V8 has been made available to make hauling heavy loads even easier than before.

Although not perfect, the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder has a lot to offer. Compared to fellow body-on-frame rivals like the Toyota 4Runner, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chevy TrailBlazer, the Pathfinder scores near the top in performance, driving pleasure, interior design and value for the money. However, this jack-of-all-trades entry isn't well-suited to buyers who just want a comfortable, urban-based sport-ute with third-row seating. For those buyers, car-based midsize SUVs such as the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9, Saturn Outlook or Toyota Highlander would be better choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A midsize SUV, the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder comes in four trim levels: S, SE, SE Off-Road and LE. All but the 4WD-only SE Off-Road offer a choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive. The Pathfinder S starts off with 16-inch alloy wheels, power accessories, cruise control, keyless entry, air-conditioning and a CD stereo. The Pathfinder SE adds a roof rack, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver seat, a 7-inch screen with multi-information display, a back-up camera, dual-zone climate control and a CD/MP3 player with an auxiliary input jack. The SE Off-Road features exclusive off-road shocks and tires, skid plates, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, plus a moonroof and Bose stereo. The top-line Pathfinder LE shares the moonroof and stereo, then goes all the way with leather, wood trim and power seats. The new V8 engine can be ordered on the SE and LE only; both are equipped similarly to the V6 models but have 18-inch alloy wheels.

Major options include the SE Premium Package (moonroof, Bose stereo, HomeLink transceiver, automatic headlights), the SE Leather Package (leather, heated power seats), the LE's HDD Navigation Package (hard-drive-based navigation with a 9.3GB "Music Server," Bluetooth connectivity and keyless start), and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The Nissan Pathfinder is available with a choice of two powerful engines. The base 4.0-liter V6 produces 266 hp and 288 lb-ft of torque. The new 5.6-liter V8 comes can't beat Jeep's Hemi, but comes out ahead of V8s from Ford, GM, and Toyota with 310 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, raising the Pathfinder's towing capacity from 6,000 to 7,000 pounds. Both engines pair to a five-speed automatic transmission. The four-wheel-drive system on the LE V6 and all V8 models contains a full-time mode for all surfaces; all other 4WD Pathfinders use a part-time system. In testing, we found that a 4WD Pathfinder could do 0-60 mph in a brisk 7.0 seconds.


Every 2008 Nissan Pathfinder comes with antilock brakes and stability control. Only the LE comes with a full set of six airbags; all other models require buyers to order front-side airbags and full-length curtain airbags as an option package. In NHTSA testing, the Pathfinder earned four out of five stars for frontal-impact crash protection, and five stars for side protection in both the front and rear rows.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Pathfinder's interior is stylish, handsomely upholstered and ergonomically sound. The already friendly controls become more so this year as the Pathfinder adapts the navigation system in newer Nissans. The luxury quotient also rises thanks to new amenities like Intelligent Key, Bluetooth connectivity and a hard-drive-based music server.

The front seats are very comfortable, but the rear falls short on room for both feet and shoulders. Only kids will fit in the third row, and younger ones might have trouble entering the cabin to begin with, due to the high-mounted handles. Fortunately, both rear rows fold down perfectly flat to form a 79-cubic-foot cargo hold -- about average for the class.

Driving Impressions

Performance is vigorous even with the standard V6, so expect acceleration to be very impressive with the new V8. In addition, the responsive automatic transmission serves up crisp shifts at all the right times. Steering response is surprisingly sharp for a traditional body-on-frame SUV, such that the Pathfinder feels almost sporty in normal traffic situations. On the whole, though, this Nissan Pathfinder is less carlike than the last generation. It's heavier, and there's considerable body roll around corners, especially on SE Off-Road models, which are fitted with off-road-biased tires. In off-road situations, the Pathfinder's rugged underpinnings are advantageous, and it offers plenty of suspension travel on rutted trails. However, for the majority of buyers who won't be using it in this manner, the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder's compromises are undeniable compared to the many qualified crossover SUVs in this price range.

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