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 Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 310 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 12/18 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 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (18 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


100,000 miles and 0 (zero)

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

This has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. My wife uses it to commute between Denver and Grand Is. Nebraska and she puts about 1,000 a week on it. We have towed over 5,000 lbs for 2,000 miles; excellent, it averages 17.8 mpg, has had no mechanical failures, and is still on the original brake pads and rotors with no warpage! I don't baby it, and I have to floor it often for that happy feeling. It rips in a straight line!. Seriously folks, this has been a great ride and will be for the next 100,000, I have no doubt of that.




What happend to the pathfinder?

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE-V8 4dr SUV 4WD (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

I have owed 3 Nissans. My first was a 2000 LE pathfinder and this was the best of the the 3. Sturdy, off road, luxury..had everything. I owned my 2000 for 9 yrs no problems. I made a mistake getting an 08 fully loaded v8 LE pathfinder. It squeaked rattled and steering and handling was horrible. I felt every bump in the steering wheel and I took off road once….big mistake. It rattled horribly in the frame, door panels everything. They turned the pathfinder into a soccer mom’s minivan! I traded in the v8 patty for a new 2010 off road xterra. Much sturdier vehicle (less rattles) but has no options. Too bad the xterra doesn't have the options of the pathfinder. It would be a perfect SUV!




Excellent vehicle

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE-V8 4dr SUV 4WD (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

I purchased my vehicle used and it's been more than reliable. I had a terrible front end accident with it and it saved my life and that of my passenger. My pathfinder did what it was built to do and that was to protect the people in it. The repair shop mechanics were in awe that it could take such a beating and still be a sound enough vehicle that they recommend the rebuild rather than to right it off. I have owned new vehicles every two years for the last 40 years and this is the most reliable constant vehicle that I have ever owned. I find it comfortable a little rough sometimes, but it is built on a truck frame so what do you expect. I would recommend this vehicle it's quality built.




Rattle box

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE-V8 4dr SUV 4WD (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

I bought my v8 pathfinder used. I was sold on the cheap price and options and I liked the V8. However, I was quickly disappointed. It started to rattle right away. The dash and door pannles are very cheap. I was also disappointed with the ground clearance it had with the bumpers and overhangs. It is not an off road vehicle! I went and traded it in on a new xterra and that was even a bigger mistake. Brand new and it rattles and squeaks. I am disappointed with Nissan. They have went down hill in quality. I will never buy a nissan again. I hope other readers will read this and not make the same mistake.




Great suv

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Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE-V8 4dr SUV 4WD (5.6L 8cyl 5A)

love this SUV. Great power and very reliable. No problems so far with 50k miles. It has so much power and the options are amazing. I drove some other SUVs and no comparison. The patty has more space, more power, more options.The v8 can tow anything and great for on and off road.




Very reliable

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

I have had my v8 pathfinder for 2yrs and it has been great! The power and performance is amazing! Great options and no problems. I test drove other SUVs and there was no comparison. The pathfinder had more power than any v8 out there. The gas mileage is better than expected. It gets about 15 in the city. Well worth the v8 for 1 or 2mpg difference.



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.

Introduction

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.

Safety

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.

Talk About The 2008 Pathfinder

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 12
  • cty
/
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs