By KBB.com Editors
Nissan's mid-size Pathfinder SUV offers room for five, plenty of power for towing and hauling and a progressive design that is both stylish and rugged. While car-based crossover SUVs are growing in popularity, there is still a large segment of the population that wants a sturdy body-on-frame design, which provides a more capable off-road platform and the ability to tow heavy loads. Until recently, Nissan buyers who required the pulling power of a V8 had to move up to the full-size Armada, but the addition of an available V8 engine to the Pathfinder powertrain choices means owners can stick with a modest-sized SUV and still tow up to 7,000 pounds.
Even if you seldom go off-road, you might still appreciate the Pathfinder's ability to give the most accomplished nameplates a mud-run for their money. And if you're looking for a people-mover that comes across as more mountain man and less soccer mom, the Pathfinder should more than suffice.
The new Pathfinder makes no attempt to mask its rugged capabilities behind a soft exterior, and its ride and handling are far from car-like. Although a welcome addition, the new V8 engine is not particularly fuel-efficient, making this Pathfinder option costly in the long-term.
In addition to its optional 5.6-liter V8 engine, the Pathfinder receives freshened front and rear fascias and available 18-inch wheels. Interior upgrades include a revised dash design and new seats. New options include Bluetooth Hands-Free cell phone connectivity, XM Satellite Radio and revised navigation.
Driving Impressions We spent time in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive Pathfinders, including the SE Off-Road model, and came away impressed by both our off-road and on-road experiences. In particular, the SE Off-Road...model's sophisticated hill descent control and hill start assist features were appreciated during our steeper, more strenuous off-road exploits. Back on the streets, where even major off-road enthusiasts will log most of their miles, the vehicles shifted smoothly, turned confidently and delivered a ride that seemed pleasant enough for even longer road trips.
Folding Three-Row Seating
The Pathfinder converts quickly and easily from seven-passenger troop transport to cavernous cargo hauler.
SE Off-Road Model
Distinguished by its purposeful collection of features and technologies, the specialized SE Off-Road model is certainly Nissan's most sophisticated off-roader to date.
The big story for the 2008 Pathfinder continues to be its roomy interior, especially as third-row seating has become a requirement of the mid-size category. Like most SUVs in this class, the Pathfinder's third-row seat is better suited to small children or, for adults, quick jaunts across town. Unlike many, the Pathfinder's third-row folds completely into the floor, and center and third-row seats fold flat without requiring removal of the head restraints. Combined with the folding front passenger seat, the cabin is able to swallow lengthy cargo, but the Pathfinder's interior is just as well suited to everyday commutes, and delivers a roomy, comfortable environment.Exterior
The previous Pathfinder's design features mesh easily with Nissan's current philosophy in creating a rugged, purposeful exterior befitting the vehicle's lineage and ability. The new front end mimics other Nissan models such as the Armada and Frontier, tying in a familial theme. The Pathfinder grows slightly longer up front to accommodate its optional V8 engine, but overhangs both front and rear remain appropriately short. The factory roof rack looks rugged, but it might not match the weight ratings or versatility of some aftermarket units.
Noteworthy as standard on all four trim levels are the impressive V6, fold-flat third-row seating, five-speed automatic transmission, Vehicle Dynamic Control system and tire pressure monitoring system. SE and LE trims add a RearView monitor with seven-inch LCD screen, power-adjustable foot pedals and dual-zone climate controls. The SE Off-Road model adds hill descent control and hill start assist and 16-inch alloy wheels with P265/75R16 tires.
Options available on select models include a 310-horsepower V8 engine (SE and LE only), powerful Bose sound system, XM Satellite Radio, leather seating, navigation system with 9.3-gigabyte hard drive, DVD entertainment system, side air bags, three-row side curtain airbags, Bilstein off-road shocks (SE Off Road only) and moonroof. Also, every trim level is available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
The Pathfinder's standard 4.0-liter V6, which is a Nissan workhorse, is a powerful and torque-happy engine that's well-suited to the needs of the average SUV owner. For those who need extra horsepower and towing ability, the optional 5.6-liter V8 is the obvious answer, adding an additional 100 foot-pounds of torque and 44 more horsepower.
266 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
288 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/22 (2WD), 14/20 (4WD)
310 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
388 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (2WD), 12/18 (4WD)
By Ayant (NC) on Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome gas mileage on the highway"
Cons: "Transmission/Radiator issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"It has all these features I desired in an SUV. Only problem with Pathfinders of these 2000 models is that they have radiator issues that alter the heat and a/c by causing leakage into the transmission fluid. I think I have it right. Fortunately, Nissan has warranted this issue with an additional 80,000 miles, something like that. This is my second Pathfinder and this issue was in my 2005 model as well. I feel like the transmission is still affected by it even though it was fixed. It makes a roaring noise sporadically with a struggle picking up momentum at times, but it's still driving. I do love it and plan on keeping for as long as I can."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Rob B. (IL) on Sunday, April 14, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, low amount of repairs, easy to drive"
Cons: "Gas guzzler, 4wd subpar, premature rust"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"Overall, it's been a great vehicle for me. I've owned it for five years and other than then normal maintainence, it's been a very lost cost to have. Currently, I have 106,000 miles and going strong. I'll give you the cons. Poor gas mileage, rough ride, four wheel drive is poor in the snow, some rust starting on the tailgate very early. The pros: very reliable, low repairs, easy to drive."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By eddcat (GA) on Saturday, March 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I leased this car because of the third row seating. I wanted to grow my family and be able to use the third row seating. Well the third row seating in this vechile does not come with child restraints. So it was very disappointing to find out after I was already in the lease. Also the trade in value is not good. The gas milage is the worse for a suv this size. The only good part was that the people at the nissan dealership were really nice."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By BadLands Boy (ND) on Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliability , great power , solid off road, fun 2"
Cons: "ride is a little stiff."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have had this rig since new, It has had no flaws or failures in 70,000 miles , Rock Solid unit. Very good vision out of it and nice interior. It get it's rated gas MPG 20-16. Only con about it is the ride is on the stiffer side , not bad but not like a crossover . Very powerful motor- V6. It is a hoot to drive."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Kab (ND) on Saturday, January 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I love the way this vehicle looks and drives, but it has had sooo many problems. As much as it costed,it is ridiculous. As another person said, they have radiator/transmission issues. It doesn't happen until about 80,000 miles. Then it slaps you in the face. I have already rebuilt and replaced the transmission once, and it is having problems again. It is a money pit. At the moment, it will not pass inspection due to engine light, but no one, not even Nissan, can pin point exactly why. I have been told by several mechanics that Nissans are the worst for this. I will never buy another Nissan."
10 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Joy (CO) on Friday, December 28, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Roomy, drives well"
Cons: "Extremely unreliable"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought this car new in 2005. I loved it - it was comfortable, great off road and in the snow, and can easily haul 7 people and lots of cargo. I had zero complaints. And then it fell apart at 92,000 miles. The Nissan radiator is defective and leaks into the transmission completely destroying it. Total cost to fix between diagnosis and rental car (2 weeks to rebuild) was $7100. 6 weeks later, on Christmas Eve, we heard a boom, all the dashboard lights came on, and we lost power steering on the highway. Cost of the repair is $800 because the fan bracket broke. I am done with this vehicle. Nissan won't stand behind their product and recall it for the radiator defect, but they did lose a lawsuit on 10/9/12 and are required to re-imburse owners for at least some of the repairs. They claim the problem is only in a few select vehicles, but that is because 2005 is the first year containing the defective radiator and these cars are just coming up on the mileage where the problem occurs. I will never, ever buy a Nissan after this experience. It's too bad because it's a nice vehicle but a money pit."
12 people out of 16 found this review helpful