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 Ford on Thursday, April 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,624overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "3rd row seat"
Cons: "Radiator defect will destroy the transmission"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I purchased the vehicle in 2009 and thought it was a great value. 3rd row seat, tow package, nice interior and exterior. I was really happy with this vehicle until the sudden failure of the Transmission. I was unaware of the known issue where a transmission coolant line in the radiator fails and allows coolant into the transmission completely destroying the transmission. Nissan is not standing behind their product even though it is a well documented issue with many complaints, repairs are upward of $4000. I will never own another Nissan again!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By bsdanne on Saturday, April 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Never any problems, second Nissan for me. Dealership is always great when getting maintenance service."
By Art on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love this Pathfinder even more than the 1996 Pathfinder I owned until it was totaled. I probably won't buy another one because I don't like the change to the body they made with the 2013 and forward. The original body style is classic. The rear doors with the handle up on the side was a signature look! Why did they change it?"
By millineum falcon on Monday, March 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "very reliable and in good condition"
Cons: "I dont use it as much, just need minor work"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Overall, the vehicle is in good condition, minor scratches which are not seen unless you get close to the vehicle. I would like to keep it but is time to let it go, if I wanted would keep the car; only things to replace is a sensor in gas tank and later the tires. You need to come and see it for yourself and we could work something out about the price."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By fubar on Sunday, January 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Right Size auto for our needs, pulled boat"
Cons: "decrease reliability trend/increasing op. costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This was my third pathfinder, 92, 97, 2006. My very best was the first one. They (Pathfinders) started a down hill slide by going away from a "truck" style frame to a "car" uni-body. I wanted the truck ride. I pulled a boat much to heavy for the 1992's 3.0L engine. It never faltered. Never need any additional repair other than battery, oil changes etc. 120,000 wonderful miles of ownership/service. My 1997 needed all the body mounts replaced. It got so bad if you crossed a 2" snow ridge on the highway, you'd be thrown into the ditch before regaining control. My 2006 is on it's third belt and auto tensioner replacement. Then $1300 front end component repair, again it had became unable to drive on the highway. Complete front Rotor replacement at 60k miles, on it's second Heater fan, rear window strut replacement etc. etc. My disappointment of the decreasing quality is only exceeded by the $14,000 in emergency (stranded 5x's) on my Domestic 2005 Ford F250SD pickup. Pathfinder now look like a station wagon? Car's cost 2-3 x's as much...,but their reliability tanked? I bought a RAV4, not the same quality/size/or options. But it is only $10,000 more than the 1992 Pathfinder. Not the $46,000 if I were to stay with Pathfinders."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Sportsman/Family man on Sunday, December 08, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great drive"
Cons: "I wasnt crazy about the color"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We have taken many out of town trips with the whole family. The kids and back seat passengers love to watch DVDs on long trips. I love the headphones so people watching the movie are not interrupted when I'm listening to the radio. The third row is a great size for the kids and the leather cleans up very well. I did put the four wheel drive into play a few times, in mud and in sand, and it was incredible! I have also used the roof racks and rear tie-downs. This truck is great on the highway as well as off road. Well done Nissan, well done!"
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful