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 DlitFull on Saturday, August 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"We bought our Pathfinder LE 4x4 in 2010 used with 22,000 miles on the odometer. Bottom-line is that the vehicle has been a solid, reliable performer. Not impressed on the cost to keep the vehicle on the road but I am meticulous and it does go to the dealership. All this in respect to the fact that we have Nissan’s Gold Preferred Protection Plan. It has paid for itself twice over. If we didn’t have the protection plan and adding the cost covered by the protection plan, I would have gotten rid of the vehicle a long time ago. I do like the style of Pathfinder. It rides and acts like a truck. And so along those lines, not the most sure footed in snow and that is with Michelin LTX MS2s all the way around for the last 60K miles. Interior is adequate and holding up pretty good to a 3 yr old. Finding baby seats to fit the back seat had us wondering if we were going to have to sell the thing trying seats out in front of Babies-R-Us a couple of years ago expecting our child. Car seat number 3 worked after putting it in the middle of the back seat. To this end, outside looks of the Pathfinder can be deceiving. Interior is pretty tight and unforgivable as compared to the more spacious interiors of new (and even smaller) SUVs on the road today. Plastic throughout the vehicle is plenty, can crick and creak, and subject to getting marred up easily. Leather seats are holding up pretty good. Gas mileage for mixed city/highway is 16.7 mpg solid. Long trips…as high as 17.6 mpg."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Guz on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "RWD overdrive off button, so much more"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This SUV has been the best one we have owned. We would have bought another, but they went to front wheel drive.The new one seems like a mini van."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By jimbo on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 223,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"have never have a major problem and all were sold with over 250,000miles.Just the regular upkeep and was in timber business and a lot of hard miles."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Bub on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "getting rid of it"
Cons: "the car"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Best feature about this car was the extended warranty I bought! Can't imagine how much it cost the insurer. Drive train failed, motherboard failed, U joints, catalytic converter, Fuel tank issues. emission valve and canister issues. I get a service emission related code, take it to the dealer and they want me to pay 700 to make a modification because of a faulty design...glad to get rid of this thing before I go bankrupt...not to mention the fear of driving it because of potential breakdown."
13 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By Island Gal on Sunday, June 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Personal experience: 2006 Nissan Pathfinder SE Sport Utility 4D offered a lovely beginning with my family and I. From sports games to family gatherings and travel around our island. However, recently, I have had to overcome pricey obstacles with my Pathfinder. A new set of tires, engine problems, steering problems, and now, my vehicle died out and stalled. I am seriously considering a new vehicle."
9 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Gil on Wednesday, June 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I had no problems with the truck until it passed 107,000 miles and then with no warning the transmission went out while I was driving on the freeway, I barely managed to get to the side of the road safely. Then I find out that its not if the trans is going to give out but when is it going to give out. Nissan knows about the problems with the transmissions in the Pathfinder but wont stand behind their product. It cost me $5200 to get car repaired and Nissan wouldn't pay a dime towards the repair. I have owned 3 other Nissans in the past but I will NEVER buy another of their vehicles."
15 people out of 16 found this review helpful