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2008 Nissan Pathfinder

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2008 Nissan Pathfinder Review

A compromise that combines off-road features with room for many passengers or large cargo.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder is a four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle (SUV). While all models come standard with four-wheel drive, one model offers optional rear drive. Because it has a second and third row of seats, the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder is good for a large family.

The Range

Body Styles: four-door sport utility vehicle
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6, 5.6-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic transmission with cruise control
Models: S, SE, LE, SE Off Road

What's New

The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder boasts major changes, which have not been seen since the 2005 Pathfinder revamp. The biggest of these changes is that for the first time in Pathfinder's history, a V-8 engine is available, but only in the SE and LE models. This 5.6-liter V-8 hails from the full-size Nissan Armada sport utility vehicle and brings with it 310 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. This makes the Pathfinder capable of towing up to 7000 pounds. With this new and more powerful V-8 engine, hauling heavy loads is a snap. The V-6 engine has 266 horsepower creating 288 lb-ft of torque, and is able tow up to 6000 pounds. As of 2008, Pathfinders offer full-time four-wheel drive.


The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder looks a little different from Pathfinders of previous years, because of updates to the front and rear of the vehicle. The basic S model is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels. The SE Off Road has 17-inch alloy wheels, and the two other models have 18-inch versions.


The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder’s interior has also received an update. The central stack display screen has increased in size. The dash has also gotten a make-over. Added cup holders and gauges can now be found. Other conveniences, such as a navigational system, MP3 player, and Bluetooth capability have also been added to certain models. The second and third row seats can fold away, but are a bit cramped for full-sized adults. As one moves up in class and price from the standard S model to the SE Off Road to the regular SE and finally to the LE, the features become nicer and the interior gets plusher. The LE model features power seats, leather upholstery, and wood trim. Luxury is standard, and all models have an optional DVD player.

Performance & Handling

The sturdiness of the body-on-frame platform is designed for off-road driving. The design originates from the full-size Armada and the Titan pickup. This off-road frame is complimented by off-road trim, ground clearance of up to 9.1 inches, and part- to full-time four-wheel drive. It is unfortunate that this body combines with the independent rear suspension, which allows the second and third row seats to fold flat for added cargo room. This results in a rather stiff ride, and the inability to turn on-a-dime. Only the SE Off Road offers a choice of rear or four-wheel drive.


All 2008 Nissan Pathfinders are equipped with anti-lock brakes and stability control. The top-of-the-line LE model comes with a full set of six airbags standard. On the other models, front and side airbags are optional. When adding the option of airbags, there is a choice between front-side airbags or full-length curtain airbags. The 2008 Pathfinder’s NHTSA rating for frontal crashes was four out of five stars. Five out of five stars were scored for side impact in both the second and third rows.

EPA Fuel Economy

Nissan Pathfinder S Pathfinder V-6: 15/22 mpg city/highway
Nissan Pathfinder SE, LE Pathfinder V-8: 15/22 mpg city/highway
Nissan Pathfinder SE Off Road Pathfinder V-6: 14/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful engine
  • Updated and modern features
  • Off-road capability
  • Four-wheel drive

You Won't Like

  • Cramped second- and third-row seats
  • Stiff ride and heavy handling issues

Sum Up

A compromise that combines off-road features with room for many passengers or large cargo.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Ford Explorer
  • Nissan Murano

See the New 2014 Pathfinder.

Front & Driver Side View