A V8 engine is available in the Nissan Pathfinder for the first time for 2008; the existing V6 is still available, too, and both engines can be equipped with rear- or four-wheel drive.<p><p>The Pathfinder also gets a new look in front and in back, and new wheel designs and two new exterior colors--White Frost and Mocha--join the lineup along with one new interior color, Russet. Inside, there's a redesigned center-console area, a restyled instrument panel, a new reclining second-row seat, and illuminated switchgear. The Intelligent Key entry system, a navigation system with Music Box hard-drive system, and a heated steering wheel are among the new options.
The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder is offered in S, SE, and LE variants, and each are available with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. SE and LE models come with a choice of a 4.0L V6 engine rated at 266 horsepower and 288 pound-feet of torque, or a 5.6L V8 making 300 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque.
The so-called Endurance V8 is new to the Pathfinder for 2008 and has an aluminum block with cast-iron liners, molybdenum-coated pistons, a forged steel crankshaft, and heavy-duty cooling system for durability.
Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, but the available 4WD systems are quite different depending on the engine. The V8 comes with a full-time All-Mode four-wheel drive system that can send up to 50 percent of engine torque to the front wheels on demand, while V6 models come with a part-time 4WD system that is more off-road oriented, with a separate low range and on LE models an electronically controlled transfer case.
On the special SE-V6 4WD model, there are several additional off-road-focused features, including a limited-slip system, hill descent control for descending steep, slippery slopes, and hill start assist, which allows a smoother launch on steep inclines when off-roading. The model also includes Bilstein performance shocks, plus additional skid plates.
The Pathfinder has a roomy interior with three rows of seating for up to seven. The third row folds flat to easily expand the cargo floor, the second row is split 40/20/40 and also folds forward, and the front passenger seat also folds forward on most models for especially long items.
Standout optional features include dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air conditioning, power-adjustable pedals, woodgrain trim, a DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth hands-free system, and a navigation system with Music Box, which has a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive for storing MP3s.
All Pathfinders include rack-and-pinion power steering with speed-sensitive power assist, plus four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). Electronic stability control is also standard, while side-impact air bags for front-seat occupants and side-curtain air bags for outboard occupants in all three rows are optional.