What it Is
2008 Nissan Pathfinder Preview – 2007 Chicago Auto Show Nissan used the Pathfinder to make perhaps its largest announcement at the Chicago Auto Show: the introduction of a new 5.6-liter V8 engine for the longtime SUV favorite. It’s expected to generate more than 300 horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque, and offer up to 7,000 lbs. of towing capacity. That’s enough to drag the Pathfinder into its next iteration, along with a new front-end design and interior upgrades.
Why it Matters
What’s Under the Hood
The big news for the 2008 Pathfinder is underneath its stylish new nose. For the first time in the vehicle’s 22-year history, a V8 engine is optional. With 300 horsepower and more than 300 lb.-ft. of torque, it increases the Pathfinder’s towing capacity to 7,000 lbs., up from the V6-powered Pathfinder’s 6000 lbs. The 5.6-liter V8 engine is available in two new models, the SE-V8 and LE-V8 (or, if you prefer, as an optional engine on SE and LE models). Like the V6, the V8 Pathfinder routes power to the rear or all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission.
What it Looks Like
The exterior of the Pathfinder has been updated for the 2008 model year, giving it a face similar to the updated Armada and Titan. The grille and hood are new, as are the front and rear bumpers and the rear liftgate. New 17-inch wheel combinations are also available on V6 models, while V8-equipped Pathfinders get 18-inch wheels. LE models get new side trim with chrome accents.
The Pathfinder’s interior has also been updated for the 2008 model year. All models except the base S trim get a new 7-inch color display with a backup camera. The center stack design has been redesigned, and all switchgear is now backlit, except on S models. A new gated shifter design is a nice addition (again, S models are skipped), and LE models can get a navigation system with a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive music system. Top-line LE models also get an optional Bluetooth phone system and heated steering wheel. Intelligent Key ignition, new fabrics, and upgraded materials complete the cabin makeover.
What We Think
As one of the newer vehicles in Nissan’s lineup, we didn’t expect an update quite this soon. However, we’re glad to see the interior addressed, as it was one of the Pathfinder’s low points when the current model was introduced. The V8 is also a welcome addition for those that need the extra power and torque. However, we do question the overall wisdom of introducing a V8 engine at a time when the conspicuous consumption represented by bigger engines and vehicles seems to be waning, thanks to higher gas prices and environmental concerns. Nissan insists that people who need a V8 for hauling and whatnot will still buy one, and what the heck, who are we to argue with market research?
Photos courtesy of Brian Chee, Nissan