The 2008 Nissan Pathfinder is fast on the street and capable in the dirt. But consumers just wanting a comfortable, seven-passenger midsize SUV will be better served by some competing models.
The funny thing about the Nissan Pathfinder is how it seems to search for a new identity every few years. Born in the late 1980s as a rugged body-on-frame two-door meant for tackling trails, the Pathfinder morphed into a unit-bodied four-door with a creamy suspension by the later '90s. When the current Pathfinder came to market three years ago, it reflected Nissan's desire to make it all things to all people.
To please the off-road crowd, the Pathfinder returned to a sturdy, heavy body-on-frame platform derived from the full-size Titan pickup and Armada SUV. Nissan built in up to 9.1 inches of ground clearance, added a dedicated Off-Road trim level and offered both part- and full-time four-wheel-drive systems.
At the same time, Nissan wanted the Pathfinder to be suitable for mainstream multiple passenger
These two approaches to midsize SUV design don't quite mesh with 100-percent effectiveness, however. The body-on-frame design is somewhat at odds with the sporty tuning of the steering and suspension, and the result is a somewhat stiff ride and heavy-handed handling. Additionally, both back rows are a bit cramped for adults.
For 2008, Nissan has made a number of updates in hopes of increasing the Pathfinder's appeal. Inside, the dash and center console have been revised for easier use and there are new cutting-edge convenience features such as Bluetooth connectivity and a switch to a hard-drive-based navigation system that can also be used to store music files. Finally, a strong new V8 has been made available to make hauling heavy loads even easier than before.
Although not perfect, the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder has a lot to offer. Compared to fellow body-on-frame rivals like the Toyota 4Runner, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee