The 2008 model year is already upon us, and new-model 4x4s are rolling into showrooms across the country. This month, Nissan leaps into the fray with its newest built-for-work Titan pickup, with a longer wheelbase and a rear locker, and the latest iteration of its flagship Pathfinder SUV, now sporting two extra cylinders under the hood. The new Nissans went on sale late last spring, and your local dealer should have them in stock for a testdrive. Here's the skinny:
For 2008, the 112-inch-wheelbase Pathfinder receives a host of upgrades, none more noteworthy than the Titan-sourced 5.6L Endurance V-8. The engine, now rated at 310 hp and 388 lb-ft of torque, required some extra longitudinal clearance to fit between the F-Alpha framerails, so the Pathfinder gets a slightly longer hood and front clip, with bigger fenders and headlamps, to accommodate the V-8's added length. The 4.0L V-6 rated at 266 hp is still available, and both engines are mated to the TorqKing five-speed automatic transmission. V-6 'Finders receive the standard part-time two-speed transfer case with 2.60:1 low-range, while V-8 models come equipped with the new XN Multi-Mode system, which operates like a variable all-wheel-drive system in Auto mode but which can be switched electronically to operate in either 4-Hi or 4-Lo modes on demand.
Also for '08, the Pathfinder takes a page from the Nismo playbook with an available Off-Road package in SE trim, which includes lower 3.36:1 axles (2.94:1s are standard), Bilstein shocks, BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/As on 16-inch rims, Hill Descent and Hill Start Assist, and skidplating for the oil pan, fuel tank, and transfer case. The bad news is; it's only available for V-6 Pathfinders, though V-8 models do receive four-wheel "brake limited-slips" (i.e., traction control). Suspension is independent/double wishbone at both ends, with coilover shocks up front. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, and 65-series BFG Long Trails are base rubber.
Besides sporting new sheetmetal styling reminiscent of the modern-day Patrol (much of it's actually shared with the Armada SUV), the Pathfinder's interior also gets a freshening, with a revised center stack, new illuminated switchgear, optional 10-speaker Bose stereo with Bluetooth and MP3 capabilities, and a new built-in Nav system with a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive for music and data storage.
Inside, the '08 Pathfinder gets a revised center stack, along with new illuminated switchg
Vehicle/model: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder
Base price (4x4 models): $27,700
Engines: 4.0L V-6/5.6L V-8
Max hp & torque (lb-ft): 266 & 288/310 & 388
Transmission(s): Jatco five-speed automatic
Transfer case(s): Part-time two-speed/XN Multi-Mode full-time two-speed
Low-range ratio: 2.60:1
Frame type: Boxed steel ladder
Suspension, f/r: IFS, double wishbones, coilover shocks/IRS, double wishbones, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Ring and pinion: 2.94:1 (base)
Max crawl ratio: 29.18:1 (base)
Steering: Power rack-and-pinion
Brakes, f/r: 11.7x1.10 vented disc/12.7x.70 vented disc
Wheels (tested): 17x7 alloy
Tires (tested): 265/65R17 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail
Wheelbase (in): 112.2
Length (in): 192.5
Base curb weight (lb): 4,684-5,182
Approach/departure angles (deg): N/A
Minimum ground clearance (in): 8.8-9.2
GVWR (lb): 6,113-6,500
Max cargo volume (cu. ft.): 140.9
Max towing capacity (lb):7,000
EPA mileage figures, city/hwy (mpg): 15/21
Fuel capacity (gal): 21.1
What's Hot: Endurance V-8 and five-speed automatic, an awesome powertrain for a midsize; exterior styling evokes modern-day Patrols; Bilsteins and BFGs are available factory options.
What's Not: Open diffs; inconsistent options packages; 18-inch rims for V-8 models; BFGs and Bilsteins only available with the V-6.
Our Take: The V-8 Pathfinder should be the Dragstrip King of the midsize class, but a dedicated off-road package (or a smaller wheel option) for the bigger engine would've been nice.