– New available 5.6-litre V8 engine
– New front and rear styling, including new hood, grille, front and rear bumpers, and liftgate
– New instrument panel, centre stack and console styling
– New 17-inch wheels on V6, 18-inch wheels on V8
– Standard side and curtain airbags on all models
– Available running boards
– New interior Russet colour on leather seats
– New exterior colours Mocha and Névé

For 2008, the Pathfinder’s big news is a new engine; for the first time, this midsize SUV can be ordered with a 5.6-litre V8, in addition to the 4.0-litre V6 that is carried over from 2007. V6 trim lines are the S or SE; last year’s top-of-the-line V6 model, the LE, is now V8-powered only.

The Pathfinder uses an F-Alpha platform with body-on-frame construction, which it shares with the full-size Armada, Xterra and Titan. Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission and have driver-selectable four-wheel drive. All models have seven-passenger seating, with a 50/50 split third row that can be folded into the floor.

Features on the S-V6 include 16-inch alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, tire pressure monitoring system, air conditioning, privacy glass, black heated mirrors, mudguards, roof rack, cloth seats, CD stereo with six speakers, cruise control, power locks with keyless entry, variable intermittent wipers, and intermittent rear wiper.

The SE-V6 adds 17-inch alloy wheels, body side moulding, fog lights, body-colour heated mirrors, roof rack with two crossbars, running boards, front tow hook, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass, easy-clean cargo floor, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone climate control, six-CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, 7-inch colour monitor with back-up camera, eight-way power driver’s adjuster, heated seats, and leather-wrapped wheel. The SE can also be optioned with a Premium Package, which includes power sunroof, automatic headlamps, garage door opener and upgraded stereo; a Leather Package with four-way power passenger seat; and a rear-seat DVD system.

The LE-V8 adds 18-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, heated leather seats, interior wood accents, driver’s side memory, BOSE six-CD/MP3 stereo with ten speakers and XM Satellite Radio, garage door opener, four-way power passenger seat and heated steering wheel. Optional upgrades include a rear-seat DVD system, and a navigation system including Bluetooth, touchscreen and voice recognition controls, compact flash card reader and Intelligent Key.

The Pathfinder offers a comfortable ride and performance that’s strong and gutsy with the V6, and very powerful with the V8; although it’s more engine than most buyers will probably want, it increases the towing capacity by 1,000 lbs, which should make it very popular with campers and outdoor types. All models now include standard side and curtain airbags, which had to be added as stand-alone or in packages in 2007. The last of the three rows is very tight and strictly for children, although the seats fold flat to increase the Pathfinder’s interior cargo capability.

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