2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab
2008 Nissan Pathfinder V8. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

Photo Galleries: 2008 Nissan Armada, Pathfinder and Titan

Minneapolis, Minnesota – The big news at Nissan may be the sexy new 2008 Altima two-door coupe, but the company has also added new engines and features to its line-up of 2008 Titan pickup trucks, and Armada and Pathfinder SUVs. None of these models are all-new, but the changes have tweaked performance and styling:


For the first time, the mid-size Pathfinder features a V8 engine, in addition to the existing 4.0-litre V6. The new 5.6-litre V8 is shared with the Titan and Armada and produces 310 hp and 388 lb-ft of torque; it’s a simple fit, as the Pathfinder’s frame is based on that of the larger Armada. The larger engine gets a 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) tow rating, as opposed to 6,000 lbs (2,721 kg) with the V6. Nissan officials say they are “studying” diesel engines, but won’t admit to anything more than that.

There are some styling changes, especially at the rear, where the Pathfinder is now more angular, and there’s a new hood. The V6 receives new 17-inch wheels, while the V8 – now exclusive to the LE trim line – gets a set of 18-inch rims. If the big V8 symbol on the door doesn’t tip you off, the LE also has new body side mouldings with chrome insert.

Inside, everything from the cupholders forward is new: all models get an updated instrument cluster and shift lever, and the V8 receives a standard heated steering wheel for chilly mornings. Go for leather seats – optional on V6, standard on V8 – and you can order an attractive new light-brown shade, dubbed “Russet”.

While the U.S. market can buy the Pathfinder in two-wheel drive configuration, all Canadian models are driver-selectable four-wheel drive.

2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab
2008 Nissan Pathfinder V8. Click image to enlarge

During the presentation, I had the opportunity to take the vehicles on an off-road course, and then for a short trek back on paved roads. The V8 is very throaty and it propels the Pathfinder to beyond legal speed limits very quickly, but the vehicle still feels rather nimble for its size; its handling makes it feel much smaller than it really is.

The new interior is much better than before; materials are better-quality and everything is screwed together well. The new V8 has a few model-specific standard features, such as power sunroof, wood trim, six-CD stereo with XM satellite radio, garage door opener, and driver’s memory that are unavailable or must be added to the V6 models.

The big question is at the pumps: will a V8 sell in these times of high gas prices? Nissan itself is wary; the company only moves about 2,500 Pathfinders a year in the Great White North, and so it’s expecting the eight-cylinder to be low-volume, especially since it’s going to start at a hefty $49,000. My guess is that a few Canadians will buy it for the prestige and extra features, and a few others for its increased towing capacity, but that it’s going to go like hotcakes in the U.S., where you’re far more likely to find that sub-sect of SUV drivers who will pay whatever it costs to go further faster.


2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab
2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge

The big news for Nissan’s big truck is a new long wheelbase model – 4,050 mm, versus the short-wheelbase’s 3,550 mm – which means longer available boxes. Bed lengths are now 6-foot-6 or eight feet on King Cab, and 5-foot-6 or seven feet on Crew Cab.

There’s also a new PRO-4X trim line on both King and Crew Cab models, matching the Titan’s regular standard equipment with a special off-road package. This includes Rancho performance gas shocks, a lower final drive ratio, oil pan and transfer case skid plates, an electronic locking rear differential, and 18-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires. Outside, you can spot the PRO-4X by its body-colour grille and bumpers and decals, and inside, it has unique gauges and its logo stitched into the seats.

Other overall changes to the line-up include a revised front end and wheel lip mouldings, along with new wheel styles. Inside, the interior is spiffed up, with a new seat design and cluster; the truck can be further optioned with Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio and a rear-seat DVD screen that’s an inch larger than last year’s model.

2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab
2008 Nissan Titan Crew Cab. Click image to enlarge

As before, there’s a single engine choice, the 5.6-litre V8 that is now being packed into the Pathfinder, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission; configuration choices are two- and four-wheel drive.

This is a big truck that gets seriously luxurious in its upper range, but those who want a vehicle for work will appreciate touches such as a factory-applied spray-in bedliner (with factory warranty), a bed channel system with adjustable cleats and available accessory racks, trays, dividers and storage units, and watertight locking storage compartments behind the wheel well on the driver’s side. Properly equipped, the Crew Cab will tow up to 9,300 lbs (4,218 kg), the King Cab up to 9,500 lbs (4,309 kg); payloads have also increased by an average of 400 lbs (181 kg) over the 2007 models.


Nissan’s seriously-sized, top-of-the-line SUV becomes even more seriously luxurious in 2008; its changes are mostly cosmetic, including a new front fascia, new headlight and fog light designs, a new one-piece roof rack, revised rear fascia and 20-inch wheels that replace last year’s 18-inch rims.

2008 Nissan Armada
2008 Nissan Armada. Click image to enlarge

Based on the Titan – it shares its 5.6-litre V8 with the truck, and now with the Pathfinder – the Armada also gets the Titan’s interior upgrades, along with a new power-folding 60/40 third-row seat.

Nissan used to sell the Armada in two trim lines, and still does in the U.S., but Ian Forsythe, Nissan Canada’s Corporate and Product Planning Director, says that most buyers went for the upper crust, and so the Armada is strictly the top-line LE here. “The segment has pretty much boiled down to necessity,” he says; the company only sold some 230 of them across the country last year, and Forsythe explains that those who do buy them want them for their ability to take up to eight passengers and whatever camping, boating or horse trailer items need to be hitched to the back.

2008 Nissan Armada
2008 Nissan Armada. Click image to enlarge

To that end, towing capacity rises very slightly for 2008, from 8,900 to 9,000 pounds. At an average of 14.9 L/100 km, it’s unlikely you’ll see many bought strictly as single-passenger “big cars”.

The only option available on the Armada is a Technology Package, which replaces the standard six-CD stereo with a single-disc player, but adds a hard disc-based navigation system with 3D view, touch-screen controls, voice recognition, 9.3 GB Music Box and compact flash slot for MP3/WMA files. Around September, the company also plans to roll out an available XM NavTraffic system, which will provide real-time traffic information; it will start with Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, but should gain market penetration gradually in Canada.


  • Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Nissan Armada
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Nissan Pathfinder
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2008 Nissan Titan

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