THE RIDE: Four-door, seven-passenger 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE SUV.
DOWN THE ROAD: Freshened for 2007, the rugged SUV is equipped with an all-new 5.6-liter V-8 engine, which also is used in the Armada and the Titan. It was a move long overdue for the Pathfinder, which debuted 22 years ago in the United States. The powerful engine enables the SUV to effectively and equally traverse hills and rugged terrain as well as tackle peak-hour traffic on city roads.
TECH & PERFORMANCE: The Pathfinder develops 310 horsepower at 5200 rpm and 388 pounds-feet of torque at 3400 rpm. Coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission, the fully boxed, all-steel frame SUV is equipped with an all-mode four-wheel drive, which distributes torque evenly to the wheels irrespective of road conditions. Suspension is handled via an independent front double-wishbone with coil-over shocks and a rear double-wishbone, resulting in a well-damped ride on even the most uneven surfaces. Power rack-and-pinion steering gives the SUV a curb-to-curb turning circle of more than 39 feet. Maximum capacity for towing is a respectable 7,000 pounds.
LOOK & FEEL: The front and rear fascia has been revamped. The Pathfinder now shows off an angled strut-style mesh grille with chrome surround, body-colored side moldings with chrome inserts and high rear-door handles that offer an effortless grip. Ingress and egress are convenient, mainly attributed to the side running boards so you can take just a step or two. Wood trim on the center console and door panels is pleasant to the eye. Cubby space is plentiful with two glove boxes and a storage area under the cargo floor. The second-row seat splits and folds flat 40/20/40 to enable two passengers to duck into the third-row seat, which splits 50/50. The controls for audio, navigation and phone are conveniently located under a 7-inch LCD display screen. Other standard amenities include eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, moonroof and a rearview camera.
SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side airbag curtain for both rows, front and rear crumple zones, four-wheel antilock brakes, front active-head restraints, tire pressure monitoring system, three-point front seat belts with pretensioners, electronic brake distribution and brake assist.
OUT THE DOOR: $38,700, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Opt for the $2,400 navigation system, which comes with real-time traffic, a 9.3-gig music server, Bluetooth hands-free phone capabilities and Intelligent Key.
BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P265/60R18; wheelbase, 112.2 inches; length, 192.5 inches; weight, 5,182 pounds; fuel capacity, 21.1 gallons; highway, 18 mpg; city, 12 mpg.
WHY DIG IT: The revamped and much-improved Pathfinder should appeal to SUV buyers, especially those who want a powerful V-8 engine under the hood. With refreshing exterior and interior styling cues, Nissan has made the path to your destination more fun than ever before.