Funny how power makes a big difference to a car. Take the 2008 Nissan Pathfinder, with its new optional 5.6-liter V-8 engine: what was generally considered to be a nice SUV with a scrappy V-6 is now a powerful, bright performer. With plenty of horsepower and torque for every day driving or weekend towing, the new plant lights up the character of this vehicle, jumps it up my favorites list and makes it a gotta-test-drive SUV for those in the market.Â
The power upgrade, combined with interior enhancements, makes this a pleasant SUV to drive around town or on freeways thanks to a five-speed automatic transmission that handles power delivery in a sedate but efficient manner. Inside, the seats are comfortable, the driving position high, and the steering wheel â€“ though not soft or grabby â€“ is nicely wrapped in leather and feels good to the touch. The instrument panel is clearly marked, the graphics bold and easy to seem, and there are plenty of cubbyholes to use. Another small but thoughtful touch are the rubber inserts in the cupholder: this grabs hold of just about any â€œcupâ€ and keeps spillage to a minimum.Â I take exception to the strange placement of the radio controls and the grab handles on the second row doors. The two main knobs for the radio, volume and tuning, are placed outside the unit and awash in plastic grain, and the handles look like theyâ€™ve been tacked on as an afterthought. Overall, however, I would recommend this Pathfinder to anyone who wants an SUV and needs to tow, or simply likes power over fuel economy.