Friday, December 21, 2007

Nissan Xterra Review

Nissan Xterra

The Nissan Xterra SUV is aimed at younger or more active consumers who need a midsize SUV with enhanced off-road capability. Built with stout body-on-frame construction and functional four-wheel drive, the Xterra continues to be a steady seller among those who use their SUV for outdoor recreation as well as those who want to give off that impression.

Compared to its car-based SUV competition, the Nissan Xterra's on-pavement performance is not as comfy or refined, but if serious off-roading is part of your routine then we'd recommend it as one of the better new or used sport-utilities on the market. The Xterra features solid build quality and a reliable nature, which translates into confidence-inspiring peace of mind as you head off into the wilderness of the urban - or more distant - jungle.

Current Nissan Xterra

The latest Nissan Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter, 265-horsepower V6 driving through a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. There are four trim levels: X, S, SE and Off-Road. The first three are offered in both rear- and four-wheel-drive versions, while the Off-Road is offered in 4WD only. The entry-level X is minimally equipped, while the S adds items like cruise control, remote keyless entry and full power accessories. The SE piles on more premium touches while the Off-Road model loses the luxe touches in favor of extra equipment that improves off-road performance.

In reviews, our editors have found that the second-generation Xterra's strengths include its powerful V6 engine and above-average off-road capability. It still doesn't deliver the sharp handling that a crossover SUV would, however. If you never plan on leaving the street, there are certainly better compact or midsize SUVs on the market.

Past Nissan Xterra Models

Nissan unveiled the rugged and functional Xterra compact SUV in 2000 against a competitive set comprised mostly of more fragile and less capable car-based competitors. While it sold well initially, early Nissan Xterras did have a few rough edges: The bare interior was constructed of hard plastic panels, the ride was harsh and the modest four-cylinder and 170-hp V6 engines barely had enough oomph to propel the truck-based SUV around town. Detail upgrades carried through to 2002 when Nissan attempted to fix these flaws in a midcycle freshening by adding a supercharged V6 to boost performance, modifying front-end styling - including a hood bulge on blown models - and refining controls, cabin trim and audio systems to help bring it up to date.

In 2003, the 3.3-liter V6 received a slight power boost, the SUV got trim and styling tweaks to further differentiate it and Nissan's VDC stability control system and head curtain airbags became available. To avoid the teething problems in 2000-'01 vehicles, shoppers may want to focus on these revised 2002-'04 models with V6s when searching for earlier, first-generation used Xterras.

In 2005 the Nissan Xterra was significantly reworked for the first time -- not sharing a single part with its predecessor yet looking vaguely familiar. The second-generation vehicle's overall length was unchanged, but the wheelbase was stretched by 2 inches. This not only resulted in a sleeker and more integrated look, but also improved ramp angles for increased off-road clearance. The Nissan Xterra now climbed more like a mad mountain goat thanks also to an all-new chassis and a powerful new 4.0-liter V6 producing 265 hp. For 2006, the big news was a new entry-level X trim level for the more budget-conscious.

No comments:

Related Articles