Saturday, August 4, 2012

Nissan Xterra is a Real Truck

In a world of crossover vehicles that look like SUVs but are really big cars, the Nissan Xterra isn't shy about being a truck. Based on the same platform as the company's Titan and Frontier pickups, it's long on utility and short on coddling. That doesn't mean it's uncomfortable to live with--not at all--but its mission in life is to haul you and your stuff to your next adventure.

The Xterra is named after an offroad triathlon race that Nissan was sponsoring at the time the vehicle was introduced in 2000. Right out of the box (no pun intended) it won Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year--and won again in 2006 with the second generation. This is only the second major release of the truck so far.

You can get an Xterra in the base X, midrange S or top-level PRO-4X model. I had the PRO-4X, in one of two new colors for 2012--Metallic Blue. No problem finding it in the parking lot--bright colored, 6-foot-3 and more than two tons of fun.

The Xterra comes with a roof rack, and in PRO-4X guise, has roof-mounted off-road lights and a gear basket. Since Xterra day one, this latter option has provided the perfect spot for those muddy clothes and boots from a day of exploring. If you do mess up the car, in S and PRO-4X versions you have the Easy-Clean Cargo Area surface. There are also ten utility hooks in the cargo area to hold your bike or other gear firmly in place.

I am not an adventure seeker, but the Xterra does find its way around town and on the freeway with no problem. The only issue here may be that the 4.0-liter V6's 261 horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque are not really needed for picking up your dry cleaning or going to the train station. I averaged just 14.8 miles per gallon, while EPA numbers are 15 City, 20 Highway (average 17). I spent more time in town this week, as I was commuting by train to my work.

All Xterras have the same V6, but you can get it with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission (only automatic in the base car). You also have the option of two-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive.

Pricing varies from the $26,035 for the base, two-wheel-drive X to the PRO-4X automatic, like my tester, at $32,245. Both prices include $825 for shipping. There are a few extra pieces you can add at the factory or port of delivery, including a handy iPod interface, special PRO-4X floor mats (worth the $120) and for the PRO-4X only, leather seats (although why you'd really need them is a good question).

Despite its poor fuel economy and parking challenges, I liked the rugged feel of the Xterra, and I'm sure it would be perfect for someone--just not me. It's the real deal for outdoor activities.


8 comments:

Truck Lowering Suspension Parts said...

I think it's one heck of a ride. Pretty much better because it can do almost everything and just some little problems that can't hurt that bad.

mackenzie said...

My husband has a Nissan Xterra, it is so nice. He has been letting me drive it lately since he is away on business and my car broke down. I can't believe how much gas it uses compared to my little car. I was told I should buy some Nissan Xterra parts to try and make it a little more fuel efficient. I think that is what I am going to do, hopefully it works!

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