The Nissan Xterra is a four-door crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) that was designed to appeal to young, adventurous drivers. It comes in rear- and four-wheel drive with powerful but sometimes imprecise handling, depending on the terrain. Originally marketed to outdoor enthusiasts for its impressive off-road capabilities, the Xterra also appeals to city dwellers for its versatility and rugged appearance.
Currently manufactured in the U.S. and Brazil, the Nissan Xterra has a 4.0-liter V6 engine, providing 261 horsepower and 281 foot-pounds of torque. The X and S 4x2 models are available with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the S 4x4 and Pro-4X come with either an automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. The Xterra can seat up to five passengers, has ample storage space that includes a large roof and will tow up to 5,000 pounds. Compared to other compact SUVs, it has a less-than-average fuel economy at an estimated 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Making its debut in 2000, the Nissan Xterra was named after an off-road triathlon series that Nissan sponsored for several years. It featured two XE models and a luxury SE model. On top of the added interior and exterior options, the second-generation models were larger overall. Eventually the SE model was dropped and the Off-Road was renamed Pro-4X for the current model year. Nissan gradually incorporated more options that appealed to suburbanites, including more luxurious interior features and less truck-like performance.
Available trim levels on the Nissan Xterra are the X, S and Pro-4X. The current X model offers more colors and options than in previous years. Practical features, such as off-road tires and a first-aid kit, come standard with the Xterra S. An AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers is included with the X and S models, while consumers who choose the Pro-4X receive an audio system upgrade that includes nine speakers, a six-CD changer and several other enhanced features.
Unlike some other vehicles in its class, the Nissan Xterra does not have numerous option packages available. The individual options that it does offer, however, are desirable and reasonably priced, and are therefore popular with many consumers. The Xterra has received numerous industry awards since it was introduced, including Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year and North American Truck of the Year. It regularly earns Good and Acceptable crash test ratings, with the 2010 model also receiving a five-star rating for side-impact safety.
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