Have you ever seen a car that just looks like it would be fun to drive? Sometimes it’s the boxy SUV with no special embellishments, like the Nissan XTerra. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes there is a car that screams that it is packed with sporty, fun-loving, good times. Most of us pick up this essence from the tiny little sports cars with the drop top or the massive SUV with gigantic tires that looks like it could roll over every car in its path, but sometimes the vehicle is a little bit more subtle.
Released in 1999, the Nissan XTerra shared the same frame as Nissan’s Frontier pickup truck. When released it was a boxy SUV, with serious off-road capacity and an intimidating appearance. It wasn’t as rugged looking as some of the other vehicles that were advertised for their off-road ability, looking a little bit more mainstream than the rest of its vehicle class. The XTerra looked perfect for everyday driving, but it showed a bit of a wild streak, and every bit of it exuded fun. It was the car version of a buttoned up business man who sky dives on the weekends.
However, all good things must come to an end, and in 2015, Nissan announced they would cease production of the XTerra. The 2015 version would be the final production of this rough and tumble off-road beauty. It seems that the SUV offerings of automakers have fallen out of favor with car buyers, as they are gravitating more towards the Crossover vehicles that offer better fuel economy with all the benefits of an SUV’s size and four-wheel drive capability. Nissan announced late in the summer that the XTerra could no longer compete, and they were removing it from their lineup after the 2015 model year.
One of the last vehicles to feature the body on frame design of a traditional SUV, the XTerra’s base model features a 4 liter V6 engine and five speed automatic. The engine design, and off-road suspension make this vehicle every bit as capable as others of its ilk, but it also is built with enough practicality to make it an everyday vehicle. Emphasizing the trailblazing ability is the signature roof rack with an 150 pound capacity, and available storage compartment and off-road lights. Bumper steps allow for easier access to the roof rack for simple stow and go action.
The XTerra has all of the trappings of a traditional everyday SUV, with its 60/40 split rear seats and a plethora of cargo room. Available in 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive, it also possesses the ability to survive in less than stellar weather, without question. It’s also chock full of all of the tech features that are desirable for drivers like hands free phone access via Bluetooth, available rear view monitor, and available Nissan Connect infotainment system. Seven fun and funky colors, and a plethora of accessories make the final XTerra completely customizable to your every desire.
When you sign on to drive an XTerra, you’re getting all of the benefits of an off-road vehicle such as mesh netting to prevent the sliding of your messy equipment, under floor storage to stow your gear, and a wipe clean interior. It also features 261 horsepower and 5000 pounds of towing capacity, which makes quick business of anything the road can throw your way. A choice of three trim levels ups the ante in terms of choices for better handling and capabilities. With a starting price of just under $25,000, the XTerra won’t be easily forgotten when the lot is cleared.
Dozens of safety features, like Vehicle Dynamic Control, ABS, Traction Control, Brake Assist all cry out that the vehicle is made for bigger purposes than the simple road ahead, but also makes for excellent peace of mind when commuting to work. The XTerra is also constructed to control the amount of stress to passengers in the event of a collision. The body is meant to absorb the impact, reducing the potential for injury, while the six standard air bags and advanced seat belt design prevent unnecessary harm. While it offers all of the features to help drivers avoid an accident, it also protects them in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
The XTerra has been a rugged and fun-loving part of the Nissan lineup for over fifteen years, and it won’t be easily forgotten by its biggest fans. Everyday drivers may be trending toward smaller and more gas-efficient vehicles, but those in favor of an off-road adventure may forever embrace the XTerra’s rugged design. If you’ve been thinking about putting yourself inside an XTerra for years, but have never gathered the nerve, don’t wait. The last XTerra’s will be pulling off of the lots in a hurry, so get your hands on the final issue, before it’s a part of Nissan’s history.
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