Pros: Great 4wd capabilities, decent gas milage
Cons: Engine noise, (pop-up sunroof only)
During my recent trip to my dad's house I got to drive his new Xterra. I have to say that I found the styling to be suited for someone with a young spirit. The first day I rode on the Xterra was in the back seat. Immediatly I figure out why is the roof from the second seat to the back, a couple of inches higher than in the front. This design allows the rear passenger a front seat like view. Also allows for a lot of headroom for people like my cousin who is 6'4 and fit very nicely I must say. The choice of material for the seats is very intrusting. It felt at first somewhat cheap, but once you spend some time on the Xterra you notice why they choose that material. It is very durable and amazingly easy to clean. For a vehicle intended for off roading it is the perfect one for those muddy days. The seats are very confortable and offer decent support. One of my favorite this about the desing is the roof rack (that is right the roof right) It is very pleasing to the eye. It has a basket on the roof rack that could be use for many things. We use it to give the tires more traction when we were going on a trail and got stuck in some mud. We also use the cleverly positions First aid kit. If you wonder were they place the first aid kit, just look at the rear gate and notice that square section well on the inside is were they place it. the instrument gages are 3 circles with the speedometer in the middle. The radio on my dad's was a 6-disc in dash unit.
The engine is a 3.3 liter engine that offers decent power, although if you can and want to have the performance go for the 3.3 Supercharge Xterra. The engine does have a very anoying thing, the cooling fan, you see car companies usually add a clutch to the fan so it can disengage or engage according to the temperature of the engine.(this problem concers only mechanical fans connected to the engine not the electric one)In the Xterra the fan is always engage at the same speed of the engine and when you add more gas the faster the fan goes and a lot of noise comes inside the Xterra. At 3000 rpm you feel like you are going at 9000 rpm. but once you get use to it is ok. The suspensions is confortable on trucks standards is no cadillac but is no Mack's or Peterbuilt. The space in the cargo area is nice it only seats 5 so if you have a big family you will have to get a bigger one. Teh interior dash layout is very modern and everything is place in the right place. if you get it with the tinted windows you will get your money's worth. I strongly recommend this option specially if you live here in Texas. The Brakes are disc up front and unfortuonaly Drums on the back. I have no idea what was nissan thinking when they design the brakes for the Xterra. They offer got stopping power but I like to drive a little bit more loose than the average person so I would aprecita 4 wheel disc brakes. They do come with ABS so that is really nice and must be a must when thinking about getting a bit truck. It could mean the difference between a crash and a near one. In conclusion the terra is a very nice SUV for a average size family with great gas milage for a truck and good value overall. Also remember to check the crash rating for your next vehicle at carsafety.com or the prefer one the Insurance Institute for Highway safety. The price might seem a little bit high but the thing is that the one I drove was bought in Puerto Rico so they have to pay a lot more in some taxes that fourwheel drive vehicles have to pay. here in the US it would be a lot cheaper.
P.S. If you decide to buy the Xterra
You should know that the ABS system is
quite noisy when is activated and the
pedal vibrates a lot while working. The
first time the ABS was activaded while
I was driving I got a little bit scared.
But this is totally normal.
Update (March 21, 2003)
I just came back from a vacation in Puerto Rico. The noise in from the engine fan was almost gone. It seems with the miles the fan becomes a little bit more loose. The noise levels on the interior were a lot lower than back when it was new. (It has now 6,500 miles)