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Over the last ten years, the car industry has gone through a drastic shakeup. The popularity of the Hummer and other off-road vehicles led to the explosion of the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market. Americans demanded these versatile vehicles that would function properly on the highways but gave them the option to go off-road and explore the many terrains of the country.
Recognizing the demand for SUV, Nissan produced the Nissan Xterra as its compact SUV. Introduced in 2000, the Nissan Xterra immediately won rave reviews. With its compact appearance and smooth handling, the Nissan Xterra has become one of the most popular SUVs in the compact SUV market. Billed with the slogan, ďEverything you need, nothing you donít,Ē the Nissan Xterra won praise for its no-frills features and for its power. When Nissan was creating this powerful beast, they searched for the most appropriate name for their creation. The XTERRA series of off-road triathlon races is typically associated with ruggedness and strength, which Nissan felt was the right name for their excellent new car.
When the Nissan Xterra was released in 2000, it garnered immediate praise. Motor Sport chose the Nissan Xterra its Sport Utility of the Year and it was also selected as North American Truck of the Year. The nissan xterra also won the New England Motor Press Associationís Winter Vehicle Award of New England for Best in Class- Mini Sport Utility. The nissan xterra was a major hit among adventurous people that loved to take their car off-road and do some exploring. While the Nissan Xterra has undergone a number of changes, two things have remained in its design Ė a raised rear roofline that could be used for stadium seating and a hump on the back lift gate that provided space for a first aid kit.
The Nissan Xterra was initially released in three different models. The xterra base xe was the most economical of these initial models. The Nissan Xterra Base XEs were powered by a 4 cylinder KA24DE motor and were only available in manual transmission. The vehicle was equipped with steel wheels but wasnít equipped with accessories like step rails and a roof rack.
Further up the scale was the Nissan Xterras XE. These cars were the main sellers in the early lines of the nissan xterra. What made the Nissan Xterra X3 such a good value was the ability to configure the vehicle with a number of equipment package options. With so much flexibility, car buyers couldnít resist the Nissan Xterra XE.
However, the most deluxe xterra that was produced in these early years were the Nissan Xterra SE. These premium vehicles were equipped with all of the equipment options that you could get with a Nissan Xterra XE plus some extra options. Containing a roof rack, side-step rails, a 3.3 L V6 engine and a flip-up sunroof were just some of the accessories that came with the Nissan Xterra SE. Of course, if that wasnít enough, you could get extra accessories like mudflaps, cargo liners, and carpeted floor mats for a bit extra to go with a Nissan Xterra SE.
In 2002, the Nissan Xterra was updated with some changes made in the interior. The dash and center console of the car were redesigned and the nissan xterra became available in an assortment of colors including shock blue, Sedona, molten lava, and atomic orange. Additionally, the audio system that came with the Nissan xterra was upgraded to a 300 W Rockford Fosgate system that contained eight speakers rather than the previous six speaker setup. However, the biggest change that came with the redesigned nissan xterra was in its engine where the xterra began to the newest Nissan technology Ė a 210 hp 3.3 L Roots Type Supercharger V6.
Although the Nissan Xterra had been one of the most successful SUVs in Nissanís line of cars at the time, Nissan decided that a redesign was necessary. The second generation of the nissan xterra was released in 2005, where it captured the imagination of SUV lovers much like it had when it was initially released in 2000. Again awarded Motor Trendís Sport Utility of the Year, the second generation Nissan Xterra won and was nominated for a number of awards. It was awarded as Car and Driverís Rock-Hopper SUV Winner and also won Motor Trendís Truck Trendís Best Little-Guy SUV Award. As commercially successful as it was critically acclaimed, the new Nissan Xterra continues to do big things.
While it would appear that the redesigned xterra is smaller than the earlier generation of Nissan Xterra, it simply isnít true. The second generation of the Nissan Xterra is actually larger in all dimensions and is powered by the Nissan 4.0 L VQ40DE engine that can produce up to 265hp. Available in four different trim levels (X, S, Off-Road, and SE), the second generation of nissan xterra can come in either 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive. The nissan xterra also comes with either a 36 month and 36,000 mile limited warranty or an extended five year, 60,000 mile limited power train warranty.
A car that is valued for its handling on road and off road, the new Nissan Xterra definitely leaves a big impression. From an engineering perspective, this second generation of the Nissan Xterra was highly praised. Described as the most extreme SUV on the market with the exception of HUMMERís line of vehicles, the Nissan Xterrra is truly a beast. However, due to its high-tech sound insulation, the Nissan Xterra purrs quietly when you are driving it on the freeway.
With an updating expected on the 2009 line of Nissan Xterra, it is safe to say that the xterra has been one of the biggest survivors in the SUV market. Its amazing durability and its ability to function in a number of different environments make the nissan xterra one of the most popular SUVs on the market. Considering the amount of ingenuity that is placed in the making of these cars, it would be a poor decision to bet on the continued success of the Nissan Xterra!