Marketed as everything that a car owner needs, the Xterra has been inspiring car manufacturers and SUV enthusiasts around the world since 2000. Though it was not Nissan's first line of compact SUVs, this vehicle still managed to make a name for itself through its two generations of innovative style and superior performance.
2000-2001: XE, SE, and base XE
When the Nissan Xterra was introduced in 2000, it was sold in three trim levels: base XE, luxury SE, and XE. The luxury SE trim was considered to be the premium version of the Xterra. It had an "SE" badged at its back, and it was equipped with a flip-up sunroof. On the other hand, the base XE and XE were differentiated by their engines and standard features. The base XE was powered by a KA24DE I4 engine that was coupled to a 5-speed manual transmission, while the XE was backed by a 3.3-L, VG33E V6 engine and came with either a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. In terms of features, the XE featured side-step rails, carpeted floor mats, and a roof rack, while the base version did not. Despite the differences, the Xterra still managed to bag various awards such as Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year and North American Truck of the Year.
2002-2004: First redesign
Two years after it was launched, the Xterra underwent its first redesign. Its 4-speaker, 6-disc, AM/FM/CD audio system was upgraded to a 300W, 6-speaker, AM/FM/CD system that came with an 8-inch subwoofer. Engine-wise, the redesigned Xterra was available with either a supercharged VG33ER engine that could produce as much as 210 horsepower and 246 pound-feet of torque or an improved 3.3-L, VG33E, V6 engine that could generate 180 horsepower. In terms of body style, this redesigned model featured a new dash, center console, tire pressure monitoring system, and side-curtain airbags.
2005-present: F-Alpha platform
For the 2005 model year, Nissan once again restyled the Xterra under the F-Alpha platform. Compared to its predecessor, the '05 model was larger because of its rear differential locker. Its engine was also upgraded to a 4.0-L, VQ40DE engine that could generate 265 horsepower. Unfortunately, in 2008, production of the Xterra stopped in Mexico because of the introduction of the Rogue line. Nonetheless, Nissan continued its production in other countries. At present, the Xterra has various safety features, a roof rack, under-floor cargo storage, and crossbars. It also has an estimated MPG rating of 15 in cities and 22 in highways.