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4 ⁄ 5 stars
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2012 Nissan Xterra Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 1 review
The rugged Nissan Xterra is one of the last of a dying breed: an old-school SUV. Big and powerful and built for the most adventurous, the 2012 model offers no changes from last year. The 4-door body-on-frame vehicle contains a 4.0-liter V6 engine with 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. The levels of trim available are the basic X, available with rear-wheel drive and a 5-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual and 4WD and 16-inch steel wheels; the S, which has the same transmission options, but adds body side moldings, cargo hooks and 16-inch aluminum alloys; and the Pro 4X, which adds off-road shocks and roof-rack-mounted off-road lights.
The only package available is for the Pro 4X and adds embroidered leather-appointed front seats. Individual options are available for most models; however, only the Pro 4X offers an optional iPhone interface and Bluetooth streaming, and these should be at least available if not standard for all trims in this day and age. A 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system is standard, with the Platinum upgrading to a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate system.
Outside, the Xterra is massive, yet doesn’t look too boxy or bubbly; Nissan has kept the designers in check. It offers a host of pleasing colors, including a striking metallic blue or green. If you opt for Avalanche, the car might remind one of a polar bear.
Inside, there’s a lot of vintage Nissan plastic, but the dashboard isn’t tacky. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear seats leave a lot to be desired. This vehicle is better suited for hauling cargo than a lot of passengers—all passenger seats can be folded for storage, and the S and Pro 4X come with an easy-clean cargo area. With the second row folded, the car has up to 65.7 cubic feet of storage.
The Xterra's ride is generally smooth with plenty of pickup on pavement, but this SUV is really made for off-road, especially the Pro 4X. Because it’s built like a truck and has gas-filled Bilstein shocks and almost 10 inches of clearance, you will have no problem when the asphalt turns to mud. A “part time” low gearing system is especially designed for such situations, but be careful not to leave it on when the road is smooth, as using it on pavement can possibly cause mechanical damage.
Safety features include stability control, antilock disc brakes and front-and-side as well as roof-mounted curtain airbags. It received a Good from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in front and side impact tests, its highest rating.
The Xterra continues to prowl the roads, but like the aforementioned polar bear, it is an endangered species.