2015 Nissan Xterra Review

Xterra

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2015 Nissan Xterra Overview

Need to climb mountains or traverse riverbeds on a regular basis? Nissan’s 2015 Xterra midsize SUV can do that. This 5-passenger, 4-door terrain tamer isn’t the most refined mudder on the market, nor is it entirely comfortable on your typical paved road. It does, however, make up for these shortcomings with a ton of value and some hefty off-road capability.

Once again available in 3 trims, the base X, the up-featured S and the off-road-dedicated Pro-4X, this tough-guy Nissan goes up against the likes of Toyota’s tricked-out 4Runner and Jeep’s equally tough Wrangler and Grand Cherokee dirt-busting duo. All these rivals amp up the creature comforts and the convenience doodads, along with the ol' MSRP.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Xterra returns with standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) in the X and S iterations, while the Pro-4X comes only in part-time 4-wheel-drive configuration with low-range gearing. Don’t worry, though, said 4WD is again available to the two lower trims as optional equipment. Furthermore, for 2015 the Xterra S gets Bluetooth streaming audio capability as standard equipment, along with NissanConnect infotainment with Smartphone apps, as well as a USB port, satellite radio and hands-free texting. All these new techno-goodies, by the way, are now interfaced with a 5-inch color display.

Returning aboard all Xterra iterations for 2015 is the ubiquitous 4.0-liter V6 powerplant that puts out 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque under the management of a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. However, if the 5-speed automatic isn’t hard-core enough, the 4WD Xterra S and Pro-4X trims each remain eligible for an available 6-speed manual transmission. EPA estimates return at 16 mpg city/22 highway for RWD trims, with 4WD trims carrying either transmission again estimated at 15/20. Max towing capability, meantime, remains 5,000 pounds with the available Nevada Towing Package (Class IV hitch and wiring) installed.

The base Xterra X returns for 2015 toting standard 16-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery and full power accessories, bolstered by cruise control and tilt-wheel steering. Of course, air conditioning returns standard, as does a single-CD player with 6 speakers and an auxiliary audio input.

Move up to the S and expect to find, besides the already mentioned techno add-ons for 2015, 16-inch alloy wheels, Easy Clean cargo-area materials, added cargo tie-downs and hooks, and in 4WD Xterra S configurations, a roof-mounted gear basket.

The top-shelf, terrain-busting Pro-4X, meanwhile, boasts such added standard bling as an electronic locking rear differential, hill-start assist and descent control, not to mention upgraded 16-inch alloy wheels with off-road tires and beefy Bilstein shock absorbers. Further standard stuff adorning the Pro-4X includes roof-rack crossbars, heated front seats, upgraded cloth upholstery, a fold-flat front passenger seat and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Techno-wise, the Pro-4X is delivered with standard GPS navigation, a rear-view camera and a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium stereo setup.

Lower Xterra trims return eligible for several items that come standard on pricier versions as available equipment, while a hatch-connected 10-foot-square tent is a popular dealer-installed accessory on all trims, as are available side step rails.

Finally, standard safety features toted by all 2015 Xterra trims include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and a remote antitheft alarm. The Pro-4X, meantime, adds standard front fog/driving lights, roof-mounted off-road running lights and auto headlights to all of the above, while the Pro-4X and now the S each tote standard NissanConnect emergency telematics.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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