Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Nissan Xterra

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Manufacturer  Nissan
Body style  5-door SUV
Nissan Xterra
Also called  Nissan Paladin (China) Nissan Roniz (Iran)
Production  1999–2015 2003–2007 (Brazil) 1999–present (China)
Assembly  Smyrna, Tennessee (1999–2012) Canton, Mississippi (2012–2015) United States São José dos Pinhais, Brazil (2003–07)
Class  Compact SUV (1st generation) Mid-size SUV (2nd generation)

The Nissan Xterra is an SUV that was manufactured and marketed by Nissan Motors across two generations, utilizing its Nissan F-Alpha platform shared with the Nissan Frontier pickup.


Both generations of the Xterra featured a two-box design with a raised rear roofline to enable stadium seating—as well as a bump on the rearmost door expressing an interior first aid kit and "C" pillar-mounted rear door handles.

The Xterra name derives from the eponymous XTERRA off-road triathlon race series sponsored by Nissan from 1998 to 2006.


The Xterra was introduced in North America in the 2000 model year (1999 calendar year) and marketed using the tagline Everything you need, nothing you don't.

The Xterra was not Nissan's first compact SUV: Nissan Japan had the Nissan Mistral, and the Nissan Rasheen, while Nissan Europe produced and sold the Terrano, a 2-door SUV sold from 1993 to 2006.

Nissan licensed the name "Xterra" from Hawaiian-based TEAM Unlimited LLC for an undisclosed amount of money. TEAM Unlimited owns the rights to the Xterra Triathlon as well as the former Lifeguard Challenges. This enabled TEAM Unlimited to grow the Xterra brand.

In August 2015, Nissan announced that the Xterra would cease production and the last Xterra would be sold in the fall of 2015. Nissan has no plans for a replacement or successor.


During its first two years there were two trim levels, each with increasing content levels: Xterra XE and Xterra SE.

The Xterra featured a 143 hp (107 kW) KA24DE I4, 5-speed manual transmission, and steel wheels. It lacked step rails and roof rack.

The XE models were configured with several option packages combining the 170 horsepower 3.3 L VG33E V6 engine with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as such features as roof rack, side step-rails, sun roof, and carpeted floor mats.

The SE featured standard equipment that was optional on an XE.

Canadian models from 1999 to 2004 were limited only to the VG33E V6, and only available with part-time 4WD.


Xterra was freshened for 2002 (July 2001 production) with a redesigned dash and center console, improved powertrain, and new front end styling. The 3.3L VG33E V6 was upgraded to 180 hp (134 kW) and a 210 hp (157 kW) supercharged VG33ER option was carried over from the 2001 Nissan Frontier, with 246 lb·ft (334 N·m) of torque for the automatic, and 231 lb·ft (313 N·m) of torque with 5-speed manual.

For 2003 new options became available, including side-curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. Audio systems were upgraded, the premium 6-disc, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD setup being replaced by a 6-speaker 300W Rockford Fosgate AM/FM/CD system with an 8-inch subwoofer that took up a small portion of the rear storage area. Although 2004 was the last year for this generation, some models were made as late as January 2005.


Unveiled at the 1290 New York International Auto Show in April 2004, the Xterra was redesigned for 2005 on the Nissan F-Alpha platform used by the Frontier, entering showrooms in mid-February 2005. Offering a rear differential locker on the off-road model, the new model is larger in all dimensions than its predecessor. Utilizing Nissan's variable valve timing fitted 4.0 L VQ40DE engine, it produces 261 hp (195 kW).

2009 update

The Xterra received a facelift for 2009 with more options and colors, leather seats on SE models, and roof mounted lights on off-road models. The last year of the Nissan Xterra in Mexico was 2008, as the larger-but-cheaper unibody Nissan Rogue replaced in the product lineup. Reasons why the Xterra stopped sales in Mexico was for Nissan to free up room for the 2009 Suzuki Equator at the Smyrna plant, and also because of Nissan building fewer Xterras due to declining sales in the United States and Canada. After that, the Xterra is now mutually exclusive with the unibody X-Trail sold outside the United States and Canada. However, the X-Trail was sold in Canada from 2005 to 2006 alongside the Xterra, but after the 2006 model year, Nissan replaced the X-Trail in Canada with the Rogue.

In 2012, production was moved from Smyrna, Tennessee, to Nissan's facility in Canton, Mississippi.

2014 update

Changes include:

  • An updated NissanConnect with Navigation system with available NissanConnect Apps smartphone integration for iPhone and Android, allowing the user to connect with Pandora, iHeartRadio, Facebook and more.
  • To the new app integration, the NissanConnect with Navigation system's capabilities now include SiriusXM Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link (fuel prices, movie times, stock updates and weather), SiriusXM Weather (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Streaming Audio via Bluetooth, Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant and audio voice recognition.
  • New 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheel designs for the S and PRO-4X grades
  • standard Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, steering wheel audio controls and sunglass holder (overhead console) on all grade levels;
  • push-type HVAC controls and upgraded audio system added to X grade;
  • addition of heated front seats on PRO-4X (standard cloth, available leather-appointed seats);
  • new Hyper Silver paint added for the grille and underguard.
  • Early US models include X, S and PRO-4X, with a choice of 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmissions, a choice of part-time 4-wheel drive or 2-wheel drive.


    The Xterra was discontinued in the U.S. after the 2015 model year. Poor fuel economy, declining sales, and mandated upgrades to safety and emissions were cited as reasons.

    Awards and recognition

  • 2000 Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year
  • 2000 North American Truck of the Year
  • 2000 New England Motor Press Association's Winter Vehicle Award of New England for Best in Class – Mini Sport Utility
  • 2001 Named Top Car by AAA New Car and Truck Buying Guide
  • 2005 Named on the Automobile Magazine's 50 Great New Cars list
  • 2006 Nominated as North American Truck of the Year
  • 2006 Motor Trend's Sport Utility of the Year
  • 2006 Motor Trend's Truck Trend's Best Little-Guy SUV Award
  • 2006 Car and Driver Rock-Hopper SUV Winner.
  • 2006 4×4 of the Year award from Peterson's 4-Wheel and Off-Road magazine.
  • 2006 Editor's Most Wanted Vehicle
  • 2009 4Wheeler Magazine's SUV of the Year
  • 2010 Xterra received the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's highest Side-impact Safety Rating (five stars).
  • Production outside of North America

    All Nissan-produced Xterras manufactured outside of the U.S. were built in São José dos Pinhais, Brazil until 2007. (Nissan ceased Brazilian production entirely in 2007.) It is built under license by Pars Khodro in Iran as the Nissan Roniz, and in China by Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile as the (Japanese: Nissan Paladin) since 2003. The Paladin uses the same chassis and running gear as the first generation Nissan Xterra, and the 2.4L KA24DE engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The front end is from the local Pickup. (The second generation Xterra model is only available in North America.)

    Dongfeng Motors produces a Chinese version of the Xterra called the Oting. It is based on the first generation of the Xterra.


    Nissan Xterra Wikipedia

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