There’s something to love about a 4×4 SUV that’s both capable and economical. But it seems that those types of vehicles are becoming a rarity. Luckily, there’s still an off-road SUV out there that’s pretty affordable and comes with a pretty strong community behind it. The vehicle comes from a Japanese car brand, and no, it’s not Toyota. According to MotorTrend, as a 4×4 vehicle, the Nissan Xterra has a lot to offer.
What is the Nissan Xterra?
The Xterra is an SUV offered by Nissan from 1999 to 2015. It has two generations and comes with legitimate 4×4 capability. For the most part, it is seen as a reliable vehicle thanks to its Japanese heritage. And you can find one with things like low-range four-wheel drive.
You may be wondering why the Nissan Xterra is such an affordable 4×4 SUV. And the answer is simple; It’s not a Toyota. Toyotas of this era come with something known as the “Toyota Tax.” If you want something like a 4Runner or even the FJ Cruiser, you’ll pay a premium. That’s not necessarily something you’ll be up against with an Xterra. Especially the first generation model.
The Xterra is an off-road SUV with a V6
Under the hood of the Xterra sits a 3.3-liter V6 engine. Most models make 180 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. According to motor trendThat may seem underpowered for a 4×4 SUV that weighs around 4,000 pounds.
In 2001, Nissan must have realized that the Xterra deserved more power. It added an optional supercharged VG33ER engine that produced 210 hp and up to 246 lb-ft of torque. If you find an Xterra with the supercharger, it will likely cost more than the standard V6 engine.
Of course, not all versions of this 4×4 SUV come with a V6. The standard engine was a four cylinder.
Does the Xterra have a manual transmission?
One of the Xterra’s biggest selling points might be its manual transmission. Among off-road enthusiasts, a standard transmission is a coveted feature. Gives you more control over your vehicle, especially in 4×4 situations.
Manual transmissions also have a lower failure rate than automatic transmissions. And that’s because they are less complex.
What Nissan Xterra are the cheapest?
The first-generation Xterra SUVs will be one of the most affordable options. The first generation Xterra lasted until 2005 and you can usually find one for less than $10,000. The best route to take might be to find a base model with a V6 and manual transmission. By doing so, you can save on the actual SUV purchase and spend more on off-road upgrades.
If you want a raised SUV, you’ll need to budget for a lift kit. Another thing to note is that the Nissan Xterra has an open front differential. If you really want to get serious about off-roading, you’ll probably want to upgrade to something beefier.
But overall, this 4×4 SUV is still a good value. That is until enthusiasts start paying more attention to it.