Nissan Xterra
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Paladin (China)
Nissan Roniz (Iran)
Production 2000–present
Assembly Smyrna, Tennessee, United States
São José dos Pinhais, Brazil
Iran (Pars Khodro)
Successor Nissan Rogue (Mexico)
Class Compact SUV
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive

The Nissan Xterra is a compact SUV built on the Nissan F-Alpha truck platform. Targeted at an adventurous consumer, the Frontier-based vehicle is named after the XTERRA off-road triathlon race series Nissan sponsored through the end of 2006.


The Xterra was introduced in North America in the 2000 model year and marketed as a simple but capable SUV with the slogan Everything you need, nothing you don't. Although accepted by a wide range of ages, incomes, lifestyles and genders, Nissan marketed the Xterra primarily to the adventurous and outdoor consumer. Many commercials feature one driving the vehicle through mud, unloading mountain bikes out of the back, or packing up surfing equipment.

The Xterra wasn't Nissan's first compact SUV. Nissan in Japan had the Nissan Mistral, in Europe the Terrano a 2-door SUV sold from 1993-2006.

Three design cues have remained constant through the vehicle's life, its raised rear roofline and the hump-backed rear gate. The raised roof allows for stadium seating and the hump provides room for a first aid kit. The rear door handles are installed on the "C" pillar as a Nissan design tradition started with the 1986 Nissan Pathfinder. When the four door Pathfinder was introduced, Nissan chose to conceal the door handles as a part of the "C" pillar trim to visually make it appear like a two door truck with a camper shell, with conventional door handles on the front doors.

Nissan Palladin

Nissan Paladin

In the United States, the Xterra was Nissan's entry-level SUV until the arrival of the 2008 Nissan Rogue. In the Nissan lineup, the Xterra is priced between the Rogue and the Murano, but sized below the Rogue.

The Nissan Paladin is an SUV manufactured by Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile Co., Ltd. and is sold in China only. It is active in the Paris Dakar Rally during these years. The Paladin uses the same chassis and running gear as the first generation Nissan Xterra, but the engine is a 2.5 diesel mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The front end is from the local Pickup.

First generation (WD22)Edit

First Generation
Production 2000–2004
Engine(s) 2.4 L 143 hp (107 kW) I4
3.3 L 170 hp (130 kW) V6
3.3 L 180 hp (130 kW) V6
3.3 L 210 hp (160 kW) V6
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 104.3 in (2650 mm)
Length 178.0 in (4522 mm)
Width 70.4 in (1788 mm)
Height 2002-04 XE: 73.7 in (1872 mm)
2002-04 SE 4WD: 74.2 in (1884 mm)
2002-04 SE 2WD: 74.4 in (1889 mm)
2002-04 S/C 4WD: 73.8 in (1834 mm)
2002-04 SC 2WD: 73.9 in (1877 mm)
2000-01 XE: 69.4 in (1672 mm)
2000-01 SE 4WD: 74 in (1879 mm)
2000-01 SE 2WD: 73.6 in (1869 mm)
Fuel capacity 19.4 US gal (73.4 L/16.2 imp gal)
Related Nissan Frontier


During its first two years there were three Xterra models, two designated XE and a luxury SE.

The base XE came with a 143 hp (107 kW) KA24DE I4, 5-speed manual transmission, and steel wheels. It lacked such accessories as step rails and roof rack.

The most popular XE Xterras were configured with several option packages combining the 170 horsepower 3.3L VG33E V6 with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission and such features as roof rack, side step-rails, and carpeted floormats. The XE proved to be the most popular of the trim levels, with more flexibility on equipment options. A fully loaded XE had almost all the practical features of the top-of-the-line SE model, while costing an average of $2,000 less.

The SE was the premium trim level for the Xterra, offering almost everything available on an XE as standard. A flip-up sunroof and "SE" badging on the back set a fully-optioned XE and SE apart.

Several minor options were available from the dealer, such as mudflaps, cargo liners, and in-cabin ventilation microfilters.[1]

Canadian models from 2000-2004 were limited only to the VG33E V6, and only available with part-time 4WD.

The interior however, had minor changes in the climate controls. The buttons and controls were livened up by leaving the old 200 sx layout with a more rugged look of the same set up from 2002-2004.


Xterra was freshened for 2002 with a redesigned dash and center console, improved powerplant, and 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. This is either for the sake of the manual gearbox not being able to handle the additional torque,[2] or to give the automatic more power to compensate for the longer gearing.[3]

The 2002 Xterra's restyled front end was grafted on to an otherwise unchanged bodywork. In 2003, new options were added including side-curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Audio systems were also upgraded, the premium 6-disc, 4-speaker AM/FM/CD setup being replaced by a 6-speaker 300W Rockford Fosgate AM/FM/CD system along with an 8-inch subwoofer that took up a small portion of the rear storage area. The Nissan Xterra SE & XE system is designed to Rockford Fosgate's sonic signature "The Punch"; a two DIN AM/FM/RDS/6-disc source unit/in-dash CD changer (frequency response (CD) +\- 3dB, 20Hz-20 kHz); an amplifier that drives 1-ohm loads per channel and 72 watts (12V Batt) per channel with built-in equalization, custom tailored to the vehicle; the lower front door speaker uses a 6.5" 1 ohm driver and a special 1 ohm voice coil; the upper front door speaker uses a 4-ohm, 25mm tweeter; the rear speaker systems are 2-ohm 6" x 9" full-range speakers located in the rearmost side panels.[4] The system was advertised as an 8-speaker by considering the dual voice coil subwoofer as two speakers. The Rockford-Fosgate system's speakers, amplifier and factory subwoofer enclosure are actually manufacturerd by Clarion.

Second generation (N50)Edit

Second generation
2nd Nissan Xterra
Production 2005–present
Platform Nissan F-Alpha platform
Engine(s) 4.0 L 261 hp (195 kW) V6
Transmission(s) 5-speed automatic
6-speed manual
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2700 mm)
Length 178.7 in (4539 mm)
Width 72.8 in (1849 mm)
Height 74.9 in (1902 mm)
Fuel capacity 21.1 US gal (79.9 L/17.6 imp gal)
Related Infiniti QX56
Nissan Armada
Nissan Frontier
Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Titan


The Xterra was redesigned in 2005 on the Nissan F-Alpha platform shared by the Titan and Frontier. Offering a rear differential locker on the off-road model, the new model is larger in all dimensions than its predecessor. Utilizing Nissan's more refined, variable valve timing fitted 4.0 L VQ40DE engine, it produces 265 hp (198 kW). 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. As a result, 2008 was the last year of the Nissan Xterra in Mexico, as the larger-but-cheaper unibody Nissan Rogue replaced the Xterra in the 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 2005-06 alongside the Xterra, but after the 2006 model year, Nissan replaced the X-Trail in Canada with the larger Rogue.

Nissan Xterra -- 04-22-2010

2009-present Nissan Xterra

Awards and recognitionEdit


Soldiers and Nissan Xterra vehicles of Brazil"s Força Nacional de Segurança.

  • 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.[5]
  • 2006 4x4 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 NHTSA's Highest Side-impact Safety Rating (five stars).

Production elsewhereEdit

Nissan Palladin

Nissan Paladin, China

All Nissan-produced Xterras are currently built in Smyrna, Tennessee and São José dos Pinhais, Brazil. It is built under license by Pars Khodro in Iran and called the Nissan Roniz, and built and sold in China as the Nissan Paladin starting in 2003.

Cultural referencesEdit

  • In the sitcom The Office, we learn that Andy Bernard drives a Nissan Xterra in the episode "Did I Stutter", which he then sells to Dwight.
  • In the crime-drama The Sopranos, A.J. Soprano drives a yellow Nissan Xterra.
  • In the teen drama Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls drives a yellow Nissan Xterra with aftermarket parts including an ARB front bumper and a Safari Snorkel.
  • In the movie The Big Bounce, Jack Ryan drives a yellow Nissan Xterra.
  • In the movie Orange County, the main character drives a first gen silver Nissan Xterra.


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