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2010 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4×4 Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Nissan, SUV, Test Drives

After an extensive list of enhancements and revisions for the 2009 model year, the tough, essential Nissan Xterra continues in 2010 as a vehicle designed to inspire and facilitate outdoor enthusiasts’ activities wherever they go.  The new Off-Road Xterra meets the needs of adventure-seeking consumers with a package that can safely and securely get you to your furthest off-road challenges and back.

The U.S. built Xterra offers outstanding quality and reliability, along with strong on-road and off-road performance credentials.  All 2010 Xterra models feature an advanced 261hp 4.0 liter DOHC V6 engine, along with a rugged ‘F-Alpha’ truck platform utilizing a fully-boxed, all steel ladder type frame for adventure ready performance.  Xterra is available with a choice of a rugged six-speed manual or a smooth shifting five-speed automatic transmission.

The Xterra Off-Road styling is bold and aggressive, just what off-road enthusiasts are looking for. The front fascia starts with a bold front bumper, large flared front fenders, a powerful-looking hood and headlamps, two round off-road lights mounted in front of the roof rack, foglamps, Nissan SUV-style angle strut grille, a versatile tubular roof rack with latchable lid, and a rear bumper design with built-in side steps for easy access to the functional   roof rack that is not found on any of the competition.  The Off-Road model also features black front and rear door handles, black sandblast aluminum front fascia, black lower bodyside molding and tinted rear privacy glass.

As in previous years, Xterra features a long wheelbase for a smooth ride and ample interior room, yet overall length is highly manageable due to the short front overhang-helping to enhance maneuverability in off-road hill climbing or trail shortcomings.

Xterra Off-Road’s flexible interior is spacious enough for up to five adults and their gear, with ample leg, head and cargo room.  What’s left outside fits easily and securely in the roof rack.  A standard 60/40 split folding stadium-style rear seat comes with removable seat bottom cushions for fold-flat capability plus a fold-down front seat back that creates added utility for hauling long gear.  It is only available in the new Off-Road model.

Standard interior features in the Off-Road model include sporty, manually operated, reclining front bucket seats with unique, washable seat cloth, footrest, dual front and rear 20-oz. cupholders, power windows/door locks, power sideview mirrors, two-tiered glove box with lower lock, self-dimming rearview mirror, cruise-control, variable-speed intermittent wipers/washers with rear wiper/washer/defogger, foglamps, dual map lamps, dual A-pillar mounted grab handles and handles above each passenger door for easier entry and exit, sun visors with extenders and vanity mirrors, beefy, leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilt steering column, padded center console with dual cupholders and a big storage bin, auxiliary audio input Jack, AC/heater controls with micro-filter, overhead console with sunglass storage, three-12-volt power plugs, remote keyless entry, a 300-watt Rockford Fosgate powered audio system with eight speakers and subwoofer, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, MP3/WMA capability plus aux-in-jack, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, and XM satellite radio.  Options that I found in my Off-Road model included an interface system for iPod, floor mats, adjustable cargo organizer, emergency kit, wheel locks, and a Garmin portable navigation system.

Xterra Off-Road versatile cargo area is highlighted by an optional Easy Clean cargo surface and a total of ten cargo area hooks-six on the floor/sides and four on the ceiling (floor hooks can carry up to 110lbs.).  Underneath is more storage that latches closed.

Securing bike rack and other accessories or gear is made easier with an optional adjustable channel system in the cargo floor, similar in design to the Utili-track system offered on the Nissan Titan and Frontier pickup trucks.  Under the floor is another storage area for flatter cargo.

The heart of Xterra Off-Road’s trail blazing capability and prowess is the magnificent and rugged fully-boxed, all-steel ladder frame and suspension system found underneath.

Up front is an independent setup with steel double-wishbone geometry, Bilstein high-performance gas-charged shocks and a 33mm stabilizer bar.  The rear features a solid axle leaf spring setup with Bilstein high-performance gas-charged shocks and a 25.4mm stabilizer bar.  The new Off-Road model comes with 9.5in. of ground clearance, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, brake limited slip differential, as well as an electronic locking rear differential for serious off-roading.  The dashboard mounted rotary switch enables you to easily change from rear-wheel drive, four-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive low.

Other driveline components include engine speed-sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion steering and big, 4-wheel disc brakes.  These brakes are 11.65 vented and clamped with dual-piston calipers up front and 12.2in. vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Braking control on the road and off are complemented with standard ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution allowing you to maintain control of your direction during severe maneuvers.

For a smooth ride on the road and rugged off-road trailing chasing your off-road adventures, the Off-Road Xterra comes standard with 16X8in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with BF Goodrich 265/75R16in. Rugged Trail T/A off-road tires.

Occupant safety is a prime concern at Nissan and each Xterra Off-Road model comes standard with Nissan’s Advanced Airbag System (AABS with dual-stage supplemental front airbags, with seat belt and occupant classification sensors), driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and 3-point front/rear seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters and adjustable upper anchors, roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags with rollover sensor, LATCH system for child seats, Zone Body construction with front and rear crumple zones, First Aid kit, Vehicle Dynamic Control and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  To keep the undersides of the Xterra Off-Road safe, each model comes standard with skid plates covering the oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case.

With the addition of the new Off-Road Xterra model, off-road enthusiasts now have an even better choice to choose when purchasing a real off-road warrior.  It’s everything you need for great adventures from driving through fields to Superjeep tours in Iceland.



Price: Base $30,700 As-Tested $32,005 (incl. destination)
Type: Midsize SUV
Where Built: United States
EPA Class: Sport Utility Vehicles


Length: 178.7 in.
Width: 72.8 in.
Height: 74.9 in.
Wheel Base: 106.3 in.
Ground Clearance: 9.5 in.
Curb Weight: 4453 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5399 lbs.

Front Head Room: 39.9 in.
Front Hip Room: 55.9 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 58.3 in.
Rear Head Room: 39.3 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 58.3 in.
Rear Hip Room: 46.1 in.
Front Leg Room: 42.4 in.
Rear Leg Room: 34.4 in.
Luggage Capacity: 36.3 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 66 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Base Number of Cylinders: 6
Base Engine Size: 4 liters
Base Engine Type: V6
Horsepower: 261 hp
Max Horsepower: 5600 rpm
Torque: 281 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4000 rpm
Maximum Payload: 881 lbs.
Maximum Towing Capacity: 5000 lbs.
Drive Type: 4WD
Turning Circle: 37.3 ft.
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 21.1 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 15 mpg / 20 mpg / 17 mpg
Range in Miles:
Automatic: 316.5 mi. / 422 mi. / 358.7 mi.


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