While it may not look like it, the 2005 Nissan Xterra is all-new. Nissan obviously didn't see a need to rework a design that perfectly communicated the Xterra's rugged intentions, and so has kept the signature style intact (stepped roof, tailgate bulge, etc). It's the mechanicals that tell the story this time around.
Built on a modified version of the same platform on which the Armada, Titan, and Frontier appear, the Xterra is now equipped with a standard 4.0-liter V-6 making 265 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. This news is so good, we could almost cry. The last generation forced us to trundle down the road and up mountains with no more than 210 hp. To put the newfound power to the road (or rocks), Nissan offers the choice of either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. A speed-sensitive steering system and four-wheel ABS are also new. Trim levels include S, Off-Road, and SE; those buyers who opt for the Off-Road edition will get Bilstein Shocks, skid plates, and 265/75R-16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail off-road tires, among other goodies. Off-Roaders who don't want to shift for themselves also get hill-start assist and hill-descent control systems.
Overall length grows by less than an inch, while wheelbase increases by two inches to 106.3. With an accompanying width increase, the '05 Xterra now measures 72.8 inches wide. Inside, that stretching translates to more room, most noticeably in the second-row, where headroom and legroom improve by around an inch and a half each. The plastic lined "easy-to-clean" cargo area is augmented by an adjustable channel system for tying down larger items. With more space for people and a lot more power, the 2005 Xterra looks like a winner.