This is Nissan’s Year of the Truck, with new versions of old favorites rolling out as fast as you can blink. Like the Pathfinder, the Xterra uses body-on-frame construction, although it has a live rear axle in place of the Pathfinder’s independent arrangement. A 4.0-liter V-6 making an estimated 255 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque is mated to a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, with two- or four-wheel drive. The new Xterra offers a far higher-quality cabin than the outgoing vehicle’s. The exterior styling is similar but, in keeping with current Nissan truck design philosophy, signifies increased size with an enormous grille and front clip.
ON SALE: Early 2005
PRICE: $21,000 (est.)
ENGINE: 255-hp, 4.0-liter V-6
BOTTOM LINE: Except for the styling, a more sophisticated Xterra.