Nissan's most off road capable SUV, the Xterra benefits from body on frame construction and an available four-wheel-drive system. Named for the Xterra off-road triathlon races, a series of competitive sporting events consisting of swimming, mountain biking and trail running—activities Nissan’s product planners thought buyers of the rugged SUV would be interested in. Of course, many people just like to look as if they are capable of those activities, and so purchase vehicles like the Xterra just for image.
Whatever your motivation, the Nissan Xterra is more than capable of taking you pretty much anyplace you want to go—and bringing you back again. However, because of its extreme off-road capability, the Xterra can be somewhat lacking on the road. There are a number (well, in fact pretty much all) of the current group of SUV crossover vehicles will outperform the Xterra on the street. They will be more comfortable, they will ride better, and they will generally be more luxuriously equipped. However, once rocks and dirt are folded into the equation, Nissan's Xterra has very few rivals at its price point.
The Xterra entered the Nissan's North American lineup in model year 2000. It was positioned as an alternative to Nissan’s Pathfinder, which had been taken more upscale in order to compete with the new breed of luxurious crossover SUVs. However, more than just a de-contented Pathfinder, the Xterra was also designed to go places the Pathfinder never would.
Based on the Nissan Frontier pickup truck, to date, two generations of the rugged Nissan suv have been offered to the public. The first generation Xterra ran from model year 2000 to 2004. A redesign was undertaken for the 2005 model year, the result of which represents the current version of the Xterra (2012).