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"Xterra" redirects here. For the competition, see XTERRA Triathlon.
Nissan Xterra
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Paladin (China)
Production 1999–present
2003–2007 (Brazil)
Assembly Smyrna, Tennessee (1999-2012)
Canton, Mississippi (2012-present)
United States
São José dos Pinhais, Brazil (2003-07)
Body and chassis
Class Compact SUV (1st generation)
Mid-size SUV (2005-present)
Body style 5-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Successor Nissan Rogue (Mexico)

The Nissan Xterra is an SUV built on the Nissan F-Alpha platform by Nissan Motors. It is based off the Nissan Frontier pickup and is named after the XTERRA off-road triathlon race series that Nissan sponsored from 1998 to 2006.[1]


The Xterra was introduced in North America in the 2000 model year (1999 calendar year) and marketed using the tagline Everything you need, nothing you don't.

The Xterra was not Nissan's first compact SUV: Nissan Japan had the Nissan Mistral, and the Nissan Rasheen, while Nissan Europe produced and sold the Terrano, a 2-door SUV sold from 1993 to 2006.

Three distinguishing design cues have remained through every version of the Xterra: a distinctive raised rear roofline, a hump-backed rear gate, and unique rear door handles. The raised roof allows for stadium seating and the hump-backed gate provides room for a first aid kit. The rear door handles are installed on the "C" pillar as a Nissan design tradition that started with the 1986 Nissan Pathfinder. When the four-door Pathfinder was introduced in 1985, 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 front door handles.

In the United States as of 2013, the Xterra remains Nissan's entry-level SUV, priced between two CUVs:  the lower-priced Rogue (introduced in 2007) and higher-priced Murano (introduced in 2002).

First generation (WD22)

First Generation (WD22)
Production 1999–2004(North America and Brazil)
Body and chassis
Related Nissan Frontier

Petrol engines:
2.4L KA24DE 143 hp (107 kW) I4
3.3L VG33E 170 hp (130 kW) V6
3.3L VG33E 180 hp (130 kW) V6
3.3L SC VG33ER 210 hp (160 kW) V6

Diesel engines:
2.8L TDI 4.07TCA 132 hp (98 kW) I4
2.8L TDI CRD 4.07TCE 140 hp (100 kW) I4
Transmission 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)


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 accessories as step rails and roof rack.

The XE Xterras were configured with several option packages combining the 170 horsepower 3.3 L VG33E V6 engine with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as such features as roof rack, side step-rails, and carpeted floormats.

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.[2]

Canadian models from 2000 to 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 old 2000 SX buttons and controls were replaced with the same set up used from 2002 to 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.

In 2002, the Xterra received revised front end styling and in 2003, new options became available 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, 20 Hz-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, 25 mm tweeter; the rear speaker systems are 2-ohm 6" x 9" full-range speakers located in the rearmost side panels.[3]

Second generation (N50)

Second generation (N50)
Production 2005-present
Body and chassis
Platform Nissan F-Alpha platform
Related Infiniti QX56
Nissan Armada
Nissan Frontier
Nissan Pathfinder
Nissan Titan
Engine 4.0 L VQ40DE 265 hp (198 kW) V6
Transmission 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)


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 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. The last year of the Nissan Xterra in Mexico was 2008, as the larger-but-cheaper unibody Nissan Rogue replaced in the product 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 to 2006 alongside the Xterra, but after the 2006 model year, Nissan replaced the X-Trail in Canada with the Rogue. In 2012, production was moved from Smyrna, Tennessee, to Nissan's facility in Canton, Mississippi.

Awards and recognition

Production outside of North America

All Nissan-produced Xterras were built in São José dos Pinhais, Brazil until 2007. (Nissan ceased Brazilian production entirely in 2007.) It is built under license by Pars Khodro in Iran as the Nissan Roniz, and in China by Zhengzhou Nissan Automobile as the (Japanese: Nissan Paladin) since 2003. The Paladin uses the same chassis and running gear as the first generation Nissan Xterra, and the 2.4L KA24DE engine mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The front end is from the local Pickup. (The second generation Xterra model is only available in North America.)

Xterra in pop culture

  • In the sitcom The Office (episode Did I Stutter), Andy Bernard drives a Nissan Xterra, which he subsequently 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 2002 movie Orange County, Shaun Brumder, played by Colin Hanks, drives a first-generation silver Nissan Xterra.
  • In the 2004 movie The Big Bounce, Jack Ryan drives a yellow Nissan Xterra.
  • In the 2010 movie The Expendables, a red Nissan Xterra is used as a chase vehicle.
  • In politics, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich drove a silver 2002–2004 Nissan Xterra to and from his court appearances.


External links

  • Nissan USA - Official American site
  • Official site on Nissan China
  • Xterra Firma - Nissan Xterra information site, reviews, articles, and forum
  • A story of Nissan Paladin and the Chinese team in a 2005 long distance auto race (Dakar 2005) from this website: Nissan Motorsports website
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