Do you own an Xterra?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Do you own an Xterra?

    looking for feedback...

    I'd be interested to hear what Xterra owners think about their rides & how it suits the outdoor lifestyle... likes/dislikes after long term?

    The wife & I drove a few this week. It seemed on paper to be the appropriate vehicle for two adults, a 7 yo & 2 dogs (plus bikes, yak, camper, kitchen sink...) I was impressed; appeases my need for a truck (off road ability) while accommodating the fam & gear for road trips. Thin on refinement..long on reliability?

    thanks for any feedback

    fwiw... looking at 06-07 model years

  2. #2
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    I can't speak to newer models, I owned the first generation '00 SE 4x4.

    The good: It's a Nissan and will be a fairly worry free vehicle and will run forever if you take care of it. Fairly capable off road (I bought 31x10.5 BFG AT ko's on) . You can fit two bikes inside (front wheel off, saddle(s) down.

    The Bad: Terribly under powered for the size and weight (a friend just bought a new one and still feels it's underpowered), Horrible gas mileage. The rear seat configuration is stupid (bottom seat portion has to be removed to fold seats down 100%), fit & finish are cheap, roof rack is useless, On long trips the seats were not comfortable.

    If I were to purchase a new mid-sized SUV, it would not be the Xterra. While the vehicle never left me stranded, it did have a lot of annoying fit and finish problems, rattles, dash noises, brakes & rotors. After living with it for over 100k miles, I was just as happy to sell it as I was the day I bought it. I think for a little more you'd get a lot more out of something like a 4Runner.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    looking for feedback...

    I'd be interested to hear what Xterra owners think about their rides & how it suits the outdoor lifestyle... likes/dislikes after long term?

    The wife & I drove a few this week. It seemed on paper to be the appropriate vehicle for two adults, a 7 yo & 2 dogs (plus bikes, yak, camper, kitchen sink...) I was impressed; appeases my need for a truck (off road ability) while accommodating the fam & gear for road trips. Thin on refinement..long on reliability?

    thanks for any feedback

    fwiw... looking at 06-07 model years
    get a 96+ 4runner they will go forever, although you would be looking at an 03+ 4runner (newer body style) i have a 97 with no problems and 151k miles and the newer ones will go past 250k miles with regular maintenance. They are more offroad capable than an xterra too. There is also so much room in them, and the parts arent flimsy.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c
    looking for feedback...

    I'd be interested to hear what Xterra owners think about their rides & how it suits the outdoor lifestyle... likes/dislikes after long term?

    The wife & I drove a few this week. It seemed on paper to be the appropriate vehicle for two adults, a 7 yo & 2 dogs (plus bikes, yak, camper, kitchen sink...) I was impressed; appeases my need for a truck (off road ability) while accommodating the fam & gear for road trips. Thin on refinement..long on reliability?

    thanks for any feedback

    fwiw... looking at 06-07 model years
    I own a 2005 frontier, same engine. Underpowered isn't a term that applies.

  5. #5
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    Have an 06 SE . . .

    Previously had a leased 03 Honda Pilot. Now have an 06 Xterra SE.

    Likes:
    - Very reliable.
    - Great power.
    - Versatile: with fold flat rear seats, a Thule box for roof, and Sportworks DH hitch rack, can haul a whole lot of stuff along with you.
    - Capable tow vehicle.
    - Good off-road capabilities.
    - Controls and ergonomics are good.
    - Not a "luxury" SUV.

    Dislikes:
    - Rear suspension not very compliant and bottoms out when vehicle is heavily loaded.
    - Gas mileage poor if you have a heavy foot.
    - Stock tires (BFG Long Trails) are pathetic. Just waiting for them to wear out so can replace with something better
    - Front seats not comfortable for some
    - Not a full-time 4x4 system therefore not ideal daily use in slippery conditions.

    Hope this helps . . .

    Cheers,

    Mike

  6. #6
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    I bought a 2005 Xterra in June 2005 and have put on about 140,000 miles since. Before it, I had a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder.

    The Xterra has great power and has been overall very reliable for me. At 140k miles with the PF, I had replaced the clutch and throwout bearing several times and a bunch of suspension parts. The Xterra has had no major work required, other than a front U-link that was done under warranty.

    I echo MadMike's conclusions. The 05+ XT have great handling on and off road. I have gotten as high as 23 mpg (tailwind downhill across WY), but I average about 20 mpg on long trips and maybe 17 in town. Worse if I get "bad gas."

    I've driven back from Vegas to Denver mostly in 4WD the whole way.

    Stock tires suck. I'm now on my second or third pair of Bridgestone Dueller A/T Revos-- these are excellent tires and last a long time. The transformed the on-road handling of the vehicle too.

    My outdoor sports are very gear intensive (long range shooting, motorcycle enduro racing, mtb). For a week long trip with a bunch of gear and two adults, the XT can be a little tight for space. I regularly pull one or two KTM dirt-bikes on a flat-bed trailer with no issues-- handling and acceleration with the trailer is still great.

    Overall, it's been a very good vehicle for me.

  7. #7
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    I have a 2005 very reliable, seats fold down fine without any removal, easy to clean the back portion, sturdy, gas hog, truck suspension. I like it and I`m happy with it. Carries all of my camping gear, dog and bikes easily.

  8. #8
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    Father in-law has one. Forget which year thinking like 04 or 05 it has rusted bad. Also has dropped I think $2500 in the past year on repairs he was complaining about. Said he wished he bought another Toyota instead. The Xterra only has 70k on the odo.

  9. #9
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    I have an 07 Off Road version. Love it.

    The good:
    Great power, and I live at 7k feet.
    20+ mpg, when I actually drive 70.
    Optional inside yakima rack holds two bikes inside. ( i use this a lot)
    Under floor storage in rear cargo area great for tow strap, winter shovel, flares, etc.
    Seats are comfy.
    Roof rack stout and works great with Yakima system.

    The Bad:
    Rear suspension bottoms out(easy fix with after market stuff)
    Terrible stock tires(easy fix, BFG TA/KO's)
    Tail gate window does not roll down.

    The Ugly:
    Interior seems to scratch a little easy.

    J

  10. #10
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    my dad has an 07 SE, but i've borrowed it a few times to tow my motorcycle(6-10 hour trips).

    I've never had the suspension bottom out, but it's the regular road version. The off road version may have softer dampers which allow the suspension to compress fully. I'm just guessing on that. It's a great tow vehicle, i use it to tow 2 sportbikes in an enclose 5x8 trailer. So make sure you get the tow hitch with it, you live on a farm so you already know. The engine and transmission are fantastic. Very quick for an SUV this size, exhaust note reminds you of the 350z sportscar. Sounds very similar. If FAT BOB's friend thinks his Xterra is underpowered, he must be used to driving corvettes, lambourghini's or something. The xterra's got tons more power than the high center of gravity and suv susepension can handle.

    Cons, are the interior is ok, but not great. It is an suv designed for offroad duties, not an SUV for american's who buy them as status symbols. Keeping that in mind, the interior is easy to clean when you get it dirty and the it's kept simple and purposeful. It doesn't have a fulltime 4wd system for reason mentioned above. It's a true offroader with a part time 4wd system with a true locking center. Higher models i believe get a pushbutton locking rear diff for those real offroaders. All models have braking limited slip, which helps a little to transfer power from the slipping wheels to the gripping wheels. Gas mileage sucks, i'm glad i drive a sedan.

    My dad absolutely love his Xterra, i like borrowing it. If you keep in mind it's design purpose, and not buy it thinking it's supposed to be a really high comfortable family station wagon with a bit more status. You'll love it. 70k miles on it now, no problems yet.

  11. #11
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    Good feedback all, thank you.

    As I mentioned, I've test driven a few recently. I was pleasantly surprised with the V6... "under powered" is not applicable to current models.

    Originally we committed to perusing Toyota & Nissan... but IMO the 4Runner (& Tacoma as well) do not offer $3000-4000 more in value over the Xterra. I'm searching for another 10 year vehicle and the Nissan seems to offer a solid no frills workhorse.
    Last edited by steven.c; 11-24-2009 at 08:37 AM.

  12. #12
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    Never owned one but my best friend did until he recently totaled it and an ex-GF who's a cat 3 roadie had one. I've been on several trips with XT's and I'll second the lack of comfort in the seats, especially the drivers seat. I'm only 6'0" and right at 200 lbs, so not a big, burly, overweight type. Other things I've noted:

    1. Poor gas mileage on highway and off -- not any better than my Dodge Dakota I just rid of.

    2. Not much cargo space when off on a 3+ day camping / race trip with 2 people and a dog. Now, I have Great Pyrenees so not a small dog, but she is small for a Pyr at 75lbs. I don't like HAVING to use a roof rack which cuts down even more on your gas mileage.

    3. Rear suspension was not as burly as I expected. When loaded in the rear, it did bottom out and messed up handling of the truck. When loaded in the rear seats, however, and only my dog in the cargo area, it was a different story. The truck sat level (as opposed to rear end dragging) and handled better since the weight was between the axles. I can't imagine loading the cargo hold and pulling a trailer.

    4. My buddies' driver seat wore out rather quickly from getting in / out of the truck.

    5. On the plus side, when he t-boned a minivan that pulled out in front of him at 35mph, he was fine. The front end collapsed but the passenger area only sustained minimal damage.

    I know this won't go over well with some, but I just bought a Honda Ridgeline and love it. I got it used with 46k miles and have already been on a mtn biking trip with 4 friends, 2 of which are 6'-5". The cab seats 5 comfortably and with the gear in the bed and my Raxter 4-bike hitch rack, I had plenty of room for everything. Going through the mountains of Highlands, NC en route to Pisgah, the Ridgeline had plenty of power and I was feeling froggy enough to pass a BMW M3 going UP a hill outside Sky Valley, GA. If you peruse the Ridgeline Owners Club forum, you'll see that it can do more than you expect. There's even a couple used ones for sale on there... http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/index.php

    Go ahead and laugh, but I'm happy that I have my truck for the next 10 yrs. BTW, I looked at the Frontier, Xterra, Durango, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Mitsubishi Raider 4-door, Ram 1500 crew and club cabs, Tacoma 4-door, used Tundra 4-door, Titan 4-door, and Dakota Crew Cab. The Dakota I just got rid of was a 99 SLT extended cab 2WD with 281k miles. It's had a ton of Quickcrete and quarry tile in the bed, towed boats and cargo trailers all over the East, It took me hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, biking, all over construction sites, etc and only left me wanting one time. She got stuck in the sugar sand of my Pensacola, FL jobsite -- I just highcentered on an access road.

    Sorry for the length. Just trying to share as much as possible to help you make an informed decision, which is why you posted here. Thanks and good luck!
    Charles Myrick
    33North Adventures | Owner
    Bike | Climb | Hike | Paddle
    New trips: Tibet & Bosnia!

  13. #13
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    I have a '03 Xterra it has been very reliable mechanically. I have only had to deal with rattling heat shields, which are annoying, but easy fix. I go offroading often and have never run into any problems. It does have minor mods. for this purpose. You definitely have to be a function over form person with this vehicle.

  14. #14
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    I'm looking at the Xterra and Pathfinder. What is everyone thoughts on the the Pathfinder?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blade-Runner
    I'm looking at the Xterra and Pathfinder. What is everyone thoughts on the the Pathfinder?

    My mom owns an 09 pathfinder and my dad the 07 xterra. Both are great vehicles, the pathfinder obviously costs more, but has more space and a little more comfort. It drives pretty much the same though.

    Both have the same engine\drivetrain unless you go for the V8 pathfinder which is only necessary for heavier towing. If you get the LE pathfinder, it has the automatic 4wd mode.

  16. #16
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    Aside from the obvious creature comforts, the Pathfinder has independent rear suspension and rides as such, while the Xterra offers a solid rear axle with leaf springs.

    I'm excited to report that I'll be picking up my new (to me) Xterra tomorrow evening.

  17. #17
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    Well I hope you have a lot better luck than we did. We got rid of our 2002 last year, after the knock sensor, cat, and just about everything else under the sun kept nickel and diming us to death. I can't speak to the 3.5, but the 3.0 v6 was ridiculously underpowered. We were getting 16 mpg on the highway at 75. We replaced it with a 05 4runner sport V8, and have never looked back. The 4 runner is superior in so many ways - space, handling, torque, towing capability, gas mileage (how that's possible out of a heavier, bigger V8 powered SUV is either a testament to toyota's design, or a big black eye for nissan), features, resale value, and reliability - which of course depends on people's own experiences. I loved the Xterra's since the day they came out, but couldn't have been more let down by the performance and reliability of it. Not to mention I had to settle for $6k just to get rid of it (dealers were only asking $7k), I haven't seen too many 100k 2002 4runners go for anywhere close to that cheap.

    I hope your experience is better than ours.

  18. #18
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    The 05+ is a whole different vehicle than the old one.

  19. #19
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    Hey I'm not trying to hijack this thread but I'm curious of the Xterra owners... how easy is it to fit a DH bike inside the truck? Just thinking about those days when I don't/can't have the bike on a rack outside. I ride an 09 Demo, have an 06 Enduro and 08 Stumpy FSR. what kind of trouble can I expect trying to cram one of these inside?

  20. #20
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    I mounted two Rocky Mounts to the cargo space "floorboard" (it flips up for chain/jack storage) near the very rear of the bed, with a 15mm adapter on one of them. I put my 575 (140mm fork) on it with the Joplin seatpost in the down position and it fits no problem. (The bike faces backwards with front wheel off and fork in mount.) There is still some clearance above the bars, maybe a couple/few inches under the ceiling. I am pretty sure a 160mm would fit, but I don't know about a 200+mm fork.

    -z

  21. #21
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    DH bike inside . . .

    Have on 06 and occasionally use the back to haul a freeride/dh bike (i.e. VPFree, CDale Gemini, Devinci Wilson), usually when I've forgotten to install the hitch rack or when I'm towing a trailer. Findings:

    - One bike barely fits with both sides of the rear seat folded down and when you angle bike across the storage area. Length of the storage area is the major limiting factor.

    - One bike with dual crown fork is harder to fit as you can't turn the handlebars 90 degrees to shorten the overall length. With the VPFree, it is tight enough that I've considered deflating the rear tire to make more room. Bikes with singlecrown forks are slightly easier to fit.

    - One XC bike fits no problem, mainly due to shorter length (wheelbase and smaller tires) and singlecrown fork.

    - Hauling bikes this way can scratch up the interior a bit (especially the platform pedals), can make quite a mess if the bike is dirty/muddy and isn't particularly secure (i.e. difficult to tie down bike and it could be a hazard in the event of an accident).

    - Haven't tried but you should be able to fit 2 DH (or XC/AM) bikes in back by slamming the seatpost, removing the front wheels and using one of these (www.saris.com/p-226-traps-35-triple-track.aspx[/url]) or similar.

    - Personally, I prefer to use the hitch rack whenever possible. When towing a trailer, I use a roof rack (Sportworks) that I kept after selling a car. For me, hauling inside is more or less a last resort . . .

    Hope this helps . . .

    Mike

  22. #22
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    I have a 06 Off Road and carry the bike(s) on a hitch rack. Family is wife+3yr old+8yr dog. Here are my pros/cons:

    Pros:
    - Simple and reliable truck.
    - Love the fold-flat passenger seat to carry windsurf boards in the car. My daughter loves it because when it is just the both of us she can see everything.
    - Basket on top is great for wet/muddy shoes/clothes etc ....
    - Engine is great - never have to wonder if I have enough power to pass.

    Cons:
    - Mileage is bad.
    - Rear suspension bottoms out all the time. With a loaded car and the bikes in the hitch it bottoms out on everything. Planning to add another leaf to it this winter.
    - Front windows rattle unless they are closed - dealer cannot find anything wrong.

    Something that I have thought a few times is that I should have looked at the Pathfinder (foot longer). The rear door openings on the Xterra are a bit small and it is hard for the old dog to get in without help now.

    As far as carrying the bikes in the back I can put my Yeti 575 but the seat needs to go down (or come off).

    Albert

  23. #23
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    I own a '03 xterra 5-spd. Its a great truck, has never let me down. I offroad it frequently, 2" suspension lift, some steering upgrades and 32" tires. It rides like a truck (not very comfortable, feel bumps, etc). Great in snow, 4wd system is awesome (especially if you get one with a LSD rear). Only complaint I have is the crappy gas mileage; I get 13-15mpg mixed city and highway driving. I can fit 2 bikes inside, along with gear (with the seats folded down obviously). I second the notion that the roofrack is useless. Overall, I recommend the truck.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsD90
    get a 96+ 4runner. They are more offroad capable than an xterra too. .
    Definitely not the case. Had my 2001 X for 5 years and trust me it will go just about anywhere you want to go. My buddy I wheel with has an 05 and has never had any problems off road either.


    Quote Originally Posted by steven.c

    Originally we committed to perusing Toyota & Nissan... but IMO the 4Runner (& Tacoma as well) do not offer $3000-4000 more in value over the Xterra. I'm searching for another 10 year vehicle and the Nissan seems to offer a solid no frills workhorse.
    Exactly. The longevity of both are basically the same but the toyota isn't worth the premium they put on the price tag. Plus the Xterra has a timing chain which needs no service while the 4runner/taco have a timing belt that has to be replace........I believe every 90k miles.

    Overall I agree with most of the comments about the X. Don't get it if gas mileage is an issue, but on the flip side it has more hp than the taco and 4 runner. Fit and finish of the interior is definitely nicer on the toyotas. The roof rack is functional with the proper attachments. Stock tires do suck and wear out relatively fast.

  25. #25
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    I have a 2002 Supercharge. I like it, not love it, but its paidoff. It gets terrible gas milage. When I load the roof rack down it get worse. Its got 85,000 miles on it and it is a work horse. Its not a everyday car for me because I have a company car, I could not afford to drive it everyday with gas prices.

  26. #26
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    Friends girlfriend owned an Xterra. I think she turned it in due to it having tons of cheap components and various other reasons and got a Trailblazer and pretty much loves that beast.

  27. #27
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    We have 2001, and we love it. Never had a problem. Good for towing my small bass boat. Not too good on gas, but mt wife gets our gas for free (company gas card).
    Toyota is probably nicer, but more $. Good luck.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z...
    Definitely not the case. Had my 2001 X for 5 years and trust me it will go just about anywhere you want to go. My buddy I wheel with has an 05 and has never had any problems off road either.

    Exactly. The longevity of both are basically the same but the toyota isn't worth the premium they put on the price tag. Plus the Xterra has a timing chain which needs no service while the 4runner/taco have a timing belt that has to be replace........I believe every 90k miles.

    Overall I agree with most of the comments about the X. Don't get it if gas mileage is an issue, but on the flip side it has more hp than the taco and 4 runner. Fit and finish of the interior is definitely nicer on the toyotas. The roof rack is functional with the proper attachments. Stock tires do suck and wear out relatively fast.
    Dude, my 4runner dances over my friends Xterra's offroad, I had a Defender before this and i regularly wheel, the xterra is not more capable, the timing belt yes you have to replace and if you buy the Xterra over a 4runner because of a timing chain then you will be dissappointed in the other parts of the Xterra.
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  29. #29
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    I have a 2006 Pathfinder LE. A wife, two dogs, and 7 bikes.

    Best vehicle purchase I've made, and I've owned maybe.. 8 different vehicles in the last 18 years?

    A lot of people here are commenting on pre- late 2005/2006 Xterras and Pathfinders. Please note that it was a completely different ballgame once you hit 2006 model year. They were redesigned, share the same basic platform but the engine and drivetrain are completely new.

    The engine is bored and stroked VQ V6 engine, the same basic engine as in the Nissan 350Z, Murano, Maxima and Altima and Infiniti G35, QX, FX, and M. It considered one of the very best V6 engines on the market up until recently (other manufacturers are catching up). Great power to mileage ratio.

    As for my Pathfinder. We take it up to Tahoe in the summer and winter, and all camping trips, as well as urban hauling and obviously to any trailheads for riding. Its never failed us, and chugs along. I like the fact that it's built on a truck platform but is still mid-sized versus a lot of it's competitors which are built on car platforms. I also like, that in a pinch, I can seat 7 people.

    With a hitch-mounted Thule rack, two old Thule fork mount roof carriers, a Thule roof gear carrier, and two internal fork mounts.. I can carry 8 bikes and gear, plus 2 passengers. I've fit 3 bikes inside my Pathfinder (2 upright in fork mounts, 1 upside down facing the other direction) with no problems too.

    All in all I think it's an awesome choice. Having creature comforts like a DVD player, heated seats, triple climate control and stuff doesn't hurt too.

  30. #30
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    i drive a 2002 nissan xterra SE and i love it, i wheel it, drive it everyday, and use it to haul my bike. im more into my truck than the bike as i just got into mt biking this summer.

    the worst thing about the truck, first gens anyhow, is that they are really underpowered. i dont drive fast anyhow but its slow. interior scratches easy also a poor thing. gas mileage is obviously not good. but these things dont bother me.



  31. #31
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    rangerfan - Shiny!!!

    I was considering the XTerra when I got my Frontier-- went with the frontier because of the cargo capacity (it's a 2nd car) and it felt a bit less twitchy on the mountain roads (thanks to the miles-long wheelbase on the 6ft bed crew cab). Anyhow, I love it. Sometimes I wish I went for the XTerra-- like when I'm trying to park :P

    As been noted plenty, focus on the newer models with the VQ40 engines-- it's leaps and bounds better than the VG30 in the prior trucks. You're presumptions are pretty much spot on-- interior probably isn't as nice as the Toyotas (subjective, but that's the general consensus), reliability will be pretty comparable. My Frontier is an 07 and so far I haven't noticed any trouble areas for maintenance or wear (cept the factory tires only lasted me 25k miles...).

    If I were to have just one car, it would be the XTerra instead of the truck + coupe that I use now.

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