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2007 Nissan Xterra

by Martha Hindes

Nissan Xterra
2007 Nissan Xterra Interior

Any vehicle with a first aid kit permanently protruding from a rear hatch hump has got to mean serious off-road business. Not that it's where most people drive their Nissan Xterras. It probably wouldn't be noticed for those daily trips around town, or even a long distance haul cross-country. But take it into the wilds, and that's a different story. Even the name "Xterra" tags this rugged SUV as destined for the Xtreme sports crowd. Other vehicle makers might have liked the name for their own extreme living vehicles. Too bad. Nissan got there first.

For 2007, two years after a total second gen makeover, Xterra settles into some refinements. Four models -- base X, S, Off Road 4X4 only, and SE -- cover a range of requirements. Added this year is a new Desert Stone exterior hue. All 4X4s get standard mudguards, confirming their talent for tackling uncharted wilderness courses. Leather-wrapped steering and sunglass holder become standard on Off Road models. And premium SE's get standard body side molding, plus standard MP3 when equipped with Rockford Fosgate audio.

Powering the Xterra is a 4.0-liter, 261-HP V-6 mated to a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic. There's available 4X4 with low gearing, and advanced off-road traction for those backwoods treks. A long wheelbase and short overhangs adapt to rugged, uneven terrain. Xterra's DNA comes from the same "F-Alpha" platform undergirding the mighty Armada full-size SUV and Titan pickup.

Those who cruise on long trips with this five seater can opt for either XM or Sirius satellite radio among creature comfort touches. Safety gets priority treatment with advanced air bag systems that include a front seat occupant classification sensor. And among the half-dozen options packages are "Power" including remote keyless entry, "Utility" with step rails on three models, and "Air Bag" with a side curtain system.

Base pricing ranges from $20,050 to $27,950 (4X4 SE) while best mileage is 16/22 with the 4X2 automatic. Unique for Xterra: a front storage bin as part of its roof rack system.