Good Bye, Xterra – Nissan to End Production Run After 15 Years [News]

2015 Nissan Xterra
2015 Nissan Xterra

It’s 1999. The looming year 2000 causes anxiety for computer professionals and the superstitious alike. President Bill Clinton is in trouble with the law and a certain infamous intern. Microsoft unveils Windows 98 and George Lucas unleashes Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace onto an unsuspecting world.

Despite the gloom and doom, gas prices are at 90 cents a gallon – still an unbelievable $1.29 in 2015 money – and Nissan introduces the Xterra SUV as a 2000 model.

Based on the Frontier pickup, the Xterra is targeted at the active crowd and, thanks to its pickup truck underpinnings, has real off-road capability for a trade-off in on-road performance.

Fast forward 16 years, and the Xterra, now in its second generation and still sharing a platform with the Frontier pickup, will take its final bow for the 2015 model year.

The Xterra was redesigned along with the Frontier in 2005 with an all-new platform, but that was the last major redesign for a vehicle that’s been growing increasingly out of touch in a market dominated by car-based crossovers.

Rising gas prices have also contributed to the Xterra’s falling sales. The Frontier pickup is due for a redesign, but Nissan hasn’t said anything about an updated Xterra.

2014 Nissan Xterra

The loss of the Xterra leaves another hole in the SUV market. It was one of only three moderately-priced, truck-based, off-road worthy SUVs. The Xterra’s exit leaves the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner as the last of the old-school SUVs with real off-road prowess.

The current Xterra may be old – a ten-year model run is almost unheard of in 2015 – but it has its charm. Its 4.0-liter V-6 doesn’t make as much horsepower as more modern powerplants of similar size, but with 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, it doesn’t do too bad. It’s also one of the last SUVs available with a manual transmission and four wheel drive.

With automobile industry becoming more homogenized, and with fuel efficiency and on-road performance being king, the world may never see a vehicle like the Xterra again. Even the old truck-based Pathfinder, the Xterra’s spiritual ancestor, has been transformed into a car-based crossover.

So tonight, car enthusiasts across the country should raise a glass to the old Nissan Xterra. The car world may never see its like again.

Before it becomes a classic, check out this TFLcar off-road video review of the 2013 Nissan Xterra: