The 2001 Nissan Xterra is one of the bigger models in the mini-SUV market segment. However, while it is on the big side, its price is thankfully not. In addition to good value, it is one of the few mini-SUVs that actually delivers in terms of off-road capability and performance. This is largely due to the fact that it is based on a truck chassis and not one from a car. It also provides for good utility with powder-coated tubular roof racks and a plastic cargo tray that holds up to 30 pounds of cargo. In a concerted effort to not cut into the action of the larger Pathfinder, it is being marketed as a mini-SUV. However, in truth, it is almost as long as the Pathfinder and actually offers slightly more legroom for passengers riding in the rear. However, it is a much better bargain than the Pathfinder overall.
Body Styles: compact SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Nissan Xterra XE, Nissan Xterra SE
The 2001 Nissan Xterra SE has been given new features that include titanium interior accents and a 100-watt premium sound system with a dash-mounted six-CD changer. The SE also now features steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The Xterra’s 16-inch alloy wheels have been restyled and a new exterior color choice, Gold Rush, has also been made available.
The 2001 Nissan Xterra is a ruggedly good-looking compact SUV that’s based on the same chassis as the Frontier. Elements of its exterior styling include flared fenders, a high roof, and a black grille. It is also equipped with a tubular aluminum roof rack, a built-in basket, and tubular side step rails. Its looks, while rugged, are also modern and stylish, with modular taillights and bulging wheel wells.
The 2001 Nissan Xterra provides seating for five. Rear cushions are removable and split rear seatbacks can be folded down to expand cargo capacity. The interior is also equipped with a number of convenient storage pockets. Other standard interior features include a stereo with CD player.
Performance & Handling
The 2001 Nissan Xterra may not deliver the smoothest and most comfortable ride imaginable. However, it makes up for its lack of on-road manners with true off-road capability. It’s equipped with an old style 4WD system with limited shift-on-the-fly capability. Being based on a truck, it drives like a truck. However, while the compact SUV’s big, knobby tires are ideal for going off-road, it provides poor gripping on the pavement. Models equipped with the four-cylinder can tow up to 2500 pounds, while those with the V-6 can handle up to 5000. It is available with two-wheel or four-wheel drive and in two different trim levels: base model XE and the line-topping SE. Engine choices include a 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 143 horsepower and a 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 170 horsepower. The four-cylinder is strictly available with two-wheel drive, while V-6 models can come with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Transmission options include either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Safety features for the 2001 Nissan Xterra include four-wheel ABS, child seat anchors, front seatbelt pre-tensioners, and electronic brake force distribution. In NHTSA crash tests for passenger, driver, and side impact front crashworthiness, it receives four out of five stars and a perfect five-star rating in side impact rear tests, as well as two out of five stars in rollover tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Nissan Xterra: 17/22 mpg city/highway
- Rugged exterior appearance
- Capable on and off-road
- Good braking
- Spacious interior
- ABS is standard
You Won't Like
- Front seats are uncomfortable
- Interior utilizes low-grade plastic materials
- SE model equipped with useless sunroof
- V-6 engine is underpowered
A ruggedly-capable compact truck-based SUV with a high quotient of fun.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Kia Sportage
- Toyota RAV4
- Jeep Cherokee
- Suzuki Grand Vitara
- Honda CR-V