I really did my homework before I purchased my Xterra. I was in the market for an SUV and never really found any complaints other than gas milage about the Xterra. I don't have any complaints about this vehicle. I would recommend it to anyone!
I have a 2003 SE w/ the Rockford Fosgate package, I am an audiophile and the quality of sound is what intrigued me first - this package is well worth it as it sounds much better than a stock X - We put 4K miles on in less than 2 weeks on a road trip, after equipping it with in headrest style DVD monitors my family of four was very comfy, with all our gear loaded on top (we also added a thule Moab roof rack as the stock basket wasnt enough) - my kids love the stadium seating in the rear 'cause they could see out the windows unlike our suburban and my wife could comfortably set back her seat without squishihing the little one sitting behind her... The downside is I use this truck as my 250+ mile daily commuter - while the drivetrane and engine have never given me an ounce of trouble the gas tank seems to need fuel almost daily - with a cost of 65$ to fill it's 16+ gallon tank it's killing me now... To end on a positive note, it is quite capable, even being only a 2WD, of going off road, we have towed our Jeep behind it to camp and never had a bit of trouble - we have even had to hike back to it to "pull our Jeep out of the muck"... It's versatility and cargo space have proven to be a winner and I would recommend it to any weekend warrior with a shorter commute due to the rising price of Gas... The only Modification I have done is an AEM Cold Air intake, while it increased my HP by about 5, it maintained the loose average of 16 MPG I have always gotten with it - Is this truck good for a family of 4 with an adventurous spirit absolutely! is it for a road warrior, Id think the 4 cyl would be better suited! BTW - Stock running boards dont hold up well to rock abuse :) Be Safe!
Simply put, what you see is what you get. It's a beefy SUV designed to carry you and your cargo to wherever you want to go. Unless, of course, your cargo is composed of more than one additional human. Simply put, the back seat is laughably small. With all of the rear cargo space, I can't believe they'd leave only enough room for a medium sized man to sit comfortably in the back seat. Any bigger and your passengers will be splaying their legs out into the middle seat. The front seats are roomier, but, again, they don't leave any room to move the seat forward for the poor souls in the back seat. Non-human cargo, though, will fit fine. It obviously has a ton of interior cargo space and a huge opening for loading and unloading. All models have the gargantuan cargo racks atop the vehicle, but not all come with a trailer hitch (another cargo-related shortcoming). As for performance, it is adequate. It is inexplicably a rear wheel drive vehicle, so I can still spin out a little if I accelerate from a dead stop a little too zealously. At lower speeds, it accelerates admirably, but once I hit 40mph, it tends to want to down shift before accelerating (at which point it, again, accelerates admirably). Unfortunately, this does cause it to have a "dead zone" between maintaining your speed and feeling like you're gunning it; to accelerate at highway speeds, you can either patiently wait for it to get to the new speed in its current gear, or you can give it enough gas to downshift and get there faster than you really want to. By far the biggest downside to this car, though, is the gas mileage. It's not as though they hide it: it says 15-20 mpg right there on the sticker, but that may not hit home until using it on your daily commute. I drive 180 miles to and from work every week. Round it up to 250 miles a week for errands and the like, and I'm still putting 15 gallons into this beast weekly at best (generally close to every 6 days). As for interior amenities, it's got AC, stereo, various levels of steering wheel mounted controls, etc, as well as a few "nice" features like the telescopic adjustable steering wheel, lots of outlets, and lots of little nooks and crannies for you to put your goodies. My model lacks several things I'd like to see in a rugged vehicle such as this: tire pressure sensors, digital compass, and outdoor thermometer. If you want those things, I'm sure this model offers it -- you just have to pay! As I said at the outset, what you see is what you get. If you want a beefy car to carry lots of stuff to exotic places, this car will not disappoint. If you do a lot of highway commuting and carpooling, there are considerably better options out there -- but then again, that's not what this car is trying to be!