Off-roading can be just as challenging, scary and life-changing as a high-speed track session with a supercar .
With supercars, the chances of a costly mistake are present but manageable. The tracks are typically perfect, the guard rails are there to keep you out of the trees in the case of a spin out, and generally, backing off the throttle is enough to recover control before anything goes *crunch*.
Off-roading, however, brings a real chance that poor driving or the wrong car will result in serious damage to both that driver’s confidence and the car’s rolling ability.
While most racetracks are filled with other cars to help you get home after putting yours into a wall, the situation out on desolate off-road trails is much more grim is something really breaks. Being stranded becomes a real possibility, with bad results almost a sure thing.
After popping three tires and cracking an alloy rim of the 18-inch wheels and 35-section tires of my (poor, abused) Subaru Legacy GT wagon in Oak Ridge, Tennessee a few years ago, I had to limp down the mountain on two hideously-bent donut spare steel wheels. Tires sheared off long before, so it was a clunky and scary ride to a place that a tow truck could find me.
It was this moment I finally realized something: as with everything challenging, to go off-roading the right way, you need the right tools.
Those tools have adjustable suspensions, huge wheel travel, and tires so knobby that a 65 mph cruise on the highway sounds like a Monster Truck.
Great A/C, comfy seats and mechanical reliability are also key parameters for this list.
Usually when there is a transmission failure, it is something internal that, after many years of dutiful service, is expected to start breaking down. However, Nissan has announced that some of their best selling trucks and SUVs (2005-2010 Nissan Frontier , Xterra , and Pathfinders ) are experiencing radiator leaks that are finding their way into the components of their automatic transmissions. This leak is causing premature wearing of the automatic transmission that warrants replacement often at less than 100,000 miles. The New York Times reports that even after Nissan extended warranties on the effected models by 5 years/50,000 miles (for a total warranty coverage for 80K miles/8 years) owners still reported that "the radiator issues have affected the vehicles transmissions, causing premature failure...Lance Wiggins, Technical Director of the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association points out ’what’s happening is the radiator cooler tanks are rupturing, forcing coolant into the five-speed automatic through the transmission cooler lines." Motor Trend also points out that for many of the owners of these vehicles (particularly the older models) are beyond the extended warranty. If the transmission fails, they will have to put forth a substantial investment for a new one. Nissan says they "would cover transmissions damaged by coolant, as long as they met the extended warranty guidelines." No warranty, no fix.
Although Nissan says "only a small proportion of models are affected," we are perplexed by their actions. They seem to be doing enough to belay a lawsuit, yet don’t seem to be real concerned about maintaining a loyal customer base, which is a real pity because we love the ruggedness and the utility of the Nissan trucks and SUVs.
Nissan announced today pricing for the 2010 Frontier, Pathfinder and Xterra. All three models are now on sale.
Prices for the 2010 Nissan Frontier start at $17,540 for the Frontier XE King Cab I4 4x2 with manual transmission and $22,290 for the Frontier SE Crew Cab V6 4x2 with manual transmission. There are a total of 13 available Frontier King Cab and 14 available Frontier Crew Cab models.
Prices for the Pathfinder range from $27,440 for the Pathfinder 4x2 S FE+ with 4.0-liter V6 engine and automatic transmission to $42,160 for the Pathfinder 4x4 LE-V8 with automatic transmission.
The Nissan Xterra has a starting price of $22,450 for the Xterra 4x2 X with 4.0-liter V6 and manual transmission, while the Xterra 4x4 X with V6 and manual transmission is $24,500.
Nissan today revealed the 2009 Xterra, a new SUV that features a redesigned front end appearance, new Roof-Mounted Off-Road Lights (Off-Road only), new wheel designs, new seat materials and colors (with leather-appointed seats standard on SE models), new trim level content and standard roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags with rollover sensor for front and rear-seat outboard occupant head protection. The 2009 Xterra will go on sale in July.
Powering Xterra is a standard 4.0-liter DOHC V6, rated at 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft torque. The engine is an increased displacement version of Nissan’s VQ engine series found in the 350Z, Maxima and Altima. It features a longer stroke (than the 3.5-liter version) and has been specifically tuned for SUV and truck applications.
Xterra is offered in 4x2 or 4x4 configurations. Xterra 4x4 models feature a part-time 4WD system with 2WD/4HI/4LO modes and electronically controlled transfer case. Xterra Off-Road models include two advanced off-road technologies – Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist – as well as an electronic locking rear differential.
The 2009 Xterra is offered in four models – X, S, Off-Road and SE. The Off-Road model is available in 4-wheel drive only, while the X, S and SE are offered in both 2WD and 4WD configurations. Xterra SE comes with a 5-speed automatic transmission only, with X, S, and Off Road offering a choice of 6-speed manual transmission or 5-speed automatic.
Nissan today announced pricing on the 2008 Nissan Frontier midsize pickup and 2008 Nissan Xterra SUV, which are on sale now at Nissan dealers nationwide. The Frontier lineup include a new addition for 2008 - a King Cab SE I4 model, which provides the visual content of an SE model while offering the fuel efficiency of a 4-cylinder engine. The 2008 Frontier is available in both King Cab and Crew Cab body styles and in 4x2 and 4x4 driveline configurations for 2008. Frontier also features (...) More
Two years ago, with the introduction of the all-new second generation Nissan Xterra, the original "everything you need, nothing you don’t" sport utility vehicle took a great leap forward with more power, more roominess and more utility. As it enters the 2007 model year, Xterra’s strength remains its abundance of useable space, unique styling, storage and convenience features and the performance foundation set by its combination of rugged "F-Alpha" platform (shared with the full-size Titan and Armada) and its 261-horsepower 4.0-liter DOHC V6 engine. and thoughtful interior storage systems truly make Xterra the ultimate adventure vehicle.
According to Motor Trend, the world’s number one automotive authority and part of Primedia’s Consumer Automotive Group, the Nissan Xterra is 2006 Sport/Utility of the Year. After many days of grueling testing, the Motor Trend editors agreed the Nissan Xterra raises the bar in terms of engineering, design, performance and safety. This vehicle delivers amazing ’bang for your buck,’ thanks to clever product development that ensures versatility and value. The Xterra’s value continues in the (...) More
When it was originally introduced in 1999, the Nissan Xterra stood out in a crowd of nearly 40 competitive sport utility vehicles with its rugged truck frame, purposeful styling and “everything you need, nothing you don’t” adventure positioning. Since then, the competitive field of SUVs has grown to over 70 models. Yet one thing remains unchanged - the Xterra still stands alone as a segment of one.