Traditionalists, fans of true body-on-frame SUVs, I implore you to join me in a moment of silence. The Nissan Xterra will no longer be built after 2015, with no replacement planned.
In a press release breaking down the company’s plans for 2016, Nissan says:
“The Nissan Xterra has completed its current production cycle. After more than 750,000 Xterras sold since its introduction as a model year 2000 vehicle, the last Xterra will be sold in the fall of 2015.”
I mean, we all knew this was coming. People just don’t appreciate real rugged 4x4s like they used to. (Unless it’s a Wrangler.) And when the people stop buying, automakers stop selling. Car & Driver says “the current-generation model’s sales slid from a high of 72,447 in 2005 to just 16,505 last year.”
So, yeah, I guess if I were running the company I’d pull the plug on this bitch too. Better that than sully the Xterra’s name buy chopping its balls off and rebranding it as a four-door minivan. Cough PATHFINDER Cough.
The Xterra wasn’t without fault, but I say it will be remembered as a decidedly underrated performer by off-road and adventure types. It was one of the last new vehicles you could buy with a tough body-on-frame setup, a lever-activated transfer case, good ol’ fashioned mechanical emergency brake, and oh yeah... a proper manual transmission to go with a V6. Take that, 4Runner!
Stylistically the Xterra never really outgrew its “knock-off 90’s Land Rover” vibe, but it had fun features and a Honda Element-y interior that felt rugged in all the right places. To say nothing of the SUV’s build quality, which I alway thought surpassed the Jeep Wrangler.
They also tended to be a lot cheaper than their rivals from Jeep and Toyota, which are still selling like crazy. If only Nissan had worked a little harder to market this thing, maybe add a couple fun gimmicks (quick release doors?) I reckon they could have gotten a lot more mileage out of it.
Sure, the Xterra burned a lot of fuel and lumbered along like a satiated farm animal but damn it that’s how an SUV’s supposed to ride!
Anyway, it’s all over now baby, the last Nissan Xterra will be built this fall. It’s survived by the completely redesigned and re-powered Titan pickup truck and its stale little brother the Frontier. I’ll be on Craigslist trying to decide if an old Xterra would be a better buy than an XJ Cherokee.
I wonder what the Brazilian Federal Police will use now?
Images via Nissan, André Gustavo Stumpf/Flickr
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