Hard to believe our time with Nissan's 2006 Xterra has come to an end. This rig's been everywhere and done everything and never gave us any issues doing so. Shortly after its arrival, the Xterra was off to Lone Pine, California, for our Truck of the Year photo shoot. From there, it headed straight to Lake Tahoe and Carson City, bringing one of our editors home for the holidays, where "it rained and snowed, and the roads turned nasty. Having the Xterra was perfect--we never had a problem."
Shortly after its return to the home offices, a tire-pressure light came on, even though the pressure in all four tires was correct. Since it was due for its first scheduled service, we decided to wait until then to have this addressed at the local dealership.
But the popularity of this Nissan kept it constantly on the road, and that service didn't happen right away. Our video crew loaded it to the gills and headed north to Lemoore, California, for a standing-mile super-tuner shootout for Motor Trend, but soon realized the Xterra couldn't hold as much equipment as they'd hoped. Sure, it would all fit, but it easily reaches its 930 pound payload capacity with just a few passengers and some gear. And, as one editor logged, "Fully loaded, the suspension gets out of sorts--and we hit the bumpstops every time we went through an intersection."
By the time we got the Xterra to the dealer, it was past the scheduled 7500-mile service time. The service included tire rotation, pressure adjustments, full electronic systems check, 21-point inspection and lube, oil and filter change, and car wash. When the dealer checked the tire-pressure light, two fault codes came up, which were reset. Also, the tire sensors were inspected and tire pressures set. That should've taken care of the issue.
It didn't. Less than 1000 miles after the service, the tire-pressure light came back on. We took it in immediately. Another trouble code indicated that the sensor was going bad. In fact, the actual culprit was an internal battery failure. After replacing the sensor and resetting tire pressures again, we were on our way, this time with everything fixed.
The sport/utility's last service, at 15,000 miles, included everything covered in the 7500-mile service, but added a brake check, inspection of the driveshaft boots, battery service, and a cooling-system inspection.
After that, it remained business as usual for our Xterra: photo shoots, road trips, video shoots--we got all the utility we could out of it. The interior held up well after having so much gear crammed into every nook and cranny. "Materials still have a butch style and feel, and it looks even better scratched and roughed up a bit," wrote one editor.
We put this vehicle through its paces, from the snow-topped mountains of Mammoth to the sun-scorched floor of Death Valley, and, probably the most punishing of all, through Los Angeles freeway rush-hour traffic. With all that behind it, we may have proven this was a great choice as our 2006 Sport/Utility of the Year.