2015 Nissan Xterra

What's new for 2015? For 2015, the midrange S trim level adds Bluetooth streaming audio, smartphone app integration, an iPod/USB interface, satellite radio, hands-free text messaging and a 5-inch color display.

With the popularity of crossover SUVs that ride and handle a lot like cars, you might think truck-based utility vehicles are a thing of the past. But the 2015 Nissan Xterra soldiers on as an SUV in the traditional sense, embodying the adventurous spirit of classic body-on-frame designs. High ground clearance, a fortified suspension and available four-wheel drive with low-range gearing give the Frontier-derived Xterra formidable off-road ability. Furthermore, it's got a simple yet functional interior with nifty storage features, and passengers and cargo alike get plenty of space. Niceties like Bluetooth streaming audio, smartphone app integration and a 5-inch central display have trickled down to the S trim level for 2015, adding a welcome dose of civility to the Xterra's no-nonsense formula.

Exterior Highlights
Four-foor, five-passenger SUV available in X, S, Pro-4X trim levels

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is a four-door, five-passenger SUV available in three trim levels. The entry-level X and midrange S trims are available with rear- or four-wheel drive, while the Pro-4X is four-wheel-drive only.

The X comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rack side rails, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary input.

Stepping up to the S adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a driver seat with adjustable height and lumbar, a first-aid kit, an "Easy Clean" washable cargo area with floor cleats and ceiling hooks, a 5-inch central display screen, an iPod/USB interface, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio and NissanConnect smartphone app integration (including hands-free text messaging and Facebook, Pandora and iHeartRadio connectivity). The four-wheel-drive S also gets a roof-mounted gear basket (optional on lesser models) and a front tow hook.

The hard-core Pro-4X adds an electronic locking rear differential, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, unique 16-inch alloy wheels and off-road tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates, automatic headlights, foglights, roof-mounted off-road driving lights, roof rack crossbars, distinctive cloth upholstery, heated front seats (with a fold-flat front passenger seat), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in compass, a navigation system with a rearview camera and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system. Leather upholstery is optional on the Pro-4X, but you'll lose the fold-flat front passenger seat if you spring for it.

The Pro-4X's mechanical and infotainment upgrades are unavailable on the lower trims, but some of its additional features (notably the foglights, crossbars and auto-dimming mirror) are optional on other Xterras. A hatch-connected 10-by-10-foot folding tent with free-standing capability is among the many dealer-installed options.

Versatile cargo, Easy Clean cargo area, ceiling hooks, front fold passenger seat, roof rack, generous cargo space

Like the rest of the vehicle, the 2015 Nissan Xterra's cabin has a rough-and-ready vibe. The hard plastic surfaces make sense in a vehicle like this, simplifying the clean-up process after a long day of outdoor activity. When it comes to hauling gear instead of people, the Xterra shines with a versatile cargo hold that has a storage box under the load floor for items like a first-aid kit. Nissan actually gives you a first-aid kit in the S and Pro-4X, and these trims also boast an Easy Clean cargo area with handy tie-down cleats and ceiling hooks, along with optional sliding cargo-net dividers that utilize the floor's built-in tracks. There are 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, while folding them down expands that to 65.7 cubic feet -- both solid numbers.

Additionally, the Pro-4X's standard fold-flat front passenger seat makes it possible to squeeze in long items with the rear liftgate closed, and oversize or muddy gear can be toted up on top with the beefy roof rack's available gear basket and crossbars. The 2015 Nissan Xterra is equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. The Pro-4X also offers hill-descent control and hill-start assist.

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