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2002 Nissan Xterra Photo
Reviewed by Sue Mead
Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$16,740
BASE MSRP
$17,999
Quick Take
You review the '02 Xterra and Frontier CARMEL, Calif.— Not long ago, Nissan was on the automotive... Read more »
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You review the '02 Xterra and Frontier  

CARMEL, Calif.— Not long ago, Nissan was on the automotive endangered species list. Owner loyalty was declining and products were dated and late to market. The "Nissan Revival Plan" has turned all of that around going deeper, farther and faster than planned — and it shows.

Recently, when Nissan brought the automotive press to this coastal region of California to evaluate its lineup for the 2002 model year, virtually all of its products are now new or significantly changed (with the exception of the Quest).  And, changes have brought new buyers-younger, better educated and with higher household incomes.

Of note, in the popular light truck market are some changes to the Nissan Frontier and Xterra for 2002. Since this pair first appeared on the American scene not that long ago, the Frontier and Xterra have opened new doors to traditional pickup truck and SUV buyers, aided by a sleek marketing campaign starring extreme sportsmen and a Lenny Kravitz soundtrack.

Each has been a success, while the Xterra has practically become a cult truck. For 2002, both have been updated, improved and rejuvenated with new drivetrains, new styling and, in the case of Frontier, a total of 19 possible configurations for a single model line.

This Japanese automaker, with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., couldn't have picked a better time.  With a slowing economy and an increased emphasis on the youth market by many carmakers, it makes sense to improve on products that attract buyers who may have smaller bank accounts, but who demand vehicles that combine a youthful cool with mature practicality. 

Twin-barrel mudding

This double-barrel offering does just that by mixing equal parts performance, athletic style and technological advancement. The Xterra, for instance, with its edgy looks and the trappings of a serious off-road SUV, straddles the line between being a practical highway people-carrier and utilitarian 4x4 mountain bike-toter.  And, that dual personality becomes even more pronounced for buyers who choose the all-new supercharged V-6 engine option-an industry "first" in the compact SUV segment.

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