2012 Nissan Xterra Comfort & Quality

On Comfort & Quality

It's no family truckster--the Nissan Xterra is a weekend warrior, mostly for two dudes with a lot of gear and mud on the brain.

The Xterra's packaging aims for the hardcore crowd, giving up some comfort for all-around usefulness. Head and leg room from the front seats are good, as is visibility, but the seats aren't as supportive as you'd find in, say, a Murano. The back seat is where things tighten up considerably. The bench is split to fold down to expand cargo area, and it's probably the best, highest use, since there's not as much space as in other SUVs except maybe the four-door Jeep Wrangler.

The Xterra's versatile interior makes it a great weekend warrior--and the tough, grainy plastic trim doesn't look out of place here.
Nissan's found some clever ways to make the Xterra's interior more useful and flexible--more of a Swiss Army knife. There's a double glovebox, a large center console, and a generous 35 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up—expandable to nearly 66 cubic feet with it folded forward. On top of this, the front passenger seat can be folded forward to horizontal for very long items, and the Xterra makes it easy to fit cumbersome sports equipment and keep it secured during off-road adventures.

We've often made note of the thrifty plastics found inside the Xterra and its bandmate, the Frontier pickup. In these vehicles, we don't mind it so much--they're utility vehicles, in this case with the emphasis on sport. And for the record, mud is easier to wash off plastic than it is from leather. And overall, while the interior is quieter than those experienced with off-road-capable vehicles might expect tire noise can still be an issue on the highway in PRO-4X models.

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