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2014 Nissan Xterra Comfort & Quality

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Family utility isn't necessarily the Xterra's strong suit–instead finding its strengths in off-road adventures that include mud, gear, and drivers who favor camping over soccer practice.

Overall usefulness trumps passenger comfort in this traditional SUV, and it's useful in many ways that some crossovers just can't deliver. The seats aren't as supportive as some of the other Nissans in the brand's portfolio, but there's plenty of passenger room up front, and the rear seats can accommodate adults when necessary. However, that rear seat isn't somewhere taller passengers will want to spend much time, and we think it's probably more useful when the seat is flipped forward for extra cargo space.

Actual human comfort isn't wonderful, but a rugged, roomy interior provides lots of space for adventurers and their gear.

Trims and cabin appointments in the Xterra, as with the Frontier pickup that it's closely related to, are a bit plasticky. But we wouldn't want leather or delicate trims here anyway; there are plenty of easy-to-clean surfaces. Interior noise could use more of a damper on the highway, especially in PRO-4X models, but otherwise the interior is relatively quiet compared to other off-road-focused vehicles.

For cargo and gear, Nissan has found ways to hone the Xterra's abilities, making it something 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. And to fit especially long items, like cumbersome sports equipment, the front passenger seat can fold forward to a horizontal position.

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