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While other makes play games with names, Nissan calls its compact truck exactly what it is: a Truck. Nothing fancy here, just good dollars-and-cents value and a down-to-business demeanor. A new two-wheel-drive SE edition rounds out the seven model lineup. XE Trucks continue to rank as one of the best values on the compact truck market.
Rear-wheel antilock braking is included on all models, but four-wheel ABS is not available. A newly standard airbag should improve the 1996 Truck's average crash test score for the driver. Pasengers still ride without airbag protection. Front suspensions contain torsion bar springs and a stabilizer, while back ends hold traditional leaf springs.
Option packages have been shuffled somewhat for 1996. Many items that were formerly optional on XE Trucks have been moved to the standard equipment list of the more plush SE model. XE Value Packages can be had in a variety of configurations; with or without chrome trim, air conditioning, or bodyside graphics.
Acceleration is acceptable with manual shift and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The stronger 3.0-liter V6 has been dropped thanks to new emission regulations that it couldn't meet. The four is somewhat coarse, and the din easily finds its way inside the cab. Either five-speed manual shift or an electronically controlled automatic transmission is available. Five-speed 4x4s have a clutch interlock "cancel" control, letting you start off in first gear without pushing down the clutch--a feature that can keep the truck from rolling back down a slope.
Payload and towing capacities lag some compact-pickup rivals, and the lack of car-like qualities puts Nissan a step behind the leaders. Even so, these solid machines aren't lacking in temptations--especially when considering the starting price for the Standard model. Moving up to an SE King Cab boosts the ante considerably. Nissan's role in the small-truck race might change when an all-new Truck arrives, rumored for 1997.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.