At first we were looking at the Jeep Liberty, but decided to compare it with the Xterra because it was priced about the same. I have to say that we are very happy with our decision. This is one of the better truck-like SUVs you can get for the money. I say truck-like, because its not fair to compare it to those car-based SUVs. It rides like a truck, sounds like a truck, uses fuel like a truck...just like a sport UTILITY vehicle should. If you're looking for a car-like grocery-getter, look elsewhere. It has been driven in 18" of snow on unplowed dirt roads in Pennsylvania and on snow-covered roads across West Virginia to Snowshoe Mtn. ski resort, and it performed beautifully.
Looks. It just looks like an SUV should (aggressive and rugged). Interior space. It has plenty of room for packing it full of camping, skiing, or whatever gear you've got. Roof-rack. Whatever you can't fit inside, fits on the outside. Stereo. Rockford Fosgate sounds great.
Better fuel economy would be great, but only if it didn't take away from the horsepower (a real challange). More comfortable seats in the front. My [body] needs a little more isolation from the suspension.