2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
Tried a 1st gen Xterra a couple of years ago and was unimpressed. Cool styling, but too noisy inside, gutless (even the S/C model), and crude overall. Great off-road, though. The new X is nothing like its predecessor. It still has the OR chops, but its refinement is a quantum leap ahead of Gen 1. I am impressed with its quietness on the highway. Ride quality is firm but fairly smooth. Sharp handling, fun to drive, plenty o' power. A great cruiser, yet also a bona fide off-roader--NOT a quasi-SUV wannabe. A great choice if you have only one vehicle for commuting AND playing in the dirt. Be prepared at the gas pump, though--so far I average 17 mpg (90% highway) on winter gas.
Powerful engine, crisp handling; quiet interior; tough styling; simple controls and gauges; lots of storage, useful fold-flat passenger seat, tie- downs and anchor points galore; Rockford Fosgate stereo is excellent and plays MP3s to boot. Burns regular gas (87 octane).
Seats need a smidge more thigh bolstering; interior plastic scratches easily; exterior temperature gauge would be nice; MP3 discs load VERY slowly, and the head unit needs an AUX jack for iPods and such; roof rack storage bin needs a lock. And--dare to dream--better fuel economy.