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2006 Nissan Xterra - The X-Blade Project

Posted in Features on October 1, 2006
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Flash back to 1999, the Nissan Xterra hits the marketplace and instantly starts turning heads. An integrated first-aid kit - are you serious? During that time, the Xterra stood out from some of the competition with its rugged truck-like frame, adventure styling, and a no-nonsense attitude for "go anywhere" fun. Jump ahead and visit with the new Xterra for '05-'06 built on Nissan's F-Alpha platform that was originally created for the Nissan Titan and Nissan Armada vehicles, and for the utilization of Nissan's 4.0L VQ-series V-6 engines. These two updates alone would have made the new X stand out from its predecessor, but there is much more to this new rig.

Let's start with the exterior of our new project vehicle. The new X features larger flared front fenders, a new, more versatile roof rack that comes equipped with a storage compartment with latch, and a new rear bumper with side steps to make loading your roof rack easier. Both the front and rear bumpers have been designed with the off-road world in mind, leaving great approach and departure angles. On top of the new bumper, the front end features include a hood that has also been redesigned to offer a much more powerful "here I come" look as well as brighter headlamp design and Nissan's uniquely styled grille.

If you haven't spent any time inside the new Xterras, you really should. The interior seats have been much improved, and we found them to be some of the most comfortable recliners around. Front legroom has been increased by nearly 1 inch, and headroom has also been increased by almost 1/2 inch.

The cargo area floor material is extremely easy to clean and comes with the floor mountain rail system as seen in the bed of the Nissan Titan. Besides convenient cargo hooks in the floor, you will also find side hooks and four ceiling hooks that can be used to secure your mountain bike, camping gear, tailgating equipment, or whatever else you might have. The floor hooks can secure up to 110 pounds. There is also a DC plug-in outlet just inside the rear door, and we don't have to mention how handy those come in outdoors.

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The Off Road package we opted for on our 4x4 Xterra includes larger Bilstein shocks, an electronic locking rear differential, hill descent control, hill start assist, foglights, and a fold-flat front passenger seat. We find the Xterra to be one of the best out-of-the-box sport utility vehicles on the planet because of options like these.

It was truly wonderful to drive both on- and off-road during our testing process. The Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and four-wheel limited slip (ABLS) came in handy on more than one occasion, that's for sure. We plan on testing them to their limits before and after modifications.

As four-wheelers, we enjoy a large off-road aggressive-tread tire under us when driving in the dirt. The new Xterra comes with optional BFGoodrich Rugged Trail OWL tires, including a fullsize spare tire. You also get a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that informs you when your tires are getting low on air pressure. Studies have proven low tire pressure to be the cause of more than 15,000 accidents per year.

For those of you who enjoy good tunes, the new Rockford Fosgate audio package is rockin'. Nissan also offers Sirius satellite radio as an option with your new X, and we suggest you get it. Having tunes available anywhere, no matter what you are driving under, over, or around, is incredible.

So, what's the plan for our new long-term project? As you know, we love to set a course for adventure with nothing standing in our way. This vehicle is going to incorporate that "go anywhere and do anything" attitude through our modifications, hence the project's name. In other words, think about a tool that you use which offers a multitude of uses and is always there for you when you need it, what do you think of? A Swiss Army knife, right? Well if it's good for MacGyver, it's good for us all! As such, our X-Blade Xterra is going to be our multitool to get us to and from any trail we choose because it's a quality vehicle and our modifications will be made with superior aftermarket components. Stay tuned for our next article on the project, which will cover our very first modifications and outdoor excursions.

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'05-'06 Xterra owners are starving for aftermarket goodies because there simply isn't that much available for this very capable machine. Our initial search for products introduced us to a really great website: The site's forums are frequented by '05-'06 F-Alpha-platform Nissan Xterra owners just like us who are hungry for knowledge. The website has been a great resource for us because it is dedicated solely to the new X. Already, we have even learned a few tricks about our project vehicle we didn't know. Next time you sit down at your computer, do yourself a favor and check out the website.

’06 {{{Nissan Xterra}}}
Off Road 4x4

Base Price: $27,050
Price As Our
Project Vehicle
Is Equipped:
Engine: 4.0L VQ40 V-6
Bore x Stroke (in.): 95.5x92
Valvetrain: DOHC, silent chain, two-
stage, four valves per cylinder
Aspiration: Natural
Horsepower: 265 hp @ 5,{{{600}}} rpm
Torque: 284 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Transfer Case: TX-10 part-time two-speed
Crawl Ratio: 32:1
Low-range Ratio: 2.625:1
Axle Ratio: 3.133:1
Independent, coilover
shock/solid axle,
Steering: Power-assisted
Brakes (front/rear): Vented disc/solid disc
Tires/Wheels: P265/75R16 BFG Rugged
Trail T/As/16x7 aluminum
Wheelbase (in.): 106.7
Length (in.): 178.7
Width (in.): 72.8
Height (in.): 74.9
Curb Weight (lbs.): 4,402
Clearance (in.):
Approach (deg.): 33.2
Departure (deg.): 29.4
Max. Towing
Capacity (lbs.):
Capacity (gal.):
EPA Mileage
Estimates (city
mpg/hwy mpg):
Seating Capacity:


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