Under the Xterra's hood lives a the large displacement V-6 engine that outputs enough power to claim superiority over the Toyota 4Runner and FJ Cruiser and downright outclasses the Ford Explorer's 4.0-liter.
Despite its high power ratings, the Xterra was hesitant to accelerate quickly. This is mostly due to the equipped 5-speed automatic transmissions unwillingness to downshift when demanded. Really prod the accelerator pedal, however, and the V-6 will eventually spring to life.
As a 4x4 model, our Xterra was able to move between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations at the touch of a dial. A third 4WD LO setting featured extra-low gearing that allowed the Xterra to take advantage of its high torque at a significantly reduced speed, perfect for rock crawling and slippery situations.