Nissan’s old school Xterra SUV won’t be climbing mountains anymore

If there’s any indication of how much the SUV segment has changed over the past 15 years, it’s the decline of the Nissan Xterra. When the vehicle with the extreme-sounding name was introduced, most SUVs had traditional body-on-frame platforms, and off-road ability was a major selling point.

But amid a sea of car-like crossovers and greater concerns over fuel economy, the Xterra apparently just can’t compete anymore. Nissan won’t bring the Xterra back for the 2016 model year, once again reducing the number of traditional SUVs available on dealer lots.

“The last Xterra will be sold in the fall of 2015,” Nissan said in a press release detailing its 2016 model year changes. The carmaker says over 750,000 Xterras have been sold since the SUV was introduced for the 2000 model year.

The Xterra was first introduced as a smaller counterpart to Nissan’s Pathfinder, using the Frontier pickup-truck platform, right when the SUV boom began. While few mainstream cars in the early 2000s could stir much emotion, the promise of off-road adventure captured the public’s imagination, even if most members of the public used their SUVs for school runs and shopping trips only.

With funky styling elements like a stepped roofline, and a first-aid kit compartment bulging out of the tailgate, the Xterra was well equipped to take advantage of this trend. A traditional, manual four-wheel drive system gave it some off-road chops as well.

The model survived into a second generation unveiled in 2005, again on the Frontier platform. But the Xterra’s past 10 years haven’t been as rosy as its first five. The current Xterra has had to weather declining interest in body-on-frame SUVs with few updates. Even the Xterra’s big sibling, the Pathfinder, eventually moved to a crossover platform for the 2012 model year.

Get behind the wheel of an Xterra, and it’s easy to see why the model is on its way out. The interior plastics are not up to current standards, infotainment options are limited, the driving experience is decidedly truck-y and, with four-wheel drive, fuel economy is a dismal 17 mpg combined. As far as styling, Nissan’s Murano will probably draw more looks from bystanders today.

Still, the Xterra has its charms. It knows what it is, and doesn’t try to pretend to be anything else. And from now on, buyers who want their SUV to be more than just a tall station wagon will have one less choice.

Cars

Jaguar’s rally-ready F-Type roadster is happiest off the pavement

Jaguar is celebrating the XK120's 70th birthday by turning the F-Type roadster into a rally warrior. Built to FIA specifications, the model receives suspension and braking upgrades plus a full roll cage to protect the occupants.
Cars

Where are you going this weekend? These 5 off-road vehicles say 'anywhere'

The body-on-frame SUV is going extinct, but there are still several options for buyers looking to skip the asphalt. To help you sort the good from the bad, we've rounded up the best off-roaders currently available.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best 'Top Gear' episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, 'Top Gear' has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 25 seasons.
Cars

This hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Silverado looks like it’s straight out of Halo

General Motors' defense division has released video footage of a rugged, Halo-like truck called Silverado ZH2. The pickup is powered by the next evolution of GM's hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
Cars

Tesla raises prices and simplifies options on Model S and Model X

Tesla is making changes to its offerings of the Model S and Model X. The lower-range 75D models will increase in price, while the higher-range 100D models will decrease in price.
Cars

Tesla brings track mode to Model 3 Performance

The new Track Mode introduced for the Tesla 3 Performance model adds stability to the drive while you're behind the wheel and is specifically designed for driving on closed track courses.
Mobile

Lyft’s new rewards program promises ride discounts and comfier cars

If you're always hopping in and out of a Lyft car, then you'll be pleased to hear that the ridesharing service is about to launch a rewards program. Perks include discounts on future trips and upgrades to comfier cars.
Cars

Study suggests autonomous cars could become red-light districts on wheels

Fully autonomous cars can change the way we commute, but they can also have a far-reaching impact on the tourism industry. Two researchers published a study that outlines how self-driving technology could create a new dimension in tourism.
Cars

VW will use Siri as the designated driver for its connected car party

Volkswagen of America added Apple's Siri to help drivers control and interact with their cars. Owners can customize voice commands to tell Siri to change access settings such as interior climate, vehicle lock status, and fuel checks.
Cars

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.
Cars

Waymo will launch its commercial autonomous ridesharing service in December

Waymo will launch a commercial ridesharing service using self-driving cars in December, according to a new report. As previously discussed by Waymo, the service will operate in specific areas around Phoenix, Arizona.
Cars

Quick! Someone petition Ferrari to make this luscious tribute to the F40

Ferrari looks toward the future as it designs hypercars like the LaFerrari. Designer Samir Sadikhov turned his eye toward the past to create a modern interpretation of the 1987 F40 without venturing into full retro territory.
Cars

BMW’s 2020 M340i will show off mix of tech and luxury at the Los Angeles show

The 2020 3 Series represents the seventh generation of BMW's bread-and-butter luxury sedan. Where previous generations emphasized the driving experience, the 2020 3 Series focuses more on tech than ever before.
Cars

From Rolls-Royce to Lamborghini, these are the most expensive cars in the world

If you recently discovered an oil reserve in your backyard, you probably have some extra cash to spend. Look no further, because we’ve rounded up the most expensive cars in the world.