These days, crossovers outnumber true sport-utility vehicles by a significant margin. Body-on-frame names like the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango and the upcoming Nissan Pathfinder have switched over to unibody platforms. Chevrolet also ditched the Colorado-based Trailblazer a few years ago. Crossovers are referred to as SUVs now, but their capabilities are very different despite outward appearances.
No doubt, the class of mid-size BOFs SUVs is a dying breed. Most soccer moms never touched any of the capabilities these trucks offered. Some buyers really have a need for this type of a vehicle though. As such, it makes a lot more sense to make a model tailored to the needs of these buyers. At Nissan that is exactly what its happening, with the BOF Xterra set to remain in the lineup.
The Xterra is currently based on the Frontier truck platform. We’ll be honest, we totally forgot about the Frontier. It such a nonentity in the truck market; its clear it needs some investment in order to be more of a player. Even though they haven’t met much success, Nissan appears to be in the truck market to stay.
Car and Driver says the Frontier/Xterra arrangement will continue, as Nissan seeks a rounded, well-differentiated lineup. The current Xterra offers excellent off-roading ability and that is its biggest attraction. The downside with BOF is reduced refinement, but we’d wager most Xterra buyers don’t care.
The Xterra could be made a lot more exciting to look at though and we could see a high-performance off-road iteration generating a bit of excitement. For the foreseeable future, the Toyota 4Runner should be the Xterra’s main competition. In Thailand, General Motors has relaunched the Chevrolet Trailblazer, but it hasn’t been confirmed for sale in the United States. For now the remaining players have it easy; there isn’t much competition for a mid-size SUV in this category.