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X Games, Xterra, Xcess?

Vibe

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Perhaps you’ve seen the ads for Nissan’s new Xterra too many times and grown cynical, saying to yourself, “This thing is targeting me too directly. There has to be a hitch.” We had the same reaction, which is why we test-drove one. And we did find a hitch: All those sport-specific add-ons played up to such effect in the ads (the first-aid kit, the external gear basket, etc.) are in fact the least useful parts of this truck. What we did find useful was the pep of its V6 engine and the smoothness of its ride, even in Loveland’s potholed parking lot. Best of all? These things are pretty cheap ($25,549 for the tricked-out one we drove; $17,349 for the 4-cylinder) — a far cry from the insane Escalante mentality that dominates most of the SUV world.