As far as trends among vehicle buyers are concerned, there are two trends that are seemingly in opposition to each other. On the one hand, consumers expect a higher degree of comfort and refinement in their vehicles than in years past, with superlative infotainment features and a quiet, smooth ride a must for many auto shoppers. On the other hand, SUVs and outwardly rugged vehicles are becoming increasingly popular.
In order to strike a balance between these two trends, most major car manufacturers are offering vehicles that attempt to strike a delicate compromise between the rugged capabilities that a growing number of weekend warriors demand and the features and comfort that modern drivers and passengers expect. Two such vehicles are being offered by two of the world’s most popular most popular automotive companies: the Nissan Xterra and Toyota’s FJ Cruiser. If you are trying to decide between these two vehicles yourself, this is a comparison between the 2013 models of these two SUVs.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser
The FJ Cruiser is undoubtedly an off-road vehicle, and one thing you can say about this Toyota model is that it does not make any pretenses of being anything other than a rough and tumble SUV, which is both a good thing and a bad thing.
This is a good thing, for the most part, while you are executing off-road driving thanks to protective skid plates and frame rails, a surprisingly short wheelbase, and elevated ground clearance, all which add to the off-road driving experience and capabilities of the FJ Cruiser.
However, the ruggedness of this Toyota model becomes a liability when you attempt to use it for more common, run-of-the-mill driving practices. The 4 liter V6 engine provides plenty of power, but the awkwardly high body, heavy tires, and bloated curb weight of over four tons making handling less than ideal to say the least. The backseat area is difficult to get and out of, is uncomfortably restrictive, and all passengers suffer from an especially noisy cabin. Although Toyota designers have attempted to offset some of this discomfort with a decent standard audio system and optional informational display screen, the FJ Cruiser is still frustratingly limited in its uses.
The Nissan Xterra
Like the FJ Cruiser, the Nissan Xterra also boasts sizable tires, skid plates, and other hallmarks of an off-road ready vehicle. Like the FJ Cruiser, the Xterra is also more than capable of challenging off-road driving. The four-liter, 261 horsepower V6 engine provides enough power for almost any driving need. However, unlike the Toyota, this Nissan also doubles as a great vehicle for less exciting but more standard SUV uses.
While the exterior of the Xterra is suitably tough yet stylish, the interior provides plenty of storage room for gear while also providing ample comfort for both driver and passengers. The surfaces are made to be exceptionally easy to clean, and at base level, the Xterra has features for passenger and driver comfort such as AM/FM and CD stereo, power everything, cruise control, and keyless entry, and well as optional features like a navigation and audio system with display, and Bluetooth and satellite radio capabilities.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser vs the Nissan Xterra
While both the Xterra and the FJ Cruiser offer a surprising degree of rugged, off-road usefulness, when it comes to more traditional driving and overall comfort and style the FJ Cruiser falls quite a bit short. The Xterra, on the other hand, makes an astonishingly versatile vehicle for all uses, giving it a significant advantage for anyone looking for a more adaptable SUV.
Cherry Hill Nissan
To see the 2013 Nissan Xterra in person, visit Cherry Hill Nissan in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where Nissan experts are on hand to answer any Xterra related questions you have and help you get behind the wheel for a test drive!