The other modifications were done to the Xterra's interior, which received a redesigned instrument panel, new stereo options, new colors, and improved ergonomics. The instrument panel now has a cockpit feel, with the three main gauges set in circular recesses. The interior houses a center console with a map pocket, push-out cup holders (to hold everything from a can of soda to a Big Gulp), and power ports. Xterra SE buyers will get an eight-speaker AM/FM/six-disc in-dash CD changer stereo system, which is an option on XE models. This system comes with steering-wheel audio controls as well. The dash-mounted pull-type hand brake was rather unpopular, so it was replaced with a foot-operated unit.
The majority of the changes to the Xterra for 2002 were in response to what customers felt were shortcomings of previous models. Overall, the vehicle has a similar feel to the first Xterra. It feels durable yet comfortable and looks and feels ready for the trail. The new instrument cluster looks fresh and clean and is very easy to read at night, but the glare from the sun makes it a little more difficult to read during the day than the previous design. The front end's new look is attractive and gives the vehicle a more rugged overall appearance.
The best part of the new Xterra is the optional supercharger. This boosts the horsepower and torque numbers to where they should have been in the first place. SUV buyers, in general, like power, and the more power there is, the better. Nissan made a wise decision by offering the S/C, which gives the Xterra much more bang for the buck and makes the vehicle even more competitive in such a do-or-die market. It also makes the Xterra even more fun to drive than it was before.
Eaton's M62 Gives the Xterra a Boost
Once Nissan determined that the best way to give its 3.3L V-6 (a popular engine choice for both the Xterra and the Frontier) a little extra power was with a supercharger, the company decided to use an Eaton unit. Eaton is the largest supercharger manufacturer in the world and has a significant presence in the automotive aftermarket. The company has extensive experience fitting superchargers to OE applications, such as the Mercedes SLK and the Ford Lightning. It was simply a matter of putting the right unit with this engine. Based on both the size of the unit and its compatibility with the engine, Nissan selected the M62.
The Eaton supercharger uses two rotors, which form a helix to increase both air pressure and density in the SUV's intake manifold. This concentrated charge of air causes more powerful combustion in the cylinders, and the engine's overall power increases. Eaton units can be spun as Once Nissan determined high as 14,000 rpm, reducing the superchargers' physical sizes and making them good candidates for vehicles with smaller engines or engine bays. They are also made to be quiet, self-lubricating, and reliable.
The end result of the use of this supercharger on the larger Xterra and Frontier engine is impressive. In the Xterra, the naturally aspirated 3.3L puts out 170 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque. The supercharged unit ups both numbers by nearly 25 percent to 210 hp and 246 lb-ft of torque. That makes for a lot of fun on the open road.