"I have had my "X" for almost 7 years now and very happy with it!
I love the styling of the older models more than the newer boxier types. Everything holds together really well and takes the bumbs and grinds.
Performance is good for the size of the engine they put in the unit. Works for pulling U-haul or small car and can hold its own towing while going up mountain roads, dip in fuel economy is very noticable when doing this but your towing up a mountain. Otherwise towing on flat highway shows a very small decrease. Acceleration is pretty peppy for off the line goes and starting from the bottom of an on ramp going onto the highway (up hill in this case on a curve) I can hit 70-75 before I have to merge. Handles well at high speeds and evassive manuevers are above average.
Stock offroading is reduced to small trails and or mudding. I put on 31.5" tires under the stock setup and don't have a lot of trouble, a little grinding on the fender in a "cranked all the way to the side" turn.
Room is very extensive, back seats are good enough for a six foot person, a little cramping if in for a long ride with no stops. Driver and passenger seats are very comfortable and fit well, same problem on long drives but you can last longer in the front. Interior is very nice and accomadating and configures for your daily use, given the back seats can be laid flat.
With just the basic changes in oil and a trany flush when it was recommended, over 7 years i have had one major and one minor problem with it. The major problem: had to replace the steering gearbox at about 60k miles it cost about 2k parts and labor. I understand a burr broke off inside the gear set and caused damage to the gears making it almost impossible to turn the wheel. However i understand this was a fluke and is not common at all. Minor issue was a airconditioner leak that took about 20-40 dollars to replace and its worked fine sense. AC is a little on the warmer side for my taste but it could be low on coolant or a recharge could be in order. Also, upgrades for offroading ability are a bit expensive and limited but the options are there.
For 7 years old it has been really fun on road, off road and everywhere inbetween. It is small enough to be easily drivable, parkable and trailable while maintaining good space on the inside. FUN FUN FOR MORE YEARS TO COME!!"
"I bought this manual 02 model ceritified preowned in 2005 with only ~27k miles. I now have ~68k on it and have had no problems at all, other than the passenger window motor going but that was covered under warranty. I couldn't have asked for a better car! It runs like new, it's not too big but still a good sized SUV and you can haul and move anything! I ski, so it climbs a lot of mountains, the 4wd works fantastic! I recommend looking at Consumer Reports before you buy a vehicle. That's how I landed on this Model, I knew I wanted an Xterra but didn't know which model, and the 2002 had the least amount of problems and the best bang for your buck! Hope this helped!"
"this car has cost me more in maintenance than any car i've ever owned. it's been recalled several times with each fix causing more problems (also not covered by the recall) every time i take the car in for general maintenance i end up having to replace something else. i've spent enough money on this car to pay for it 3 times over."