Nissan For 2000

By Carey Russ

Nissan is looking good this year, with little unchanged. It got model year 2000 off to an early start with the introduction of the latest models of the Maxima sedan, Pathfinder sport-utility, and Frontier pickup and the all-new Xterra SUV. The latest Altima sedan followed, and a new Sentra is coming soon.


Although the second-generation Altima is only two years old, it receives major updates. While freshened styling featuring new front bodywork and interior refinement might be the most noticeable changes, the most important upgrades are to the engine and suspension. Power of its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is up only slightly, but is delivered in a more useful way. Suspension revisions dial in ride and handling for more comfort and control. The results are subtle but noticeable.


Long ago, the Pathfinder was a basic, let's-play-in-the-mud-and-get- dirty vehicle. As it has matured over the years, a serious gap has been created at the lower-priced end of the SUV market. That gap has been filled by the Xterra. Based on the Frontier 4x4 pickup chassis, the Xterra, while slightly smaller than the Pathfinder, is still quite roomy and sports unique styling. Inside and out, the emphasis is on functionality, but comfort has not been forgotten. Two-wheel drive four-cylinder and V6-powered 4x2 and 4x4 models in several trim levels fill just about any SUV need.


Nissan's compact trucks have always been innovative, and the trend continues with the new Frontier Crew Cab, the first compact pickup with four real, forward-hinged doors and real space in the rear seat. The cargo bed is shortened, but still very functional. It's offered in 4x2 and 4x4 V6-powered form. Also new is the "Desert Runner", a 4x2 extended-cab V6 model built on the 4x4 chassis. Other Frontier versions include regular and extended cab models with 2.4-liter four- cylinder and 3.3-liter V6 engines.


The newest generation of Nissan's flagship Maxima sedan debuted early. It features all-new styling, a new interior, and an upgraded engine.


The Pathfinder sport-utility was restyled with new front and rear bodywork and had a number of engine and suspension modifications partway through 1999.

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