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· Registered
2004 Nissan Xterra, 4x4 S/C
348 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Which vehicle is better for off-road driving, 1st/2nd gen Xterra or Tacoma?

I currently own an 01 Xterra (3" suspension lift, 32s). Love it and it has taken me to some amazing places on rough roads, but it's getting old. Almost 300k km, and a bunch of work needed: idler arm and steering all worn, manifold has a small crack I think, and things in general are getting a bit rattly from wear. Starting to wonder whether I should be throwing more money into it or get a newer vehicle.

I've been looking at 2nd gen Xterras but considering the Tacoma. One hard requirement is I need to be able to sleep in the vehicle, in addition to off-road capability. In my Xterra I can just drop the rear seats flat and have a therm-a-rest in the back, sleeping two, which is perfect. The Tacoma access cab version has a 6 ft bed, which means I can sleep in the back (I've seen people build a wooden platform inside, where you can sleep on top and have gear underneath - awesome. But I'm worried about the wheelbase of the Tacoma and approach/departure angles...

Here is the stats as I know them:

01 Xterra:
- Approach angle: 31 deg
- Departure angle: 28 deg
- Ground clearance (diff): 9.2"
- Wheel base: 104.3"
- Turning radious: 17.7'

Now, those stats are with stock 29" tires. With 32's, the 3" lift, and an aftermarket rear bumper (ShrockWorks) the approach/departure angles and clearance get much better. I'll admit the approach angle isn't great, I've definitely hit my front bumper plenty of times... again, it's gotten better with lift and bigger tires.

Tacoma (2014, access cab):
- Approach angle: 35 deg
- Departure angle: 26 deg
- Ground clearance (diff): 9.3"
- Wheel base: 127.4"
- Turning radious: 20.4'

The approach angle is way better, the departure is 2 degrees worse (and much worse vs. Xterra with Shrock bumper). My main concern is the fact that it's super long! 127" vs. 104" -> a lot of the 4x4 driving in BC is on old mining/logging roads - think tons of super deep and often eroded cross ditches - where you constantly need to angle the vehicle to get in/out. That's why a bunch of people I know drive those tiny Suzuki Samurai's! I'm worried I'll just high-centre the Tacoma coming into a ditch, and won't be able to avoid it by angling because the truck is too long. Also, the turning radius isn't great, which sometimes is super useful in tight situations where you need to call it and head back.

Not an issue on the older models, but the new 2016+ Tacomas have this stupid raised hood - can't see anything in front of you, seems like it would make wheeling super annoying/challenging...


· Registered
9 Posts
I am far from being an expert but in my opinion, a newer Xterra is a better option for utility. The Tacoma would retain value better if you are worried about that however. Also if you do plan to sleep in the tacoma bed, that means you are buying a bed cover as well I assume? Seems like you would be spending more getting a Tacoma and making it suv-ish by adding the bed cover. Not to mention the separation from the actual cabin of the vehicle if you are in the bed of the truck and need to quickly get in the cabin of the vehicle or take advantage of the vehicles ac/heat if needed. Tacomas are super nice and badass trucks but it sounds like you need true utility. If you are skeptical of getting another Xterra and want a toyota, go find a used FJ Cruiser (tacoma suv LOL).

· Registered
100 Posts
I'm sure most will say Xterra here and the Tacoma boards will tell you Tacoma so kind of a silly question :)

In the end, buy what you want, the off road capability is too close for meaningful debate. In my market (Cali) and most, Tacoma resell value is way higher than comparable Xterra due to TOY badge. Good if you plan to buy new but bad if shopping used. Same with 4Runner, they are always more than a comparable used Xterra.
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