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2000 Subaru Impreza Review

MY 2000 SUBARU IMPREZA REVIEW:

Overview:

In the 1980′s they called them pocket rockets, subcompact economy cars with a little more power and better handling than the standard models. Most automakers built them because pocket rockets delivered good, clean, practical fun at a reasonable price and created some a buzz of interest in the showroom.

In the late 1990′s, when sport is more often thought of being affiliated with utility, pocket rockets come few and far between. Fortunately, the 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS proves that the concept lives.

With the 2.5 RS, Subaru takes its subcompact Impreza, installs the 2.5-liter engine from its larger Legacy sedan and wagon, adds a screaming rear spoiler and, Viola! An Impreza worthy of the pocket-rocket heritage.

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Better still, the Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS updates the 80′s vision of a pocket rocket. It draws on Subaru’s heritage as a force in auto racing’s World Rally Championship, and comes equipped with standard all-wheel-drive. It also has something you wouldn’t necessarily expect in a subcompact: a back seat that holds two decently-sized adults in reasonable comfort.

Model Line-up:

The $19,295 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS is the hot rod of the Impreza lineup. New for the 2000 model year, the 2.5 RS is available in Coupe or Sedan body styles.

The rest of the Impreza line is powered by the sensible 2.2-liter engine. It comprises the $15,895 Impreza L Coupe and Sedan, $16,295 Sport Wagon, $18,095 Outback Sport (not to be confused with the big Outback).

Destination charge adds $495. Optional automatic transmission adds $800.

Walkaround:

The World Rally Championship is hugely popular in Europe. Throngs of spectators line rutted dirt roads or icy lakes as rally competitors flash by at 110 mph, just a few feet away. Subaru’s 555 Impreza rally cars are widely recognized. For three consecutive years theyve driven home with the World Rally Championship title. Thats an impressive feat as the competition from Toyota and other manufacturers is definitely fierce.

The Subaru Impreza RS is no 400-horsepower rally machine, but it comes as close as anything Subaru sells in North America. Its thick, foot-tall Subaru Technica rear-spoiler looks just like the rally cars. The Impreza RS has a large nonfunctional scoop and two little grilles on its hood; deeply flared rocker skirts visually connect its wheel wells. With the exception of the multi-refractor fog lights and 16″ spoked alloy wheels, most of the Impreza RS appearance tweaks are cosmetic. Yet on the road or in a parking lot, this little coupe draws as much attention as any subcompact tested in years.

On the functional side, the Subaru Impreza gets the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine from the Legacy (as opposed to the standard Imprezas 2.2). Like all Subaru engines, the 2.5 has horizontally opposed cylinders – a “V” configuration that is essentially pressed flat. This boxer design is also used in Porsche’s. From an engineering perspective it boasts even power delivery and a lower center of gravity. Most important to the driver, the 2.5s 165 horsepower exceeds the standard Impreza engine by 23 horsepower. This level of power ranks the Impreza near the top of the subcompact class.

2000 Subaru Impreza

2000 Subaru Impreza

Subaru’s full-time all-wheel-drive system differs slightly in Impreza models with automatic or manual transmissions. Automatics utilize a multi-plate clutch inside the transmission case to distribute power to the front and rear axles; cars with manual transmissions like our Impreza RS test car have a viscous-fluid center differential. In either case, the system is simple, compact, sturdy, and dependable, and the effect is the same: power is spread automatically to front or rear wheels, depending on which tires have the best traction. For 2000, a viscous limited-slip rear differential comes standard that further improves traction in slippery conditions.

With cruise control, power windows, air conditioning, a power sunroof and an 80-watt stereo, the 2000 Subaru Impreza RS’s standard-equipment list doesnt read like one in the window of an economy car. Safety enhancements include dual front airbags, side-impact protection beams and anti-lock brakes.

Interior Features:

If the body package isn’t enough to convince you that the Subaru Impreza has a sporting streak, witnessing the view from the driver’s seat might persuade you against whatever reservations you might still have. Both the steering wheel and shift lever are padded with black, red-stitched leather, which is not only attractive, but pleasant. The seats are more heavily bolstered than those in a typical subcompact, though they are wide enough that husky people wont feel cramped. The driver looks at black-on-white gauges, with a prominent speedometer in the center and a tachometer, coolant temperature and fuel gauge to either side.

The Subaru Impreza‘s heating and cooling system operates with simple radial switches to set the temperature and direct airflow. The fan has a slide-type switch, and moves enough air to keep the windows clear on damp, foggy days without excessive noise. Evaluated in terms of distraction-free operation, the stereo is mediocre. The buttons could be larger, but the unit is conveniently placed and the volume control falls within easy reach of the driver. The sunroof switch sits overhead between two reading lamps.

Access to the 2000 Subaru Impreza coupes rear seat could be easier. A toe-operated lever on the front passenger seat moves the seatback all the way forward, but it doesnt slide the entire seat forward to the front of the car. Once a passenger climbs in, however, the rear seat is surprisingly uncrowded and roomy. The bottom cushion is narrow, but the back is nicely angled (rather than bolt upright) for a more cozy seating position. There’s sufficient legroom and plenty of headroom. In short, the Impreza’s rear seat is more accommodating than those that are in some other coupes that are larger and more expensive.

The trunk is deep and accommodating. However, it lacks a net or some other device to keep gallon jugs or groceries from sliding around, which isn’t a huge setback, but could’ve helped in utilitarian usage.

The Subaru Impreza RS has some nice features. The door pockets are wide enough to hold cassettes. Theres a storage bin in the center console, a lockable glovebox and a neat, handy bin in the center of the dash. Press a button: the lid opens and exposes a compartment large enough for sunglasses, a handful of CD’s, and anything else you might need immediate access to. The cupholder slides out of the dash from under the center vents and keeps drinks within easy reach of both driver and passenger.

The finish throughout the Impreza is quite good for a sub-$20,000 car. The dark vinyl panels are soft and pliable, and the woven upholstery feels strong yet plush. It reminded me of curtain fabric, but so does the upholstery in most cars these days.

Driving Impressions:

In the mid-1980′s, a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 8.3 seconds would have been the envy of every pocket-rocket manufacturer in the world. Even today, there are more expensive coupes, and so-called sport sedans, that cant keep up with the Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS.

That said, the RS’s acceleration isnt quite as lively as we might have expected based on its size and engine power. The discrepancy might be explained by gearing, or by the character of the boxer engine. There’s plenty of acceleration-producing torque in the middle of the power band, yet the engine is weak at very low rpm, and it runs out of steam well before its 6200-rpm redline. Gear ratios also contribute. While most cars will reach 60 mph in second gear, the Impreza RS requires an upshift to third just past 50 mph, adding as much as 0.4 second to the O-60 times. Although the 2000 Subaru Impreza RS has shorter throws than a standard Impreza, its shifter isnt the world’s most precise, and its fairly easy to miss a gear in the heat of a spirited drive. Yet overall, with its fat power band in the middle of the rev range, the Impreza RS is more responsive, and more entertaining, than a host of other subcompact automobiles.

Its suspension offers some nice surprises, too. Most small cars tuned to improve handling come with stiff rides. The Impreza RS, on the other hand, is tuned in the tradition of rallying where race courses are often dry creeks or dirt logging trails full of sudden bumps and deep unforeseen holes and dips. So the Subaru’s springs are fairly soft and theres quite a bit of suspension travel. That means a comfortable ride to go with handling thats quite good, once a driver gets familiar with the car.

The Subaru Impreza RS leans over quite a bit during hard, sudden cornering, yet weight transfers from side to side progressively, in a controlled fashion. It doesnt flop. The steering is quick, and while it lacks the feel of a sports car, the Impreza RS turns into a corner crisply. It’s basic handling attribute is understeer, or what enthusiast drivers call push. That’s a safe, progressive process that intuitively makes a driver slow down if he or she goes into a corner too fast. Yet with all-wheel traction, the RS can safely (and quickly) negotiate corners that might be too much for a standard front-drive subcompact.

Summary:

In sum, the Subaru Impreza RS’s drivetrain/suspension combination makes a reasonably sophisticated package. A few subcompacts are smoother, and more refined in the details. Yet the RS comes with more entertainment value, and more character, than a Ford Escort or Toyota Corolla or most other cars of similar dimensions. Throw in the all-season security of all-wheel-drive, and you have a package thats hard to beat for the money.

And now the money. Prices do change with the times. At a base price of $19,195, the Impreza 2.5 RS is a far cry more expensive than the $12,000 pocket rockets of the 1980′s. On the other hand, these days any vehicle under $20,000 is considered inexpensive.

The 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS delivers decent performance, good fun, head-turning looks, a functional back seat and fewer worries about when the next storm might blow through. And there’s no other subcompact quite like it.

Model Line Overview:

Model Lineup $15,895 Impreza L (Coupe or Sedan), $19,295 2.5 RS (Coupe or Sedan); $16,295 Sport Wagon, $18,095 Outback Sport; $495 destination charge; $800 automatic transmission
Engine 142-hp sohc 16v 2.2-liter horizontally opposed-4, 165-hp sohc 16v 2.5-liter horizontally opposed-4
Transmission 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard) dual front airbags standard, ABS optional
Basic warranty 3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in Ota City, Japan

Specs As Tested:

Model tested (MSRP) Impreza 2.5 RS Coupe
Standard equipment all-wheel drive, air conditioning, power windows, locks and side mirrors, AM/FM stereo cassette, accessory power outlet, dead pedal, tilt steering, cruise control, viscous limited-slip rear differential
Options as tested (MSRP) carpeted floor mats ($64); subwoofer/amplifier ($310); premium speakers ($100); CD player ($120); remote keyless entry ($225)
Price as tested (MSRP) 20809
Layout four-wheel drive
Engine 2.5-liter sohc 16v horizontally opposed-4
Horsepower (hp @ rpm) 165 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm) 166 @ 4000
Transmission 5-speed manual
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy 15.9
Wheelbase 99.2
Length/width/height 172.2/67.1/55.5
Track, f/r 57.9/57.1
Turning circle 33.5
Seating capacity 5
Head/hip/leg room, f 38.0/52.6/43.1
Head/hip/leg room, r 38.0/52.6/43.1
Cargo volume 11.1
Towing capacity 1500
Suspension, f Independent
Suspension, r Independent
Curb weight 2840
Tires P205/55R16
Brakes, f/r vented disc/solid disc w/ ABS
Fuel capacity 15.9

2000 Subaru Forester Review

MY 2000 SUBARU FORESTER REVIEW:

Combine an SUV and a car and what is the result? Subaru would hope that you’d think it was the 2000 Subaru Forester, an all-wheel drive (AWD) hybrid that straddles that fine line between car and SUV and in the end, you get one of the best hybrid SUV/wagons available on the market today.

The Forester’s Details:

The Subaru Forester has a 2.5-liter, 4 cylinder engine and has all-wheel drive. This means that there’s no switching back and forth between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive. In addition, the AWD system is more advanced than a typical 4-wheel drive system, where engine power is sent automatically to the wheels with more traction than those that are slipping in order to keep the Forester moving forward.

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At the time of purchase of the Forester, it cost about $27K and the model included quite a few amenities including: power windows and locks, auto-tinting rear-view mirror, keyless entry and alarm, seat warmers, side mirrors that defrost, and a 6-CD stereo system to name just a few. The model that was purchased was a 5-speed manual transmission as opposed to the automatic option.

The Subaru Forester is rated to get between 21mpg (city) and 28mpg (highway) respectively. Our experience has been that this is fairly accurate, but a few times we’ve managed to push the highway mpg up around 30 if we try real hard.

In difficult driving conditions, the Subaru Forester does well with its AWD system. In rainy conditions, the system keeps the traction of the car as you are driving through various puddles and water covered roads. In the snow, the Forester does well with the all-weather tires that generally come on the vehicle, but does even better when you stick a good pair of snow tires on it during the wintery months. In ice, like just about any other vehicle, unless you stick on a good pair of chains, the Forester won’t get you all that far, but it does do better than some out there.

The 2000 Subaru Forester is not built as an off-road vehicle. The AWD system is designed for mostly on-road driving. In addition, the clearance that the Forester has between the ground and the bottom of the car is not that great, and while depending on the tire size, averages probably about ½ the clearance that an off-road SUV has. Therefore, should you take the Subaru Forester off-road, you will have to be careful with clearance issues and take any off-road trips slowly to make sure that you don’t rip out the bottom of your engine.

For tall people like myself, the Subaru Forester can be a bit cramped and I don’t understand why it has to be that way. Both the front driver and passenger seats are situated so those even if they are slid all the way back I still have to sit in a cramped position. Driving the Forester, while not difficult for me, can become uncomfortable and unnerving for more than just short periods at a time because I’ve got to sit there with my knees bent the entire time. The back seat is not that much more roomy for tall people either. If I am sitting back there, the person in the front seat has got to have the seat up a little so that I can even fit. The back seats are not adjustable.

The ride, compared to an SUV is amazing though, but compared to a car, is a bit stiffer and rougher than you would expect. Noise can be an issue in the car, as it seems to be with all Subaru’s, and only increases the faster you are going. Higher speed highway driving can be quite loud inside the Forester, so it’s recommended to blare the stereo in those instances.

The Subaru Forester has a well-appointed interior that while it’s not plush, isn’t cheap either. For anyone who’s been in a Subaru before, they will instantly be familiar with the interior of the Forester. Cup holders are available in the front and in the back, adjustable air vents, an optional cargo area cover and net, fabric seats, and adjustable seats to name just a few. There are no lumbar adjustments on the driver’s seat though and none on any of the other seats.

2000 Subaru Forester

2000 Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester seats five, but generally I’d keep that at 4 unless the guy in the middle of the backseat is very small or doesn’t mind being cramped or half on someone’s lap.

Maintenance Issues:

The 2000 Subaru Forester has been a fairly maintenance and headache free car for the last four years that we have had it. In that time, beyond the normal oil changes and service, two oxygen sensors had gone and needed to be replaced (which resulted in very hard starts for the Forester until we got them fixed), the battery died once, and we accidentally broke the button for the front passenger side window (I pushed too hard and it fell right into the door). Other than that, we haven’t had any other work done on the Subaru Forester.

Things We Like:

With the rear seats folded down, the Forester does offer a significant area of storage and can transport a fair amount of whatever you bring along. It can even be used when moving and while it can’t fit what my RAV4 can, it can fit a lot if you adjust everything in the given space, precisely.

For a vehicle that is a cross between an SUV and a car, the ride is comfortable and the gas mileage is quite good. Several weekend getaway-type vacations using the Forester and while I’ve complained a bit about being cramped, the Forester was an excellent companion to the trips with enough space in back to hold our luggage and whatever else we needed to bring along.

While nowhere near like the car stereos that some people will customize and install in their vehicles, the factory provided stereo system is a good system to start out with and can provide really decent quality output. The 6-CD changer in the stereo is a blessing for people like my partner, who can load it up and forget about it and not have to be fumbling with CD’s while driving.

Things I Don’t Like:

My biggest complaint is the cramped space. I don’t expect in an SUV/wagon hybrid that I should feel tight for space, but in the Subaru Forester I do, sadly. Even sitting in the front passenger seat, I’ve got to adjust myself constantly and I’ve got to sit just right so that I can put my legs all the way out. Driving is even more challenging, especially since we’ve got a stick shift and I’ve got to keep both legs cramped up to drive.

The backseat is too small and not adjustable. I would like to see a backseat that can move forward and backward slightly (like in a RAV4) and that had a bit more space for legs. Anyone taller than me could probably not even fit in the back seat.

Finally noise – I don’t understand why all Subarus seem so noisy when you drive them. My first Subaru, a ’89 sedan I had was noisy, the Impreza I had was noisy and the Subaru Forester is just as noisy. It seems like through the years, Subaru just doesn’t care if there is interior noise and never has done anything to fix it.

Final Thoughts:

For anyone under about 6’ tall, the 2000 Subaru Forester is an excellent vehicle if you are looking for the security of all-wheel drive and the comfort of a car. While neither completely an SUV nor completely a car, the Forester straddles this line between the two extremes admirably and like most Subaru’s is built to last and should provide for years of driving with a minimum of repairs and work.

2000 Range Rover Review

MY 2000 RANGE ROVER REVIEW:

Introduction:

The original luxury SUV is so good, that it remains the best offering in its segment despite serious competition from Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, and most recently, its parent company, BMW.

For the 2000 Range Rover, this upscale sport-utility vehicle boasts great off-road ability and luxuriant trappings and has only minor changes, including trim updates and reduced engine emissions.

Call it blockish, chunky, or downright imposing, the Range Rover‘s sheet metal (lightweight and rustproof aluminum over a stout steel frame) projects its unflappable, unbounded performance. This year, the bolt-on body hardware has been significantly refreshed. Body-color bumpers, front spoilers, and exterior mirrors now grace the exterior. Front and rear turn signals and side marker lamps use smoke-gray plastic lenses for a more modern, sporty look, while new headlamps and fog lamps add to the familial resemblance to the newer, more svelte Discovery Series II. The 4.0 SE models now ship with the “Lightning”-design 16-inch alloy wheels. Two new paint hues, Alveston Red and Kent Green, are added this year, and color combinations have been expanded: Whereas in 1999 only certain interior/exterior combinations were provided, customers can now mix and match at will.

2000 Range Rover

2000 Land Rover Range Rover

On this side of the pond, we’re treated to two versions of the Range Rover, both assembled in Land Rover’s Solihull factory. On paper, the 4.0-liter 188-bhp SE and 4.6-liter 222-bhp HSE differ only in displacement, tires, and mudguards, not to mention $8,000. But on the road, the HSE’s 64-lbs.-ft. torque advantage makes all the difference in the world, giving the unhurried Range Rover the guts it needs to compete with the fine luxury brands such as Lexus and Lincoln, and for that matter, the rest of the globe. Both of Range Rover’s engines meet California’s Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard this year, thanks to new catalytic converters and secondary air pumps. An electronically controlled automatic is the only transmission offering; it allows manual +/- gear selection or uses a driver-adaptive shifting program when in “drive.”

The Ultimate Four-Wheel Drive:

Though Land Rover may take some critiques from purists, the traditional (heavy, complicated, maintenance-intensive) 4WD system, with its locking differentials, was scrapped last year in favor of an all-electronic routine similar to the one introduced on Mercede’s ML 320. Using existing ABS equipment and open (unlocked) differentials, a computer program curbs errant wheel spin at each corner of the vehicle by applying momentary brake pressure, providing forward motion as long as a single wheel has grip. Combined with Range Rover‘s standard driver-adjustable, self-leveling air suspension, short overhangs and amazing ground clearance, off-road performance is arguably second to none. And though it’s unlikely that many will have tours of duty in the woods, the underbody is well protected against the rocks and stumps that could tear clean through the floor of lesser SUV’s.

Powerful brakes haul this 2.5-ton beast to a controlled, quick stop, and emergency handling is quite secure due to Range Rover’s wagonlike low center of gravity. When cruising, ample sound-deadening keeps the cabin Euro-sedan quiet. A tall, comfortable seating position and a small-diameter, meaty steering wheel make the British ute one of the best vehicles around for long-distance travel, if one doesn’t mind fuel economy in the middle to low teens.

Inside this capable trail climber (which kneels politely to ease entry, thanks to its air suspension), you’ll find all the amenities expected by the upper class off-roader. Automatic climate control, leather, and CD changer are there, of course. But the details make the difference — the Range Rover offers a tasteful narrow band of burl walnut and well-tailored seats, trimmed by unique dark piping. Side airbags are standard equipment. This year, Land Rover revised the cup holders and instrument graphics, and applied a healthy dose of retro- chrome to the H-gate gearshift surround, shifter, and handbrake buttons.

The 2000 Range Rover might be a bit pricey, but here’s a tip though: If you’re willing to sacrifice the smallest bit of prestige to save a few pence, consider the Land Rover Discovery Series II. Sharing the structural and mechanical underpinnings of its more expensive brother, it equals the on- and off-road performance of its sibling while offering more cargo room and seating for seven.

Base Price: $ 59,000 (4.0 SE), $67,300 (HSE)
Engine: 4.0-liter V-8, 188 hp; 4.6-liter V-8, 222 hp
Transmission: electronically controlled four-speed automatic with
manual gear selection option
Wheelbase: 108.1 in
Length: 185.5 in
Width: 74.4 in
Height: 71.6 in
Weight: 4960 lb
Fuel economy: 13 city/ 16 hwy

Major standard equipment:
Dual front and side airbags
Tilt/telescope steering wheel
Power moonroof
Power driver and passenger seats
Leather seats
Wood trim
12-speaker audio system
Dual automatic climate controls
Air suspension

2000 Nissan Xterra Review

MY 2000 NISSAN XTERRA REVIEW:

Introduction:

Before the term “sport-utility-vehicle” came into common terminology, and SUV’s became the modern suburban equivalent of the station wagon,  utility vehicles were unabashedly trucks, and based on a company’s pickup. The trucks and their owners were rugged, capable of travelling offroad on dirt paths or none at all, and eschewed luxury-car appointments like leather seats, wood trim, and extra-feature’s galore.

Then utility vehicles became popular, and mainstream. The rough edges were rounded off, luxury features were added in, and yesterday’s affordable backwoods-friendly truck became today’s upscale suburban-oriented station wagon replacement. For example: the Nissan Pathfinder. The original Pathfinder was little more than a Nissan pickup with a built-in shell and a back seat. The current, second-generation Pathfinder is a refined vehicle with off-roading capabilities not known of a generation before, but aimed towards the majority of buyers — people for whom “off-road” more likely means a tailgate party in a muddy stadium parking lot than a secret fishing spot miles from nowhere.

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Nissan knows that there are plenty of potential customers who would have bought a Pathfinder ten years ago, but for whom the current Pathfinder is too upscale. So it has returned to the roots with the new 2000 Nissan Xterra.

The 2000 Nissan Xterra is unabashedly based on Nissan’s 4×4 Frontier pickup, and looks the part. It’s a 4-door, body-on-frame vehicle, available in 4×2 or 4×4 form with a choice of 2.4-liter 4-cylinder (2WD only) or 3.3-liter V6 engines. No leather, no wood, no navigation system except your map and compass — just the basics.

I enjoyed a week with a top-of-the-line Nissan Xterra SE 4×4. It worked fine around town and in traffic, and was not too big to park & easy to maneuver in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try it out in the mountains. It looks to be perfect for the job, and my mountain bike fits in the back easily even without the optional inside bike rack.

Appearance:

With its raised rear roofline, the Nissan Xterra looks like a pickup with a built-in camper shell. It has no pretensions to luxury, but does have a modern rugged-outdoors style to it. It shares the headlights, front bumper, hood, and front doors of the Frontier, and the rest of the body panels are similar. No one will mistake it for a luxury car, and it looks best when covered with dirt. The plastic-coated bumpers and grill add an aggressive look, as do the blister-style fender flares. The tubular running boards are convenient for access, and the tubular roof-rack looks ready for a safari run. A cargo-carrier at the front of the rack does need to be removed if the sunroof is to be used, however, which can become an annoyance.

2000 Nissan Xterra

2000 Nissan Xterra

Comfort:

The Nissan Xterra‘s interior can’t be hosed clean, but its synthetic materials look to be tolerant of hard, dirty use. It’s honest, functional, and very user-friendly. In SE trim, it’s not at all basic, with power with power windows, mirrors, and doorlocks (with remote entry). The climate control system provides a perfect quickly adjustable climate that’s comfortable for the passengers in no time, and a 6-speaker AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo entertains and sounds decent. Instruments are conveniently placed and readable; control knobs, buttons, and levers are large and well-marked. The front buckets are very comfortable and supportive, and the split-folding rear bench is mounted higher for visibility. The rear cushions can be removed in order to fold the seatback flat, if needed. Water landings, anyone? With the rear seat folded, the rear cargo area is long enough for a bicycle to fit with no issue  — no need to remove the front wheel. Back up front, attention is paid even to the small details. The cupholders not only are designed for cups with handles, they have removable rubber inserts to help clean out the inevitable mess. This is a vehicle for people who seriously use their vehicles on a regular basis.

Safety:

The Nissan Xterra has front and rear crumple zones, side-guard door beams, dual air bags, child-safety rear door locks, and three-point harnesses for outboard passengers.

Feel Of The Drive:

Despite its back-to-basics intent, the Xterra is not a bad vehicle in the civilized part of the world. It’s a truck, but a modern truck, so it has decent soundproofing, and a comfortable ride with very little turbulence. It doesn’t vibrate eyeballs out of sockets, even on poor surfaces. The antilock disc/drum brakes stop well. It does have a high center of gravity, so don’t expect it to corner like a 300ZX.

Performance:

With 170 horsepower and 200 lbs.-ft. of torque in a 4,000 lbs. vehicle, don’t expect acceleration like a 300ZX, either. But then, the Z-car is at a serious disadvantage in the dirt. The 3.3-liter V6- equipped Nissan Xterra does have very good low-speed power, important for pulling through mud, snow, or the everyday stoplight drag races. It’s at no disadvantage around town. Acceleration at higher speeds is more leisurely, but acceptable. The engine is quiet in normal operation, but makes its presence known under hard acceleration. This is a truck, and it is common knowledge that a truck is purposely not overly civilized. Trucks have engines. The 4-speed automatic transmission, however, is as smooth, quiet, and unobtrusive as one in a luxury car. Four-wheel drive is engaged by a simple lever on the floor — no electronic mechanisms to die at the wrong time.

In conclusion, back to the basics is not a bad idea at all if it’s back to the basics in a Nissan Xterra.

SPECIFICATIONS:

Base Price                            $ 25,549
Price As Tested                       $ 26,069
Engine Type                           single overhead cam 12-valve V6
Engine Size                           3.3 liters / 200 cu. in.
Horsepower                            170 @ 4,800
Torque (lb-ft)                        200 @ 2,800
Transmission                          4-speed electronically-controlled automatic
Wheelbase / Length                    104.3 in. / 178 in.
Curb Weight                           4,130 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower                 24.3
Fuel Capacity                         19.4 gal.
Fuel Requirement                      unleaded regular, 87 octane
Tires                                 265/70 R15 BF Goodrich Long Trail
Brakes, front/rear                    vented disc / drum
Suspension, front/rear                independent double wishbone /solid
                                      axle with leaf springs
Drivetrain front engine               on-demand four-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE:

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
city / highway / observed             15 / 19 / 17
0 to 60 mph                           10.4 sec
1/4 mile (E.T.)                       17.8 sec
Towing capacity                       5,000 lbs with automatic

2000 Nissan Maxima Review

MY 2000 NISSAN MAXIMA REVIEW:

FIRST IMPRESSION:
I saw flashes of it in their commercial before they brought it into the Nissan showrooms all across America. It looked sharper on TV than in real life, in my honest opinion. I was rather disappointed in the design of the rear portion of the car, as it takes some getting used to. The front looks a lot like the Altima, yet it had a much more aggressive and wider stance. The new Maxima really has a “Love it or Hate it” design.

With standard 17″ alloy wheels, the 2000 Nissan Maxima looks like it can seriously corner on a dime. I did a thorough personal inspection before being engulfed by the leather seats. The ‘new-car-smell’ was amazingly refreshing, but I wasn’t there to be won over by the Maxima in the first minute. It had to earn my liking…

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DATA & SPECS from Edmunds.com:

PERFORMANCE:
Acceleration (0-60 mph): 7.8 sec.
Braking Distance (60-0 mph): 126 ft.
Engine type: 3.0-liter, 24-valve V6
Horsepower: 222 hp @ 6400 RPM
Torque: 217 ft-lbs. @ 4000 RPM
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS:
Length: 190.5 in.
Width: 70.3 in.
Height: 56.5 in.
Weight: 3199 lbs.
Wheelbase: 108.3 in.

INTERIOR DIMENSIONS:
Front Headroom: 40.5 in.
Rear Headroom: 37.4 in.
Front Leg Room: 44.8 in.
Rear Leg Room: 36.2 in.
Luggage Capacity: 15 cu. ft.

MSRP: $23,650

INTERIOR FIT & FINISH:
Nissan, like many other Japanese auto manufacturers, has worked long and hard to perfect anything and everything dealing with the production of their line of cars. Just to pinpoint a part of what Nissan automobiles go through during production, there is an inspector at the end of the assembly line that checks for dust by rubbing his/her white gloves over certain areas of the car. If it doesn’t pass the “white glove” test, it is tagged with a marker and is dealt with later with extreme care. The rear seats are very comfortable. There’s sufficient leg and headroom, as well as enough space for three adults for the back (although two would be ideal). There is a full 15 cu. ft. of trunk space which is quite convenient and beneficial.

I noticed that the interior resembled that of finer luxury automobiles. It’s more common to see this in more and more models of cars these days. It doesn’t need to be a luxury car to be equipped with climate control or leather seats. The 200-watt Bose stereo sound system along with the other controls on the Maxima were very appropriately fit into the dash. The titanium-faced dials may take some time getting used to by some, but I thought it suited the sporty SE package quite well. The shifter is wrapped in leather (both automatic and manual transmissions), which is always great.

2000 Nissan Maxima

2000 Nissan Maxima

PERFORMANCE:
All 2000 Nissan Maxima‘s come with the standard 222 horsepower V6 engine, which is a substantial increase in output from the previous Maxima engine. Nonetheless, this engine runs silky-smooth and has plenty of power to bring to the table.

From acceleration to cruising speed, I just got the sense of driving a potential powerhouse. It was wonderful how much power this family sedan modestly had and I wanted so badly to see what this great car was capable of doing. Just like one of the commercials, I wanted to do one of those slow-motion skidding-sideways-while-trying-to-regain-control moves on a dusty flat. After a while, you feel that you can do just about anything in the 2000 Nissan Maxima. It inspires confidence in it’s driver… confidence going into the passing lane to pass a slow semi-truck, confidence in maneuvering out of an emergency situation safely, confidence in just about anything that would become necessary in any driving situation.

FEATURES:
The standard features either make or break a car. I believe that Nissan threw in just enough standard features to make the Nissan Maxima SE a good package… but I still can’t believe how car manufacturers still get away with offering floor mats as an option.

- 3.0 liter 24-valve V6 engine (222 HP)
- 5-speed manual transmission
- 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
- Cruise control
- Front airbags
- Sport-tuned suspension
- AC
- Power windows, locks, and mirrors
- Int wipers
- Titanium tined gauges
- AM/FM stereo cassette and CD player w/ 6 speakers
- Rear spoiler
- 17″ alloy wheels
- Fog lights
- Tinted tail lights, grille, and badging
- Remote keyless entry
- Center armrest/console
- 60/40 split folding rear seats

Optional Equipment: automatic transmission, glass moonroof, traction control system (only with automatic transmission), 200-watt Bose stereo system, side airbags, climate control, leather trim, floor mats (optional ), and splash guards.

FUEL ECONOMY:
Since this car is geared towards families, it needs to get fairly good gas mileage. With the amount of power the Maxima puts out, it gets an average of 21mpg (city) and 27mpg (highway) for manual transmission. The automatic transmission model gets an average of 20mpg (city) and 28mpg (highway). It has a fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons which makes this car very well suited for road trips.

SUMMARY:
For about $23,000 to $24,000 you can pick up a brand new, nicely equipped 2000 Nissan Maxima SE. This is probably the most powerful sedan on the market with a lot of nice amenities you can purchase for this price range. The Honda Accord V6 only offers 200 horsepower and the Toyota Camry V6 only puts out 194 horsepower.

The 2000 Nissan Maxima proves to be a smooth runner in the race for family sedans, once again. Yes, the price is slightly higher and the design takes longer to get used to, but once you drive one, you’ll take back all the bad things you’ve been saying about it and desperately want one for yourself. For the fathers out there who are pressured by their wives into selling their two-door passions away, look into the Nissan Maxima’s and you might find a modern family sedan that you could truly get used to as a replacement.

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