• Nissan may cancel Xterra SUV; decision expected soon
  • The Xterra's development costs are high
  • Don't rush to dealers yet -- or drop the Xterra from your shopping list

The Nissan Xterra may not be long for this world. A Nissan official recently admitted the Xterra could soon be canceled, noting the truck-based SUV's poor fuel economy and high development costs.

According to Pierre Loing, Nissan America's vice president of product planning, a decision on the Xterra's fate will be made within the "next six months to a year." The brand is debating whether to redesign the SUV, which went on sale in its current form for the 2005 model year.

Interestingly, Loing noted it isn't slow sales that may shelve the Xterra. The SUV faces high development costs largely because it's only sold in North America, meaning costs can't be spread out over other markets. Plus, shoppers are turning their attention toward crossovers that return better fuel economy than the body-on-frame Xterra.

So where does that leave shoppers? If you like the Xterra, we wouldn't run out and buy one just yet. Nissan may still decide to replace the SUV, which means the Xterra could last for years to come. And even if the Xterra is canceled, 2013 models are likely to remain at dealers for months before production ends.

We also wouldn't recommend crossing the Xterra off your shopping list just because it may be canceled. While cancellation often hurts vehicle resale values, the Xterra benefits from strong residuals. Sure, resale may not be as high as competitors such as the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota FJ Cruiser, but we don't expect values to plummet just because the Xterra is removed from the market.

Shoppers who choose the Xterra will find an off-road-ready SUV with standard V6 power and seating for five. Rear-wheel drive is standard, as is a 6-speed manual transmission; 4-wheel drive and a 5-speed automatic are optional. Priced from around $24,000 with shipping, the Xterra has few rivals aside from the Wrangler and FJ Cruiser.

What it means to you: If you're interested in a new Nissan Xterra, there's no need to rush to the dealer right away -- but be prepared to make your move soon if Nissan decides to cancel the SUV.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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