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Old 05-18-2019, 10:32 PM   #1
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Nissan Xterra

After much research and shopping we anticipate ordering an Escape 19' in the very near future. We are hoping to use our 2012 Nissan Xterra as our tow vehicle. Does anyone have experience with this setup or know someone that uses a similar setup? The vehicle is rated for 5,000 pound towing capacity and it does have the factory tow package. Horsepower is 261 and torque 281. If all above is adequate are there any suggestions as to upgrades needed for towing with this vehicle such as suspension, transmission cooler, etc. As rookies we welcome any and all advice.
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Old 05-19-2019, 01:04 AM   #2
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Welcome Ron, to our little fiberglass world. Escape Trailers also offers some w/d hitches which they can install at pick up. It al depends on your Xterra, whether the suspension in the rear drops too much and if your headlights need lowering and keeping the trailer and tow vehicle level while towing makes a more enjoyable experience. There are hitch places in Chilliwack that can install leveling items also.
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Old 05-20-2019, 06:06 AM   #3
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I don't have an Xtera but a 2012 Pathfinder and it has a 6,000 lb tow capacity, we tow a 2014 Escape 21' with it. I love the way it tows and we are currently not using a WDH but am considering one just because. Yes there is a little drop down in the back but not to severe. We bought our Grover last September and probably towed it about 4,000 miles already and really think the dual wheel axle makes a big difference it how it tows,
Not sure what I will do next though, my Pathfinder has 215,000 miles on it and not a fan of the models after 2012 because I don't like the rounded body style and smaller as well.

I suggest try it and if need be try and find a Pathfinder.

Enjoy the journey.

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Old 05-20-2019, 09:04 AM   #4
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At the end of the month I am picking up my Escape 19 and planning on hauling it back to New Mexico with my 2015 Xterra (Pro4X trim). I've been repeatedly told that I shouldn't have any trouble--and with 5000 lb. tow capacity, and a trailer with a dry weight of 3000 lb and fully optioned and loaded weight around 4000 lb. max, I'm well within the parameters. One thing I did was order the weight distributing hitch from ETI, since I'm a newbie to towing, and it appeared to me that, without the WDH the tongue weights were marginal, but with it I was well within the capacity limits.

FWIW, in some of the ETI marketing literature the vehicle shown towing the Escape 19 is a Nissan Xterra. And an Xterra is basically a Frontier pickup with a different skin, and the Frontier/Tacoma/Colorado size pickups are pretty commonly used to tow light recreational trailers.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:42 AM   #5
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FWIW: I had 2006 Xterra and it really rode rough with the short wheelbase and I traded it for a 2007 long wheelbase Frontier. There was no comparison in the ride. The Frontier rode more like a car. Be aware the 4 dr. Frontier with long bed is just as long as a full size pick up. Both towed well and had plenty of power. Both had I think 4 speed automatics which were always noticeably shifting a lot. The new 8-10 speed transmissions are the way to go for towing. I'm not sure what transmission Nissan is using now.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
At the end of the month I am picking up my Escape 19 and planning on hauling it back to New Mexico with my 2015 Xterra (Pro4X trim). I've been repeatedly told that I shouldn't have any trouble--and with 5000 lb. tow capacity, and a trailer with a dry weight of 3000 lb and fully optioned and loaded weight around 4000 lb. max, I'm well within the parameters. One thing I did was order the weight distributing hitch from ETI, since I'm a newbie to towing, and it appeared to me that, without the WDH the tongue weights were marginal, but with it I was well within the capacity limits.

FWIW, in some of the ETI marketing literature the vehicle shown towing the Escape 19 is a Nissan Xterra. And an Xterra is basically a Frontier pickup with a different skin, and the Frontier/Tacoma/Colorado size pickups are pretty commonly used to tow light recreational trailers.
Congratulations on your new Escape! I'd love to hear your towing review once you get it back home; power, handling, braking, etc.
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Old 05-20-2019, 11:18 AM   #7
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Pay close attention to the sticker on the inside door, driver side. It lists all the weight ratings for your specific vehicle. This includes factory installed options but not any additions you made such as bed liner, weight distribution hitches etc. The key number, beside the tow rating, is the gross combined weight rating. To get an idea of what others using your model of trailer have experienced for trailer weights, search for Trailer Weights in the Real World. There is a table of models and you can get an idea by averaging the samples. Once you are outfitted for hauling it is a good idea to weight your rig, including tow.

Some models of vehicles end up having very low capacity for cargo, you have to do some research and math to determine that you stay below the capacities.
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratos175 View Post
I don't have an Xtera but a 2012 Pathfinder...
I'll just note that the Xterra and that generation of Pathfinder and closely related, but where they are very different are the wheelbase and the rear suspension... both of which should make a substantial difference to ride and towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seneca View Post
And an Xterra is basically a Frontier pickup with a different skin, and the Frontier/Tacoma/Colorado size pickups are pretty commonly used to tow light recreational trailers.
True, while the Titan, Frontier, Armada (up to 2016), QX65 (up to 2010), Pathfinder (2005-2012), and Xterra are all related - designed with the "F-Alpha" platform - the models which are closest (having the most dimensions, design details, and actual components in common) are the Frontier and Xterra. The difference in wheelbase between the Frontier and Xterra is significant, though, to towing, as Eddie notes:
Quote:
Originally Posted by elongest View Post
FWIW: I had 2006 Xterra and it really rode rough with the short wheelbase and I traded it for a 2007 long wheelbase Frontier. There was no comparison in the ride. The Frontier rode more like a car.
About transmissions:
Quote:
Originally Posted by elongest View Post
Both had I think 4 speed automatics which were always noticeably shifting a lot. The new 8-10 speed transmissions are the way to go for towing. I'm not sure what transmission Nissan is using now.
While Nissan is using modern transmissions in other models, including a 7-speed in the Titan, the North American market Frontier hasn't seen any updates for a while, and still gets only a 5-speed. The Xterra never got past the 5-speed, either.

7 to 9 "speeds" (gear ratios) are now normal for automatic transmissions. As far as I know, Ford and GM have the only 10-speed, which appears to be a good design.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:44 AM   #9
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Romar55--

You asked for a towing report, and here it is:

Bottom line--the Nissan Xterra is a completely satisfactory tow vehicle for a current generation Escape 19.

Basis for that conclusion--Picked up my Escape 19 in Sumas, WA on the last day of May, and spent the next 10 days or so making my way from there to Santa Fe, NM, towing with a 2015 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X. The trip involved crossing the Cascades, then traveling through the Northern Rockies, the Great Basin and the Southern Rockies. Crossed the Continental Divide 3 times. From about Day 3 forward I was 'at elevation' (I started, basically at sea level (Puget Sound) and ended at 7,000 ft. (Santa Fe)). I was on a mixture of interstates, federal and state secondary highways and scenic byways.

In terms of handling, power, comfort, braking, I had no complaints. With the brake controller properly set, the trailer never pushed me, or anything like that, although your stopping distances are greater, or course. The Xterra rode about the way it always does--it never was a German sports sedan. With the EZ 2 WDH and sway bars, the trailer and the tow vehicle moved as a unit, so the handling was fine. As a newbie to towing, I kept my speed down (generally), which probably helped deal with cross winds and passing tractor trailers. The drive train provided sufficient power, but, again, I wasn't trying to set any speed records.

My observed gas mileage was off about 20-25% from what I average when I'm not towing (that's a best guess, I wasn't obsessive about recording it). Oh, and, learning to back the thing up is quite humbling, but that had more to do with yrs. truly than the tow vehicle.

So, you can cross off 'tow vehicle adequacy' from your list of concerns before you pull the trigger on your new Escape 19.

Now, there is a second conversation going on in this thread, about tow vehicles more generally. The Xterra is a classic mid-size SUV built on a light truck frame. It's a jack of all trades and master of none. Are there better cargo carriers? Of course. Are there better off road toys? Yes. Are there better tow vehicles? Yep. But the Xterra covers all those bases. Today, in 2019, a used, out of production, SUV, on a short wheelbase and with a 15 year old drivetrain, probably wouldn't be anybody's first choice for a tow vehicle. But if you've got one, it'll get the job done with the Escape 19.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:46 AM   #10
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Exterras

You wrote a good report with genuine first hand knowledge. I like your conclusion and your endorsement of the capability of the Exterra. Good Job
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Old 06-13-2019, 12:21 PM   #11
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Seneca,

Thank you for your review it makes us feel much better about towing with our Xterra. We have ordered the 19’ Escape and will be picking it up in early September.

The ride of the Xterra has never been luxurious but has never bothered us either, if similar while towing that’s fine. Power, braking and sway control were our real concerns, your “good” rating works for our daily driver/tow vehicle requirements. As for backing up the rig I am now prepared to be humbled; rookie here!

Again, thank you for taking the time to write a full review on your towing experiences.
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