The Xterra, aimed at younger, more active buyers, try’s to blend style, toughness, and both on and off road performance. It won Motor Trends Sport/Utility Vehicle of the year in its first model year. Now in its 6th year of generation 3 continues that legacy into the new decade. It shares some parts with the Titan, the Armada, and the Pathfinder. These help contribute to the real off road prowess. Not just a vehicle for those who want to look like they’ve seen the outdoors, it will actually take you there. The Xterra is a viable rival to such rugged off roaders at the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota FJ Cruiser. With its tough body on frame construction and live rear axle, little has changed since the Xterra won its second Motor Trend Sport/Utility vehicle title in 2006.
The Xterra is powered by a 265 HP 4.0 liter V-6 mated to either a 5 speed automatic transmission or a six speed manual. The Xterra may not be the smoothest riding or most plush SUV on the market, but for someone who will be spending some of their time off road further than a Starbucks parking lot, this model should be given a day in court before signing on the dotted line.
Engine: 4.0L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Models: X, S, Off-Road, SE
For 2010 the Xterra sees minor changes to a model line that includes X, S, Off-Road, and SE models, with all but the Off-Road available with two-wheel drive. Changes for the new model year include an X Gear Package — available on S and SE — which includes fog lamps, roof rack crossbars, a gear basket, first aid kit, and cargo net, with the last two exclusive to the SE.
Xterra’s classic styling cues include a built-in roof rack with closable storage, rear side steps for roof access, and available roof-mounted fog lamps. Oversized fender flares and high-mounted rear door handles integrated into the C-pillars round out the stout look.
With a built-in first-aid kit, tie-down channel system, and “easy clean” cargo area with ten cargo hooks, the Xterra treats further with keyless entry, tilt steering column, under-floor cargo storage, a 60/40-split rear seat, and available leather trim.
Every Xterra utilizes a 4.0-liter V-6 that delivers 261 horsepower. A six-speed manual is standard on X and Off-Road models, with a five-speed automatic fitted to the S and SE. A front control-arm/rear live-axle suspension underpins Xterra, with towing capacity coming in at 6000 pounds. In addition to a skid plate for the radiator, the Off-Road gets protection for the oil pan, fuel tank, and transfer case.
Nissan equips every Xterra with front, front-side, and side curtain airbags, the latter for outboard occupants in both rows. The Xterra also receives front-seat active head restraints, stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
4WD (manual): 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway
4WD (automatic): 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway
RWD (manual): 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway
RWD (automatic): 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
- Available 4WD
- Available manual transmission
- Rugged looks
- Good power
- Bouncy ride
- Gas mileage
Good all around, great off-road
- Jeep Wrangler
- Land Rover LR2
- Toyota FJ Cruiser