New for 2014The 2014 Nissan Xterra adds new 16-inch wheels for the S and PRO-4X grades, standard Bluetooth connectivity on S and X trims, heated seats on PRO-4X models, and an upgraded navigation system with NissanConnect Apps smartphone integration.
OverviewThe Nissan Xterra is an off-road-ready five-passenger midsize SUV slotting below the seven-passenger Pathfinder and above the five-to-seven passenger Rogue. It is sold in X, S, and PRO-4X grades in rear- or four-wheel-drive configurations.
Vehicle SummaryThe 2014 Nissan Xterra is available with a 4.0-liter V-6 producing 265 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. It remains one of the most capable off-road SUVs on the market due to its truck-based architecture, generous 9.5 inches of ground clearance, available hill-descent control and hill-start assist, off-road tires, skid plates and electronic locking rear differential. Additionally, it drives smoothly on the pavement, making it refined and livable despite its truck-based underpinnings. However, fuel economy suffers, with the EPA rating rear-drive models at 18/22 mpg city/highway while opting for four-wheel-drive drops those numbers down to 15/20 mpg. Inside, the 2014 Xterra remains a utilitarian vehicle with a plastic-lined rear cargo compartment and seating for five persons. The rear bench and front passenger seat fold down to accommodate long items while a “channel system” is standard to tie down items, improving the cabin’s flexibility. Convenience features such as a navigation system with NissanConnect smartphone integration, Rockford Fosgate audio, and leather upholstery are available but only on the range-topping PRO-4X grade.
The Xterra has a three-star rollover safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars). In IIHS testing, it received a good rating on two out of four tests, earning an acceptable score for roof strength, and marginal for head restraints and seats (good is the highest possible score).
What We ThinkWith its off-road capabilities and flexible cabin, the Xterra is an ideal SUV for people with active lifestyles. In a 2010 review, we said that “it’s a simple, honest, 4x4 for people who still want that,” praising its ability to perform its function as an outdoorsy vehicle. Additionally, its on-road manners, while not as good as a crossover, is commendable with “better steering feel and body control” than most truck-based SUVs. We also noted in a 2005 review that the Xterra remains “old fashioned” because Nissan “retained its original concept” while refining the SUV as a vehicle for those with active lifestyles.
- Flexible cabin
- Off-road capabilities
- Rugged good looks
You Won’t Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Harsher ride compared to car-based crossovers
- Upgraded infotainment not available on X and S grades
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
- Toyota 4Runner
- Ford Explorer