October 27, 2023 | Allison Robertson

Review: Nissan Xterra

Nissan Xterra: Rugged and Ready for Adventure


The Nissan Xterra, renowned for its ruggedness and off-road prowess, has etched an indelible mark in the SUV segment. 

Marketed as an adventure-ready vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts, this SUV combines utility with performance. 

Let's dig deep into its characteristics, exploring everything from its powerful engine to its purposeful interior.

Engine & Performance

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At the heart of the Xterra is a potent V6 engine, which provides a solid balance of power and efficiency. 

Particularly in its later models, the 4.0-liter V6 engine churns out 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. This ensures ample power on both highways and trailheads. 

With a well-tuned 5-speed automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual for those who prefer more control), the Xterra promises a responsive driving experience, particularly when tackling challenging terrains.

Off-Road Capability

Nissan XterraNissan

The Xterra's off-road capability is undeniably one of its primary selling points. With a robust ladder-frame construction, high ground clearance, and a four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing, it is designed to take on rough trails with ease. 

Models equipped with the PRO-4X trim level further enhance the off-road experience with features like hill descent control, hill start assist, and off-road tires.

Exterior Design

Nissan XterraNissan

The design of the Xterra stands out with its pronounced fender flares, roof rack with an integrated gear box, and a rear bumper step. 

These elements not only add to its rugged aesthetics but also serve practical functions, making outdoor activities like biking and kayaking more accessible.


Interior and Comfort

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Inside, the Xterra is purposefully designed for utility. Water-resistant seat fabric, easy-to-clean surfaces, and an abundance of cargo space cater to those with an active lifestyle. 

The rear seats can be folded flat to accommodate larger gear, and there are multiple storage nooks for added convenience. 

Though it might lack some of the plush finishes seen in more luxury-oriented SUVs, the Xterra's interior is well-suited for its target audience.

Infotainment and Connectivity

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The Xterra's infotainment system is straightforward and user-friendly. Features like a Rockford Fosgate audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and satellite radio ensure passengers remain entertained and connected during their adventures.


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Nissan equipped the Xterra with various safety features, including antilock disc brakes, stability control, and front-seat side airbags. 

Additionally, side curtain airbags offer protection for both the front and rear outboard passengers. 

The SUV's robust build and safety suite promise peace of mind, whether on busy city roads or isolated mountain trails.

Final Thoughts

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The Nissan Xterra remains a compelling choice for those who prioritize off-road adventures and practical utility over luxury and refinement. It's a testament to Nissan's commitment to offering a vehicle that seamlessly blends performance with purposeful design. 

In an age where SUVs often lean towards urban aesthetics, the Xterra proudly stands out as a beacon for the trailblazers and outdoor enthusiasts.