Nissan's truck-based Xterra is geared toward the young and/or active buyer — or those who want to appear that way. A standard 4.0-liter V-6 drives the rear or all four wheels. Unlike some SUVs, it's a truly capable off-roader, with an available Off Road edition. The other trim levels are X, S and SE. Its competitors include the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.
The 2008 model year brings modest changes such as new paint colors, a new wheel finish and Bluetooth mobile phone capability.
The Xterra's styling is an evolution of the original's, introduced in 2000, and is defined by its standard tubular roof rack and stepped roofline. The roof rack features a latchable box for gear. Between the large hood and the integrated front bumper is a grille with angled bars that's similar to other SUVs in Nissan's lineup. Running boards are optional.
All 4WD models have mudguards, and the highest, SE, trim level adds bodyside moldings. Wheel sizes are limited to 16 or 17 inches in diameter. New paint colors for 2008 include Red Alert and Sandstone.
Five occupants fit inside the Xterra. For the 2008 model year, power windows, locks and mirrors are newly standard, as are remote keyless entry, cruise control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an exterior temperature gauge and compass.
A double-deck glove box is standard. The Xterra's cargo hatch features an easy-to-clean floor with an adjustable tie-down channel system and 10 utility hooks. Audiophiles can enjoy a premium 300-watt Rockford-Fosgate stereo with nine speakers, MP3 capability and steering-wheel controls. Satellite radio is optional.
An optional fold-down front passenger seatback for hauling long items can accompany the SUV's standard 60/40-split folding rear seat.
The Off Road and SE trim levels feature a leather-wrapped steering wheel, but leather seats aren't available on the Xterra.
Under the Hood
Nissan's 4.0-liter V-6 develops 265 horsepower and 284 pounds-feet of torque. The engine teams with either a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. Available part-time four-wheel drive includes Automatic, 4-High and 4-Low modes.
The Xterra has a double-wishbone front suspension and a rigid axle in back.
The Xterra hasn't been crash-tested by our preferred source but has earned four out of five stars in the government's frontal crash test. It carries a three-star rollover rating, which is as poor as you'll find among SUVs.
Standard all-disc antilock brakes have electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags are optional.
The Xterra is a truck-based SUV and must be driven like one — though the ride quality is better over pavement disruptions than earlier SUV generations were. The 4.0-liter V-6 is simply a great and gutsy engine. It combines with the manual transmission's extra gear to create a quick launch. The conventional center console provides for a short gearshift, especially when compared to the early Xterra's floor-mounted lever. There are plenty of gear choices no matter the task at hand.
The automatic also is impressive. There's nothing trucklike about the way it shifts in normal driving, and it exhibits negligible lag. The four-wheel-drive system is part-time, which means it must be activated when needed and can't be used on dry pavement without incurring damage.
The Xterra demands more work to get into than do car-based competitors. The tubular step rails, standard on the SE and optional on the S, help people of any size. The driver's seat is adjustable via two knobs on the side of the cushion. The steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope. As in most SUVs, especially the higher ones, rear visibility is poor. The roof rack's gear basket, though unique, prohibits a moonroof. The backseat-folding procedure is pretty old; the seat cushions must be flipped forward and the head restraints removed before the backrests will fold flat.
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Nissan Xterra
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.