• (4.5) 28 reviews
  • MSRP: $1,543–$8,795
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 16-21
  • Engine: 170-hp, 3.3-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: 4x2
  • Seats: 5
2002 Nissan Xterra

Our Take on the Latest Model 2002 Nissan Xterra

2002 Nissan Xterra Reviews

Vehicle Overview
Following the lead of the Frontier pickup, a supercharged engine is now available in Nissan’s midsize sport utility vehicle, which has boldly proven its popularity with youthful buyers. The Tennessee-built Xterra is based on the Frontier pickup truck and was introduced for the 2000 model year as a basic, lower-cost running mate for the Nissan Pathfinder. During that calendar year, Nissan moved 88,578 of the assertively styled SUVs, according to Automotive News, handily passing up the Pathfinder to become Nissan’s best-selling sport utility model.

The 2002 model year brings a restyled front end with round headlights and a power-bulge hood, as well as a new instrument panel and enlarged glove box. A foot-operated parking brake replaces the original pull-type unit, which addresses many of the complaints about the awkwardness of the prior setup.

The Xterra’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 143 horsepower, and the 3.3-liter V-6 is rated at 170 hp, but that figure jumps to 210 hp in supercharged form. It’s the first supercharged engine in a compact SUV. Part-time four-wheel drive is available, and the interior contains brackets for bikes, tie-down hooks, and racks for kayaks and snowboards. The 2002 Xterra went on sale in August 2001.

Though the Xterra is traditional in overall appearance, it has its own highly noticeable styling touches, including flared fenders, a black grille and a higher roof than some rivals. Nissan starts with the Frontier pickup’s chassis and 104.3-inch wheelbase. The Xterra measures 178 inches long overall and stands 74 inches tall. A tubular aluminum roof rack holds 125 pounds, and tubular side step rails are installed. This adds another bold detail, even if it’s not so useful for riders who might really need help climbing aboard. There’s even a built-in basket for carrying up to 30 pounds of wet or dirty clothes, or whatever the owners care to haul.

Each Xterra has seats for five occupants. Split rear seatbacks fold down, and the back cushions are removable. Available accessories include mounting points for two mountain bikes, tie-down hooks, ceiling hooks and a first-aid kit. Storage pockets provide ample places for smaller items. With the seats folded down, cargo volume is 65.6 cubic feet.

Under the Hood
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine develops 143 horsepower, while the optional 3.3-liter V-6 produces 170 hp in regular form or 210 hp when supercharged. All engines are borrowed from the Frontier pickup, and they team with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. The four-cylinder comes only with two-wheel drive, while the V-6 is available with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. Nissan’s 4WD system has “shift-on-the-fly” capability at speeds of up to 25 mph, as well as true offroad capability. The Xterra’s towing capacity is 2,500 pounds with the four-cylinder engine and 5,000 pounds with the V-6. Antilock brakes are standard.

Driving Impressions
If only the Xterra weren’t so flamboyantly youth-oriented, it might deserve a recommendation for buyers of all ages and backgrounds. In performance, handling and even ride comfort, the Xterra scores strongly.


Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews


Average based on 28 reviews

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by Vegas Strong from LAS VEGAS, NV on October 21, 2017

This truck is absolutely gorgeous. Mint condition, runs awesome. Current Smog included, Recent Oil Change and Brakes. Clean Nevada Title.

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11 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2002 Nissan Xterra trim comparison will help you decide.

Nissan Xterra Articles

2002 Nissan Xterra Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports


There are currently 6 recalls for this car.

Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $5,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained


Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.


Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

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