2006 Nissan Xterra

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$20,050

starting MSRP

2006 Nissan Xterra

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Excellent drivetrains
  • Towing capacity
  • Optional stability system
  • Optional side-impact and side-curtain airbags

The bad:

  • Standard V-6 raises price
  • Stability system delayed for manual transmission
  • So-so fuel economy
  • No moonroof option
  • Challenging ingress
  • Old-style seat folding

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Nissan Xterra trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • RWD or 4WD
  • Standard ABS
  • Folding front passenger seat
  • Easy-to-clean cargo surface
  • Upscale offroad features

2006 Nissan Xterra review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

What is so special about the Nissan Xterra sport-utility vehicle? With dozens of SUVs on the market, why was the 2006 Xterra named last fall as Motor Trend magazine’s SUV of the Year, becoming the first repeat winner of the 8-year-old award?

My take is this: It’s a true SUV.

And by that I mean the Xterra is a sport-ute designed to dig into the mud off-road and roll over fallen logs, shallow streams and boulders of all sizes.

Isn’t that what SUVs are truly meant to do when not passing time on smooth highway surfaces? Yes, according to Motor Trend’s hard-driving SUV testers and yours truly. For rugged duty off the paved path, Xterra looks the part. It has a high-riding, bold front-grille presence that might well stare down a grizzly bear on the trail. Such intimidating ambience is not part of the visual package in, say, a Toyota RAV4.

The Xterra’s flared fenders, sturdy side steps and prominent roof rack (with a nifty latchable lid built in) all but scream off-road warrior.

If you really want to get away from it all — with plenty of gear packed in the back or atop the vehicle — and you don’t mind some rolling and bumping to reach that nobody-around-for-miles outdoor spot, it’d be hard to find a better vehicle than the Xterra.

That’s especially true with the tested 2006 SE-V6 4X4, the top-of-the-line among eight Xterra trim levels. Yet for all its features, the starting price of $27,650 is comparatively reasonable.

Off-road, the SE-V6 with four-wheel-drive and a truck-based platform (fully boxed, all-steel ladder frame) is a trail-tamer par excellence. I could almost feel the Xterra mocking me on our mild off-road ramble… “C’mon! Is that all you got?”

Yes, it is. A mix of behind-the-wheel cowardice and a major reluctance to put dents in a nearly $30,000 Xterra tester kept me off the hard-core off-road trails. But based on my experience, the Xterra would have eaten those up with equal aplomb.

On the pavement, the ride was not what I’d call silky smooth, but certainly smooth enough to make driver and passengers comfortable. The 4-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine with 265 horsepower and 284 foot-pounds of torque was responsive in all conditions. It was particularly gutsy at higher revs, when asked for some extra juice to pass other vehicles.

Nailing the accelerator for near-maximum power can be a noisy experience, so you might need to continue conversations with back-seat passengers after you complete your pass.

For all its macho exterior presence, the tested Xterra was downright soft and luxurious inside.

Standard interior features included a 380-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system (matched to a six-disc CD changer, nine speakers and MP3 capability), power windows/doors/exterior mirrors, leather-wrapped steering wheel, under-floor cargo storage area, dual cupholders front and rear, overhead sunglasses holder, titanium-accented gauge trim and an eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjusters.

Roughing it never felt so good.

Extras on the tester included XM Satellite Radio ($350), body side molding ($110), carpeted floor mats ($110) and a supplemental air bag package that included roof-mounted air bags for protection in side impacts or rollovers and an extra front seat-mounted, side-impact air bag ($700).

That extra bit of safety was on top of a pretty good standard safety package — dual-stage front air bags, active head restraints, front/rear crumple zones and pipe-style steel beams in the side doors.

With seats folded, Xterra’s cargo space is a healthy 65.7 cubic feet. For further convenience, cushions in the 60/40-split rear seating area can be removed.

Rear seats sit a little higher than those in front, something Nissan calls “rear stadium seating,” but the effect is barely noticeable. Ditto on the raised roofline to accompany the higher-riding rear seats. A cargo net and a first aid kit also were part of the package in the tested Xterra.

Gas mileage is a not-so-hot 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the open road.

Bumper to bumper, the Xterra is worthy of its awards. It covers all the bases.

If you’re willing to sacrifice a little highway smoothness in order to tackle some dicey off-road terrain, Xterra is a likely vehicle choice. But if your idea of off-road is the drive-through at Dairy Queen, you might want to look at something different.

NISSAN XTERRA AT A GLANCE
Make/model: 2006 Nissan Xterra SE-V6 4X4

Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door, four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle

Base price: $27,650 (as tested, $29,525)

Engine: 4-liter V-6 with 265 horsepower at 5,600 revolutions per minute and 284 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm

EPA fuel economy: 16 miles per gallon city; 21 mpg highway

Transmission: Five-speed automatic with overdrive and special features

Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion with speed-sensitive feature

Brakes: Power-assisted, vented discs on front and rear (with anti-lock and other braking-enhancement features)

Suspension: Independent, double-wishbone on front; rigid leaf on rear

Fuel tank: 21.1 gallons

Passenger volume: 99.8 cubic feet

Maximum cargo volume: 65.7 cubic feet

Curb weight: 4,402 pounds

Track: 61.8 inches on front and rear

Height: 74.9 inches

Length: 178.7 inches

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches

Width: 72.8 inches

Towing capacity: 5,000 pounds

Tires: P265/65R17 all-season/multi-surface radials

Final assembly point: Smyrna, Tenn.

About the writer:
The Bee’s Mark Glover can be reached at (916) 321-1184 or mglover@sacbee.com.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 3.8
  • Performance 4.5
  • Value for the money 4.3
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.1

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

No Complaints.

This car is one of the best I've seen on the road. I currently own a 2006 at 250k miles and it's still running strong without any major problems. This is an incredible vehicle that not many appreciate which is saddening. It's mainly for offroading but it can also be used for day to day trips. Looks extremely nice on the outside, even better than the Pathfinder Armada.

3.0

Complete Joke

Would be an otherwise great car if something extremely important didn’t brake every other day and cause it to be un-drivable for weeks on end. If it’s not the transmission almost being lost, it’s the radiator going bad and pumping a antifreeze-transmission fluid mix through my whole system, and if it’s not that it’s my brake pedal going out, making it completely un-drivable for nearly a month. Can’t drive it without constant fear of something braking. For only having 103 000 miles on it(got it with 102 000 miles, I barely get to drive the thing), this is a complete joke. If you love dumping more money repairing a xxx unreliable junker then you’d spend on the payments itself, then maybe I’d recommend getting an xterra. Ps. Also gets pretty bad gas mileage compared to similar SUVs.

4.7

Critical Review

SE 4x4 model. I've owned the Xterra for 4 years. I bought it with a blown transmission, due to the coolant/tranny fluid intermix factory default on the automatics from2005-2010. It was not advertised as having any issues but I caught it before buying it. This is only for automatics. $3600 at AAMCO with 3 year warranty plus the radiator. THE GOOD: That said, this thing has been awesome! It has good power, good street manors, drives well in the snow (4x4), looks good, and I have done a fair amount of off roading and it has impressed me and my friends. Anything I've had to fix has been super easy compared to prior vehicles I've owned. There are a fair amount of cheap upgrades available and this is a cheaper and more unique alternative to a Jeep Wrangler 4 door. with the seats folded flat it has enough room for most things you need to hall. Also this thing will fit 33" tires with stock suspension but I would stick with 32" if you don't want to deal with getting them to fit or a lift. The factory roof rack can come in handy. It can tow a fair amount of weight but I'd recommend air lift if that's your plan. You can pack all your stuff between the roof rack, room inside and strapping on a cargo carrier to the tow hitch. The Rockford Fosgate stereo is awesome! THE BAD: Transmission will intermix with coolant and blow auto transmission if the radiator is not upgraded (matter of time). It's suspension doesn't last real long so tasteful upgrades have been a major reason I love this thing off-road (Bilstein 5100 shocks) OME add a leaf. The leaf springs will weaken and need replaced every few years and aren't great for towing if not upgraded. The gas mileage has been 17 in the summer, 16 in the winter with 50/50 mixed driving. 33" MT tires and rims have brought this to 14.6 with the same driving. Brakes are a bit squishy and worth upgrading also. The back seat is high for kids and a dog's, and difficult getting kids into carseats. OVERALL: outside of the transmission issue, this vehicle would have been good without any upgrades I listed. It's reliable, no engine issues and minimal maintenance costs. It's safe on the road and can drive well in all weather conditions. If you have a little money you want to put into upgrades you can really customize it and make it great!

See all 40 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Nissan
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
36 months/36,000 miles
Corrosion
60 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
60 months/60,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
6 years/less than 80,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
N/A
Powertrain
84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)
Dealer certification required
167-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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