January 11, 2019
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!