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#16

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $23,390 - $31,370
Invoice: $22,415 - $29,718
MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
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Nissan Xterra Review

The 2014 Nissan Xterra ranks 16 out of 23 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Nissan Xterra, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Nissan Xterra is ranked:

Test drivers say the 2014 Nissan Xterra lacks the ride comfort and interior refinement that most rivals have, but they like its great off-roading capability and strong V6 engine.

The Xterra is powered by a V6 engine that automotive critics say makes ample power. Depending on the trim level, a five-speed automatic transmission or six-speed manual transmission is available. Reviewers report that the automatic is responsive, but note that the manual transmission’s shifter and clutch are not very refined. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 16/22 mpg city/highway, which is on par for a truck-based off-road SUV, but somewhat low compared with what many crossover SUVs get. Reviewers write that the Nissan Xterra has great off-road capability. However, some note that its high center of gravity is a detriment to handling, and the Xterra has a harsher ride than that of the car-based SUVs that now dominate the class. Some reviewers mention that the steering feels a bit too slow, but they appreciate that a small turning circle makes the Xterra easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

Auto writers note that the 2014 Nissan Xterra's cabin looks somewhat dated and is constructed with lots of hard plastics. However, some don't mind, and mention that the plastics are easy to keep clean and match the Xterra's rugged image. The 2014 Xterra seats five, and some test drivers wish the front seats had more side bolstering. Critics say there is sufficient space in the rear seats, though some complain that narrow rear door openings make it difficult to get into the back seat. The Xterra's cargo space is on par for the class, and some reviewers appreciate that the front passenger seat folds down to accommodate longer cargo items. Test drivers like that the Xterra's climate and audio system controls are simple to use and mounted within easy reach. A six-speaker stereo system, Bluetooth and an auxiliary jack are standard. Options include a USB input, an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo system, a NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation and smartphone app integration, satellite radio and a backup camera.

  • "When it comes to epic off-road adventuring, true enthusiasts will always pick the better-equipped Jeep Wrangler Rubicon over the Xterra. Those seeking a more comfortable ride with modest off-road potential might be happier in a Subaru Forester or Outback." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Nissan Xterra is a holdover from the days when SUVs were tough, truck-based machines that backed up their rugged looks with genuine off-roading abilities. It can't match the refinement or fuel economy of more modern, car-based crossovers, but this compact ute's spacious interior, willing engine and all-terrain capabilities should prove endearing for buyers more interested in hitting the trails than heading to the mall." -- Left Lane News
  • "Even as most consumers move away from old-school truck-based SUVs, there's still a place for rugged go-anywhere models like the 2013 Nissan Xterra. While it's true that the midsize Xterra isn't the most refined vehicle on the road, there's no denying its suitability for its intended purpose." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Its off-road orientation accounts for subpar ride comfort, and its backwoods-ready avoidance of luxury touches makes it seem relatively unrefined. Indeed, its main appeal is that rugged demeanor, cargo versatility, and youthful attitude." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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Other SUVs to Consider

The Jeep Wrangler is regarded by auto journalists as one of the most capable off-road SUVs on the market. It comes standard with four-wheel drive and is available in both two-door and four-door body styles, and reviewers say that it has an attractive interior design.

The Subaru Forester isn't as capable off-road as the Xterra, but reviewers say it has a comfortable, refined highway ride, and it comes standard with all-wheel drive. Additionally, the Forester gets better fuel economy and has more overall cargo space than the Xterra.

Compare the Xterra, Wrangler and Forester »

Details: 2014 Nissan Xterra

The 2014 Nissan Xterra seats five, and has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive. Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 paired that is paired with either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The Xterra comes in three trims: X, S and PRO-4X. The Xterra was last redesigned for the 2005 model year and has undergone few changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2014 and prior model years.

See full 2014 Nissan Xterra specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/19/14

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