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Nissan Xterra Review

The 2015 Nissan Xterra ranks 16 out of 19 Affordable Compact 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 2015 Nissan Xterra is ranked:

Test drivers praise the 2015 Nissan Xterra's excellent off-road ability, but they say that it has a rougher ride and lower-quality interior than many competitors.

The 2015 Nissan Xterra's standard V6 engine produces ample power for passing on the highway when it's mated to the optional six-speed manual transmission, reviewers say. They add that models with the standard five-speed automatic transmission have to work hard at high speed. The base 2015 Xterra gets an EPA-estimated 16/22 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class, but on par with the estimates of off-road rivals like the Jeep Wrangler. According to reviewers, the Nissan Xterra’s suspension is designed more for off-road performance than it is for comfort, so its ride can be a bit jarring. The Nissan Xterra’s handling isn’t very composed, and it displays some body lean in turns, they add. However, a few test drivers think the 2015 Xterra’s on-pavement ride quality is tolerable. Xterra PRO-4X models have lots of off-road features that reviewers agree make it capable of handling most kinds of terrain. 

Many reviewers are disappointed in the 2015 Xterra's cabin, which they note is full of hard plastics. Some say its interior is durable and fits the Xterra's rugged image. Critics say tall drivers will have difficulty getting comfortable, as the seating is low and there is no telescoping steering wheel. Test drivers find that the front and rear seats are not designed for comfort over long trips, but do provide sufficient head- and legroom. Still, most say that the dashboard controls and knobs are simple to use and easily accessible. The 2015 Xterra comes with a six-speaker stereo, cruise control and Bluetooth. Available features include a USB port, an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo system, a rearview camera and a NissanConnect infotainment system with navigation and smartphone app integration. With 65.7 cubic feet of cargo room, the 2015 Nissan Xterra has more cargo space than most SUVs in the class.

  • "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
  • "The 2015 Nissan Xterra is one of the last truly capable off-road SUVs. It's also a tolerable daily driver, but there are better choices if you don't plan to regularly exploit its ability in the dirt." -- Edmunds
  • “The 2015 Nissan Xterra makes a good alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, offering just as much off-road capability as the Jeep, but with the fixed roof and doors that make living in the city or suburbs more tolerable." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With its only real competition being the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Toyota FJ, the Xterra continues to sell well, catering to those who need their SUV to serve as both a daily driver and a weekend warrior." -- AutoTrader

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Other SUVs to Consider

The Jeep Wrangler comes standard with four-wheel drive, and test drivers regard it as one of the most capable off-road SUVs on the market. Additionally, Rubicon models add even more features for better off-road performance.

The Subaru Forester comes standard with all-wheel drive, and reviewers like its powerful optional turbocharged engine. The Forester also earns good fuel economy and has one of the largest cargo holds in the class.

Compare the Xterra, Wrangler and Forester »

Details: 2015 Nissan Xterra

The 2015 Nissan Xterra seats five and has standard rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is available. Powering the Xterra is a 4.0-liter V6 that is paired with either a standard five-speed automatic or an available six-speed manual transmission on four-wheel drive models. The Xterra comes in three trims: X, S and PRO-4X. The Xterra was last redesigned for the 2005 model year and sees few changes for 2015. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2015 and prior model years.

See 2015 Nissan Xterra specs »

Review Last Updated: 8/24/15

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