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2015 Nissan Xterra

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/25/2015

New for 2015

The 2015 Nissan Xterra gains a new exterior color and a standard NissanConnect infotainment system in the S grade.

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Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is a five-passenger SUV sold in three grades and in rear- or four-wheel drive configurations. It is one of the few off-road capable, truck-based SUVs left on the market along with the Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler.

Overview

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 rated at 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque and paired to either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is not the Xterra's strong suite with rear-drive models rated at 16/22 mpg city/highway and four-wheel drive models at 15/20 mpg. Off-road is where the 2015 Xterra shines with a chassis tuned for tackling tough unpaved roads that the majority of car-based crossovers can't while maintaining good handling and ride quality on pavement. While its four-wheel-drive system is not the most sophisticated, it remains off-road worthy because of the way it allows the SUV to excel on and off pavement.

Inside the 2015 Xterra, cabin quality is geared towards usability with a conservative interior design that "is fairly uninspired." Materials are low rent and flimsy particularly the cheap-feeling Nissan truck steering wheel "with its dollar store switch gear." Storage and cargo carrying capacity is good with up to 65.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. However, available tech features are limited with NissanConnect with navigation and smartphone integration only available in the Pro-4X variant.

The 2015 Nissan Xterra has a three-star rollover safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Nissan Xterra remains an excellent choice for buyers looking for an off-road-ready SUV that also handles well on pavement. In a 2008 Comparison Test that the Xterra won, we said that its "no-frills approach" makes it a stand out, offering an excellent four-wheel drive system, and a good chassis that makes it excellent off-road and "fun to toss around" at highway speeds. It won Motor Trend's SUV of the Year award in 2006 for offering excellent all-around capability that allows it to do everything very well including perform "with the confidence of a crossover" on-road. However, the SUV is showing its age particularly its interior, which has a conservative design, low-quality plastics, and lack of tech and connectivity options. Additionally, the 4.0-liter V-6, while an excellent engine, is looking dated with poor fuel economy ratings that place it at the bottom when compared to some of its competitors.

You'll Like

  • Good balance of on- and off-road performance
  • Excellent four-wheel-drive system
  • Generous cargo space

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Low quality cabin plastics
  • Navigation and smartphone integration only available on top trim

Key Competitors

  • Dodge Durango
  • Toyota 4Runner
  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
  • Ford Explorer

Rating

3 star

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