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Not a bad SUV for the right type of buyer...

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 7/10/2015 AJ

... good value overall. The 2015 Xterra is more or less unchanged from the previous years. I purchased a brand new Pro-4X in the Night Armour color with the cloth seats. Several aspects of the Xterra attracted me to it in the first place. VALUE: I paid in the low to mid 30's for a relatively powerful 6 Cylinder SUV with 4 wheel drive, off road capability, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats, and a cool overall look. Granted the car hasn't been redesigned in quite a while but it still looks good. I specifically enjoyed that this is among a small group of cars that you can get heated seats on cloth seats. That makes it nice and cozy in the winter without the experience of hot leather in the summer. INTERIOR/TEHCNOLOGY: Inside, the Xterra offers a very easy to read and operate instrument panel. The infotainment system is basic but it never freezes or gets stuck. The Bluetooth operation is simple and intuitive. The climate and audio controls are easy to use with simple but quality dials. Personally, I love technology, but new cars that have complicated screens have gotten too intricate and they take my attention from the road. The Xterra's technology gives you what you need without the unnecessary complication. The Rockford Fosgate sound system (optional) is one of the best stock sound systems I've ever heard. The heating and air conditioning unit works great in all types of weather. The "MAX A/C" option works tremendously in hot weather. The cargo room is great and there are plenty of storage areas found throughout the cabin. The front seats are comfortable but not very big. The back seat is even tighter with difficult ingress and egress. While all of the switches and electronics work well, the materials of the interior are very much sub-par. I have already had several squeaks and rattles develop in a car with less than 9,000 miles, this is unacceptable. If Nissan had put a little more time and effort in quality materials this would be one of my favorite automotive interiors. EXTERIOR: Outside, the car has a very utilitarian look with nifty cargo spots and steps for accessing the roof. Care needs to go in maintaining the exterior plastic trim as it can fade quickly in the sun. Use an exterior trim gel to keep it looking good.MECHANICAL: Mechanically, the Xterra has a great engine with a sub-par transmission. 5 Speed Automatics are incredibly out dated and this one shows its age. The engine has great power for regular driving as well as highway passing and off-roading. The gas mileage is extremely poor as I usually get around 14-16 in the city and about 17-18 on the highway. If Nissan could get this same power from a new engine while bumping fuel economy to the mid to high 20's it would have itself a great engine. However, most people don't buy an Xterra for fuel economy. This SUV is designed to handle anything the road throws at it. The Xterra is amazing in snow, rain, mud, and sand. It will get you to work when everyone else can't get past the snow in their driveway. The 4 wheel drive system along with the off road gadgets in the Pro-4X make sure this SUV never gets stuck. Furthermore, for an off-road inclined SUV it has a fairly compliant ride on-road with not an obnoxious amount of road noise on the highway. It is easy to drive and park. The Pro-4X has a backup camera to help with parking. OVERALL: It's a shame that Nissan has pulled the plug on this SUV after the 2015 model year. This is a good fun SUV for the younger crowd that doesn't have kids and/or doesn't need tremendous gas mileage. This car looks and feels sporty and rugged without being too harsh on its occupants. It's a great weekend trip car and it has enough technology and entertainment to be competitive in today's tech world. If Nissan could improve gas mileage, interior quality, and give it a fresh redesign I truly believe there would be plenty of buyers for a future Xterra, myself included.UPDATE (Jan. 2017): I have put 21,000 miles on my car and it has not given me any mechanical troubles. I've had two warranty repairs done on my Xterra. The first warranty repair was to replace my license plate lights as their housings had come loose. The second warranty repair was to replace a taillight that developed a crack without any physical impacts/damage. The stock BF Goodrich tires started showing their age at 20,000 miles so I replaced the tires as well. The stock tires were absolutely terrible. The Xterra still has a good handful of squeaks and rattles on the interior. These noises show up a lot more during the colder winter months and seem to disappear during the warmer summer months as the plastic warms up and softens up. My gas mileage is still poor at an average of 17 mpg combined city and highway driving. I've bumped up my reliability rating to 4 stars as the car has not experienced any mechanical issues and dealership support has slightly improved.

Average Rating : 4

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