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2013 Nissan Xterra

Overview
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2013 Nissan Xterra Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.7

The 2013 Nissan Xterra is a survivor among a dying breed: The body-on-frame SUV. With their rugged foundations, such SUVs excel in off-road situations, usually at the expense of on-road comfort. While it may not have the following of Jeep's venerable Wrangler, the Xterra is a respectable off-roader with an attraction all its own. If you want an SUV that serves as a comfortable commuter or has the latest safety and tech features, look instead to a road-oriented crossover like the Honda CRV, Ford Escape or Kia Sorento. But if you're among the hardy types who desire a rugged, few-frills SUV that's happy in the rough, the Nissan Xterra is an appealing option with a starting price that undercuts the 5-passenger Wrangler Unlimited and Toyota's FJ Cruiser.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a tough off-roader with the spirit of the old Jeep CJ but that is far more reliable, the 2013 Nissan Xterra is a good partner. The Xterra's sturdy frame and 4-wheel-drive system (4WD) will please weekend warriors, while its versatile interior and adept suspension make it a livable daily driver.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your idea of off-roading is driving up snow-covered pavement to the local ski resort, a more fuel-efficient and comfortable crossover, such as the Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 or Mitsubishi Outlander, should suit you just fine.

What's New for 2013

While most Xterra models see little change for 2013, prices on all have dropped, with Xterra S trims decreasing by over $2,600. Top-line PRO-4X models gain a hands-free infotainment system with navigation and rear-view monitor, while S models get an updated audio system.

Driving the Xterra

Driving Impressions With its generous ground clearance, commanding ride height and big tires, you might think this off-roader would be a handful on the highway and in the city. To our pleasant...

surprise, the Xterra holds its own in the civilized world. Its freeway ride is reasonable and on par with most mid-size pickups. The Xterra's 4.0-liter V6 engine is strong and provides the power needed to pass slower vehicles or claw up dirt trails. The Xterra is no wannabe when the pavement ends; it easily tamed whatever terrain we threw at it, from muddy ruts and fallen logs to streams and creek beds. The Xterra always proved capable and, most importantly, never left us worrying about getting stuck in the muck.

NISSAN CONNECT
The 2013 Xterra gains some much-needed technology with this 5.8-inch color touchscreen system that includes a navigation system, streaming audio, backup camera and real-time information, such as traffic and weather conditions.

VERSATILE INTERIOR
The Xterra is good at hauling stuff, from surfboards and bikes to man's best friend. With 10 cargo hooks, a fold-flat front passenger seat, Utili-track cargo system and available accessories that include a pet divider and hatch tent, versatility is the name of game.

2013 Nissan Xterra Details
Interior

In addition to its ability to secure a wide range of gear, the 2013 Xterra's roomy cabin easily accommodates people. The tall roof and theater-style raised rear seats provide good headroom and an impressive view of the great outdoors. The Xterra's seats are comfortable and supportive. Buttons and knobs are easy to use, but the dash itself is rather plain and utilitarian. The steering wheel tilts but does not telescope, which can make it difficult for drivers to find a perfect fit. The 3-passenger second row folds flat in a 60/40 split, and PRO-4X models benefit from a fold-flat front passenger seat that makes it easy to carry long items like surfboards.

Exterior

With its boxy shape, swollen fender flares and roof rails that could double for industrial piping, the Xterra is the image of rough and tough. Those roof rails and built-in storage box have defined the Xterra ever since it debuted in the year 2000, giving this SUV practicality and a visual punch. Also still present is the asymmetrical rear window. A skid plate protects the Xterra's lower radiator from bruises, and PRO-4X models have additional skid-plate protection around the oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case. Those top-trim models also have fog lights and roof-mounted off-road lights. Standard wheels across the board are 16 inches in size.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Nissan Xterra comes in three trims: X, S, and PRO-4X. Xterra X models are the least expensive and most basic. They have a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system, cruise control and power windows and door locks, but lack power mirrors and a USB audio input. Stepping up to the Xterra S trim brings much more, including the rear cargo-management system, driver's-seat lumbar support, and upgraded audio system with 4.3-inch color display and auxiliary inputs for USB devices like an iPod. Top-line PRO-4X models have 4-wheel-drive, locking differential, Rockford Fosgate sound system and a navigation/infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity.

Optional Equipment

The main package option on the 2013 Xterra includes leather seating for the PRO-4X model. Accessories include a tent that blooms from the rear of the Xterra, a tow hitch and a pet divider for carrying Fido in the rear compartment.

Under the Hood

All 2013 Nissan Xterras use a 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 261 horsepower and a robust 281 lb-ft of torque that helps with pulling and off-the-line acceleration. Xterra X and S trims are rear-wheel drive, with 4-wheel drive available as an option. PRO-4X models come standard with 4-wheel drive. Transmission choices are a 5-speed automatic (the only choice on X trim, and optional on S and PRO-4X models) or 6-speed manual on 4-wheel drive S and PRO-4X models. Towing capacity for the 2013 Xterra is rated at a respectable 5,000 pounds. The Xterra runs on regular gasoline, but fuel economy is not a strong point.

4.0-liter V6
261 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
281 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 mpg (2WD, automatic), 16/20 mpg (4WD, manual), 15/20 mpg (4WD, automatic)

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2013 Nissan Xterra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 451 Ratings for the 2005 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

I love the spunk and reliability of this vehicle

By on Saturday, April 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,486

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great Brand. Fun to drive. Right size."

Cons: "Too small for larger families."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a wonderful vehicle for one person or as a second car for a small family. I really like the "get up and go" this vehicle provides. I am an older person and I need my runner to access the Xterra, but do not find this too inconvenient. Love, love, love it! I purchased this in 2009 as a used vehicle and it has served me well!"

Utility. Tons of utility. Great value/durability.

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Utility, Customization, Size, 4x4"

Cons: "MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After 8 years, I've had normal maintenance and only a few minor repairs. The Nissan Xterra is a great vehicle. PROS: -So much utility. The inside is easy to wipe down. Fold down the bench and haul almost anything. Inside cargo area plus the top rack are great for wet things, tools, tow rope, etc. -Customization. I added fog lights, hitch, cargo rack, and inside netting. -Size. It's not too big but not compact. It's a great size for a family of four or a single guy and his buddies + gear. -4x4. The 4WD has performed excellent in Indiana winters. It pulls through the snow. -Sits high. Easy to see forwards and outside all side windows. It's minor but an advantage over several other SUVs. CONS: -Trunk Shocks. They'll fail eventually in the cold. Replace them with a higher rating or be prepared to hold the trunk open with your head. -Rear side doors have a narrow opening. It's sometimes a problem with kids and often a problem with adults. -MPG. What started as 20-21 highway turned into 18. Average is 16.5 total."

12 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Perfect 4x4 for my needs

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Good off-road capability, smooth drive on pavement"

Cons: "MPG could be a tad better, 4WD High might hang"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Back in 2010, I decided it was time to purchase a 4x4 to do some moderate (not hard core) off-roading here in Colorado. After some research, I decided a used Xterra was the vehicle I wanted because it looked like a vehicle capable of handing off-road terrain while also providing a decent ride on paved surfaces. I went shopping and liked it so much I ended up buying a new 2010 Off-Road version. After about five years of owning this vehicle, I absolutely love the thing! We've been up just about every "moderate" trail in the state as well as several "hard" trails, shying away only from those trails where vehicle damage would be pretty certain. The locking differential has been invaluable on steep two/three wheel crawls. Even after owning it all this time, I am still impressed by how comfortable it is to drive for hours on paved roads, then go off road and beat the thing up over tens of thousands of rocks, and then jump back on a highway and have it drive just as smooth as ever. I've used it to tow several trailers carrying loads of 2,000 to 4,000 lbs (moving daughter twice and mother once), hauled a ton of rocks, taken trips to the East and West coasts and Canada, and am planning a trip up to Alaska to check out the wilderness there. I have had zero issues to date (knock on wood), and it remains a pleasure to drive. Yes it's a truck, but with the wheel and tire size on the Off-Road, there's a nice amount of air cushion and it's very comfortable. We recently made a 1,900 mile round trip to Arizona and came back though one of the largest snow storms we've seen in the past decade, and it handled the trip nicely as always. I've had only one minor annoyance... that being that it sometimes takes a little longer to come back out of 4-wheel drive (high) than I'd prefer. Winter driving often means ice or snow-covered roads, then maybe a well-cleared road, and I like to get out of 4-wheel drive whenever it's not needed. Sometimes it doesn't want to pop back into 2-wheel drive right away. It's not a big deal, but I will likely look into addressing this annoyance when the weather gets warm again. Bottom line: I believe there is no better vehicle to give you both off-road capability and a smooth on-road drive. I find myself driving it even when taking the car would net better gas mileage because it just feels good to drive it!"

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I have ever owned

By on Sunday, February 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, fun to drive"

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a great midsize suv that is fun to drive. It has plenty of power. The S model has everything you need with a great sound system. The X model does not have all the extras but is still a great vehicle if you do not want the extras. This is the first vehicle that I have ever gotten in and just loved right away. I find myself finding excuses to drive it!"

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Great car overall. Relatively trouble free.

By on Saturday, February 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great value, versatile, fairly reliable, durable."

Cons: "Stock rear suspension btms out on hvy bumps."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Off Road 2WD model. Bought with 70K miles. Replaced radiator when first bought to prevent potential leakage of coolant into transmission. Now have 180K miles. Replaced U-joints at 150K +/-. Always had problem with rear suspension bottoming out. Installed single add-a-leafs recently with xlnt results. Engine and transmission still run perfectly. Good power. 17 mpg city/ 20-21 hwy. Drives like a truck, but smooth on good pavement. Rockford Fosgate stereo has face melting volume; good for rock music, but not really "hi-fi"; backlit display no longer works, otherwise fine. Very versatile, fun vehicle. Get one if in good condition."

19 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Nice ride

By on Thursday, January 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Visibility and size"

Cons: "Hard for people to get in/out of back seat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Like everything about it but gas mileage . Only trouble I have had is heater only blows total hot regardless of setting. Asked local dealer and they say they are all like that. Admittedly hard to believe."

16 people out of 33 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?