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2013 Nissan Xterra

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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 474 Ratings for the 2005 - 2015 models.

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

The Unapologetically Utilitarian SUV

By on Thursday, January 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "ENGINE (power), rugged, simple, reliable, utility"

Cons: "ENGINE (economy), int. plastic scratches easily"

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

2015 Pro-4X with 6-spd manual. One of my all-time favorite vehicles owned.

"No, it isn't a Chrysler Wrangler; trust me, that's a good thing. No, it isn't a Rogue, either. Or an Outlander. Or anything else that uses electronic proxies to replicate actual 4WD capabilities so soccer moms can gum up the left lane when it snows. Look, it's hard (tough), angular (distinct), unyielding (solid), and even dated (proven). The engine sucks down fuel like a riding lawn mower, but it also shoves all 4,300 lbs down the pavement faster than some "sporty" cars manage (to 60 in 7 seconds), hauls 5,000 lbs, and sounds pretty sweet under acceleration. And it's available (like mine) in a 6-spd manual. Did you hear that? AN SUV WITH A MANUAL TRANSMISSION. Gotta love that. We've taken it on vacation with lots of highway miles, and while comfortable enough, it never lets you forget it's a body-on-frame SUV. I have the 2015 Pro-4X so it has JUST enough creature comforts to keep me happy, but it's honestly what I call "my analog SUV in a digital world." And that's why I like it so much. Instead of trying to please the lowest common denominator of focus groups, the Xterra is meant for a narrow audience that DOES things, GOES places, and NEEDS a more rugged vehicle than most. My dog vomited in the back of mine Week 1, and I drug a hose into the back seat and sprayed out the cargo area. Done and done. I like the Ford Explorer just fine, but I'd have been looking at a $75 detailing to clean that same mess up. So if you want a REAL SUV--and all that means--definitely look at the Xterra. If you want a road-focused crossover with a traction-control dial, this ain't it."

2015 Pro-4X with 6-spd manual. One of my all-time favorite vehicles owned.

Poor quality engine/transmission

By on Tuesday, December 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cheap vehicle body has held up well."

Cons: "Cheap vehicle - drive train parts don't last."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"The vehicle is a decent value except for the engine ( I had to replace the timing chain and tensioners and lower pulley at 88,000 miles. The transmission needed replacing at 134,000 miles). This was despite good maintenance history and mostly highway and in-town miles."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Driving for 50+ years ....the best I've owned

By on Sunday, December 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000

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: "I hunt 50 days/yr. It goes anywhere."

Cons: "Dome light over back seat. Why?"

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

"Six yrs old...114K miles on my 2010 Xterra. I have a 6 speed tranny (manual) and am totally satisfied. I wait for no one....it's fast. Mileage normally is 18 city - 22 Hwy. I have 2 (of 8) of my kids wanting this vehicle when I get a new one. Only drawback is that the dome light is over the back seat. It should be AT LEAST over the back of the front seat. Zoom-Zoom."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great overall vehicle. Off road machine.

By on Friday, December 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun and capable suv that inspires excitement."

Cons: "2015 was the last year of this suv."

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

"Too bad Nissan is dropping the X. I bought one of the very last production number 4x4 Xterras. It was the only one for sale within 400 miles of my home. It has been a very good choice. It has excellent off road manners. Will climb and go over obstacles with factory tires in 2wd that other vehicles in 4wd with mud tires will not. Suspension articulates well and 4wd system is impeccable. Street handling feels safe and confident as well. Corners well for a 4x4. Fuel mileage is ok. I avg 20mpg with mixed driving on 87 octane. I can run 93 octane and have gotten 23.5mpg with mixed driving. It has lots of power, enough that a spirited takeoff on pavement will trip the traction control. Interior is slightly utilitarian, but that's how I like it. Braking is superb for a moderately heavy SUV. Interior is quiet at all speeds, wind noise is only really noticeable above 60mph. Factory stereo is ok. Automatic shifts smoothly under normal load and driving, shifts firm up under hard acceleration just as it is supposed to. Seating is very comfortable for 4 adults. 5 is too tight. Legroom in rear seats is adequate. Drivers seating is a could be considered a little tight if your height is over 6'. Overall an excellent suv. I love my Xterra!"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

A very good, safe, efficient vehicle.

By on Tuesday, December 01, 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
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Cons: "Rear seats have limited room for adults."

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

Brand new!

"I bought this car new in 2010 and have been very pleased and happy with it every day since. It has plenty of power, smooth acceleration and being a tall vehicle, makes it easy to maneuver. The brakes are superb, smooth and quick stopping. The fold down rear seats make a very large carrying capacity. The one drawback is that the rear seats are too close to the front seats, making the back seats difficult for adults to be comfortable. I get an average of seventeen MPG, never below 16.5 and up to 19.5 on the highway at high speed, 70+ MPH. The AC and heater are excellent."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Brand new!

owned since new 2005

By on Monday, November 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 170,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
Not Rated

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

"Vehicle has not cost any major repairs . At 78000 miles cats & radiator were replaced at dealers expense (radiator had external leak, not internal damaging the trans ) . Truly love this vehicle , stood the test of time . Paint job and styling are awesome . Had to replace driver side window regulator & front u joints along with serpentine belt other than that great vehicle"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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