By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.6
As one of the last body-on-frame SUVs, the 2014 Nissan Xterra is both a rarity and a blessing. Unlike so many modern car-based crossover SUVs, the Xterra's truck-like design makes it tough as nails, allowing it to traverse all sorts of off-road obstacles without ripping its suspension or getting buried up to both axles. Often compared to the venerable Jeep Wrangler, the Xterra is every bit as rugged, although its roof and doors are not removable and it doesn't offer an advanced off-road package like the Rubicon. Still, if you're looking for a weekend warrior that is also easy to live with during the 9-to-5 grind, the Xterra makes a worthy ally.
If you're looking for something as capable as an old Jeep CJ, but far safer and more reliable, the 2014 Nissan Xterra makes a good choice. A true off-road champ, the fixed roof and comfortable interior also make this a great suburban family hauler.
When it comes to epic off-road adventuring, true enthusiasts will always pick the better-equipped Jeep Wrangler Rubicon over the Xterra. Those seeking a more comfortable ride with modest off-road potential might be happier in a Subaru Forester or Outback.
The 2014 Nissan Xterra receives a few new features including a much needed heated seat on the PRO-4X trim. X and S grades gain Bluetooth and steering-wheel controls, while the X trim gets an audio upgrade. An improved NissanConnect with Apps and new 16-inch alloy wheels round out the changes.
Driving Impressions When a vehicle has as much ground clearance, ride height and tire sidewall as the 2014 Nissan Xterra, one might expect the handling to be reminiscent of a 1950s' panel...... van. Thankfully Nissan engineers have worked some magic on the Xterra, giving it a firm but livable ride, good feedback from the steering wheel and moderate lean when taking sharp turns. In short, the Xterra rides and drives very much like the Frontier pickup truck. The 4.0-liter V6 is a bit of a gas hog, but in return it delivers gobs of power so desirable when merging on freeways or powering up a dirt embankment. Off-road, the Xterra proved its worth by easily tackling the wide variety of terrain we tossed its way including muddy ruts, a deep stream and a boulder-strewn wash. The Xterra always proved capable and, most important, never left us worrying about getting stuck.
The 2014 Xterra adds app capability to its already versatile NissanConnect entertainment suite. The apps function can be paired with any iPhone or Android smartphone allowing access to popular apps such as iHeart Radio, Stitcher and Facebook.
The Xterra's interior is designed to be rugged and versatile, able to accommodate everything from bikes to snowboards to your furriest friend (meaning your dog, not your roommate). Accessories such as a hatch tent and pet divider enhance features like the PRO-4X's fold-flat front seat and 10 cargo hooks.
In addition to its ability to secure a lot of gear, the 2014 Xterra's roomy cabin easily accommodates people. The tall roof and theater-style raised rear seats provide good headroom and an impressive view out. The Xterra's seats are comfortable and supportive. Buttons and knobs are easy to use, but the dash 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 2000, giving this SUV practicality and a visual punch. Also still present is the asymmetrical rear window. A skidplate protects the Xterra's lower radiator from bruises, and PRO-4X models have additional skidplate 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.
The 2014 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, Bluetooth and power windows and door locks, but lack power mirrors. 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 (4WD), locking differential, Rockford Fosgate sound system, heated seats and a navigation/infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity.
The main package option on the 2014 Xterra features 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.
All 2014 Nissan Xterras use a 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 261 horsepower and a robust 281 lb-ft of torque that help with pulling and off-the-line acceleration. Xterra X and S trims are rear-wheel drive (2WD), with 4WD available as an option. PRO-4X models come standard with 4WD. Transmission choices are a 5-speed automatic (the only choice on X trim and optional on S and PRO-4 X models) or 6-speed manual on 4WD S and PRO-4X models. Towing capacity for the 2014 Xterra is rated at a respectable 5,000 pounds. The Xterra runs on regular gasoline, but fuel economy is not a strong point.
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)
The 2014 Nissan Xterra carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a base X model with 2WD starting around $24,000. Xterra S models start closer to $26,000, while PRO-4X models have a starting MSRP around $31,000 and top out around $2,000 more with leather seating and an automatic transmission. At its starting price, the Xterra is over $4,000 less than a base 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser and about $3,000 less than a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Nissan Xterra. The Xterra's resale value has traditionally been far below that of the Wrangler and FJ Cruiser, which were scored the best in their segments in the Kelley Blue Book 2013 Best Resale Value Awards.
By Rick on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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!"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Cas on Sunday, February 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, fun to drive"
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!"
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Stone on Saturday, February 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
11 people out of 20 found this review helpful