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2014 Nissan Xterra Review

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2014 Nissan Xterra Expert Review

By

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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 6.6
  • 6.8
  • 6.4
  • 6.8
  • 6.0
  • 7.7
How It Ranks

#36

out of 36

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 36

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.7 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Nissan Xterra Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

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 the Xterra
2014 Nissan Xterra Front angle view photo

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.

NISSAN CONNECT
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.

VERSATILE INTERIOR
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.

2014 Nissan Xterra Details
2014 Nissan Xterra Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

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
2014 Nissan Xterra photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood
2014 Nissan Xterra Engine photo

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.

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)

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.

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2014 Nissan Xterra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 442 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
    9.0/10

Perfect for an active lifestyle!

By on Friday, November 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great for tall people, good looks, solid as a rock"

Cons: "No defroster in outside mirrors"

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

"Recently purchased a 2015 Xterra Pro-4X at the beginning of October 2014 here in northeast Ohio. I've always driven Nissan vehicles (since 1992) and never have had problems with them, other than routine maintenance. For example, my current car (which I kept when I purchased the new Xterra) is a 2004 Infiniti G35 Coupe (made by Nissan in Japan). It now is over 10 years old with over 130,000 miles and runs great. The only issue it has had so far is the electric radiator fan motor died around 70,000 miles. It cost around $750 to replace as the car was out of warranty by then. A month later I received a letter from Nissan stating that they have experienced a higher failure rate than expected for these motors, and to send them the bill for reimbursement. Nissan sent a check in the mail to cover the entire cost, when they didn't have to at all. Anyway, the G35 Coupe is not the best for driving in the snow as it is a rear wheel drive sports coupe. For bad weather and occasional off-road use, hauling my bicycle around, hauling other stuff as needed, and going on weekend camping trips, I purchased the new Xterra. Since I have been a Nissan fan over the years, I purposely spent a lot of time looking at the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, and Jeeps. None of them had the best combination of off-road capability and on-road driving comfort and utility, and features for the price compared to the Xterra. The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a very cool vehicle, but I did not like the suicide doors (to open the second door requires opening the driver or passenger door first), and the back door opens like a refrigerator instead of being a liftgate. The driving visibility in the FJ Cruiser is far worse than the Xterra. I am tall (6'-3") and do not have to duck my head down to see overhead traffic signals like I had to in the FJ Cruiser. The 4Runner was too long in length and too pricey (great vehicle to be sure). I do not need removable doors or removable roofs and the interior design of the Jeeps did not appeal to me. Jeeps are great vehicles but are overpriced for comparable equipment than the Xterra Pro-4X. I am averaging around 19 miles per gallon city/highway with the Xterra so far, which is a little better than I expected. No issues so far during the first 2,000 miles with the Xterra. This vehicle is solid as a rock with a true body on frame construction. Likes: Looks and doesn't look out of date to me even though this design is 10 years old (metallic blue is the best color), excellent stereo system, navigation, bluetooth, SiriusXM radio with weather and traffic, all buttons are lighted including steering wheel controls, heated seats, wheels look great, good quality BF Goodrich tires, very good fit and finish, everything is easy to use, temp display and compass on auto-dimming rearview mirror, reverse camera, strong heater and A/C, Bilstein shocks, handles amazingly well and steering has perfect feel, comfortable seats, excellent head room for a tall guy like me, good leg room, plenty of cargo capacity, seats fold flat, fits in my garage, shifts on the fly to 4WD without even a clunk (drove in snow the other day), best vehicle for the money hands down! Dislikes: plastics scratch easily, outside mirrors do not have defrosters, overhead vanity mirrors are not lighted, window on rear liftgate can not open- THAT'S IT FOR DISLIKES! This vehicle is perfect for single guys like me who live an active lifestyle. It's not really a family vehicle even though it certainly could do that. If you have little kids, they probably wouldn't even be able to reach the high rear door handles, LOL! Nissan has consistently sold around 1,100 Xterras a month for the last several years, with zero advertising or incentives, for a reason!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Basic and problem prone

By on Thursday, October 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"The transmission went out due to a coolant leak into the transmission system. No recall for this issue, but known problem. They did extend the warranty to 80,000, but most fail after that. There was a class action law suit, but only relief was high deductible repairs. No relief over 100,000 miles. Please be aware. It is a basic vehicle with a rough ride. It also started rusting in several locations."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

I love this car!

By on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000

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 vehicle for the price!"

Cons: "None."

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

"Handles well. Good power. Still looks new and performs well. I'll buy another when they bring back my color - yellow! Always see it in a parking lot!"

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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