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2014 Nissan Xterra

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2014 Nissan Xterra Review

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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.

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
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
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

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)

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