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2015 Nissan Xterra

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2015 Nissan Xterra Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.7

Aimed at the off-road enthusiast, the 2015 Nissan Xterra is a true body-on-frame SUV designed for rough trails, and it’s not afraid to sacrifice some around-town comfort and convenience to do it right. The truck-based design makes it as tough as nails, and the available 4-wheel drive (4WD) system lets it crawl over rocks, boulders, ruts, streams, and just about anything nature can throw its way, without ripping its suspension or getting buried up to both axles. If that sounds like a Jeep Wrangler, you're right, and the Nissan Xterra is one of the few vehicles out there that can legitimately claim to be as rugged as the legendary Jeep, just minus the removable doors and roof, or an advanced off-road package like the Rubicon.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2015 Nissan Xterra makes a good alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, offering just as much off-road capability as the Jeep, but with the fixed roof and doors that make living in the city or suburbs more tolerable.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the Xterra is a solid performer off road, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon package can still go places where the Nissan fears to tread. If you're a more casual off-roader, there are plenty of other options, such as the Subaru Outback or Forester.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Nissan Xterra S gets NissanConnect as standard equipment. This adds a 5.0-inch color display, USB connection, Bluetooth, Mobile Apps and SiriusXM satellite radio. A new Beacon Yellow color is also available across the X, S and PRO-4X model range.

Driving the Xterra
Driving Impressions

If the terms "approach angle" and "breakover" are in your daily conversations, then the 2015 Nissan Xterra SUV is a must-shop. With more than nine inches of ground clearance on...

... 4WD models, a tall and narrow body and big beefy tires, the Xterra is meant for the rugged world of off-roading. That's where this SUV is in its element, and if you're thinking of getting one, it's likely that the Nissan Xterra is already a familiar sight on your favorite trails. However, Nissan has cleverly managed to make the Xterra a viable around-the-clock choice for drivers. The ride is definitely firm, but it's also acceptable around town, especially if you explore the off-road payoff on the weekends. The suspension doesn't let the tall body lean too much in corners, and the steering offers good feedback, too. The thirsty 4.0-liter V6 has plenty of power and torque when you need it.

NISSAN CONNECT
With the 2015 Xterra, the Nissan expands the availability of its NissanConnect entertainment suite. Now standard on S models, the NissanConnect allows a connected iPhone or Android device to use apps like iHeart Radio, Stitcher and Facebook, right through the vehicle's infotainment system.

VERSATILE INTERIOR
While the roof and doors may not come off, the Nissan Xterra still boasts a flexible interior. Big enough inside to accommodate bikes, snowboards, a furry companion – either your dog or roommate – it's further enhanced with accessories such as a hatch tent and pet divider.

2015 Nissan Xterra Details
Interior

The 2015 Nissan Xterra isn't luxurious, but instead the simple design and straightforward layout emphasize ease of use and utility. The high roof and theater-style raised rear seats provide good headroom and an impressive view out, important when you're bobbing down an off-road trail. If you're carrying more cargo than people, 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. Unfortunately, the lack of a telescoping steering wheel makes it hard for some drivers find a sweet spot.

Exterior
2015 Nissan Xterra photo

A tall boxy shape, swollen fender flares and bulky roof rails may look odd, but they all have a function on the Xterra. The body shape maximizes interior space while still making the Xterra maneuverable off road. The fender flares let those big wheels articulate up and down without interfering with the body. And those aren't just a staple of the Xterra's styling; they can also carry quite a bit of equipment. If you opt for the PRO-4X model you get skidplates around the oil pan, fuel tank, and transfer case in addition to the standard one below the radiator.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 Nissan Xterra X model, the least expensive, comes with power windows, cruise control, remote keyless entry and power door locks, and air conditioning. It also includes a basic 6-speaker radio with a CD player, Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted controls, but no auxiliary or USB input. The Xterra S model adds the rear cargo-management system, adjustable lumbar for the driver's seat, and NissanConnect with mobile apps, which adds a USB port. Top-line PRO-4X models have 4-wheel drive, a locking differential, Rockford Fosgate sound system, heated seats and a navigation/infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity.

Optional Equipment

The most important option for Xterra X and S models is the 4WD system, and really, if you're not getting that, why aren't you looking at a Pathfinder or Rogue? Aside from that, you can get leather on the PRO-4X model, plus some pretty interesting accessories. We're particularly fond of the tent that attaches to the back of the Xterra, and a pet divider for carrying your dog or inexplicably dog-like cat on your adventures. There's also a towing package to take advantage of the Xterra's 5,000-pound towing capacity.

Under the Hood

Only one engine is available for the 2015 Nissan Xterra: a 4.0-liter V6 with 261 horsepower and a robust 281 lb-ft of torque. It's optimized for truck duty, with good pulling power and off-the-line acceleration. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard on Xterra X and S models, with 4WD standard on PRO4X models and available on the other two. A 5-speed automatic is the only transmission choice on Xterra X models, but S and PRO-4X models with 4WD can opt for a 6-speed manual. The Xterra can tow a respectable 5,000 pounds, and while it runs on regular unleaded gasoline, note that the Xterra's fuel economy isn't 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 (RWD, automatic), 16/20 mpg (4WD, manual), 15/20 mpg (4WD, automatic)

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