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2015 Nissan Xterra Review

Though the 2015 Nissan Xterra is a capable off-roader with plenty of room for your gear, it falls in the bottom half our rankings. Unlike class leaders, it has clumsy handling, a firm ride, unsupportive seats, and a cheaply made interior.

Pros & Cons


  • Capable off-roader
  • Ample interior storage space



  • Handling and ride quality suffer on pavement
  • Seats lack support
  • Cheap interior materials





Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 6.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.5
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Nissan Xterra Overview

Is the 2015 Nissan Xterra a Good Used SUV?

If you’re looking for an off-road vehicle, the Xterra should be on your list. However, it’s not as comfortable or upscale as many of its competitors.

Used 2015 Nissan Xterra Performance and Interior

The Xterra’s V6 engine has plenty of power for passing on the highway, off-roading, and towing. Rear-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic transmission come standard. Four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission are available. Fuel economy is on par with other off-road SUVs, but it’s poor for the compact SUV class overall. Expect 15-16 mpg in the city and 20-22 mpg on the highway.

The Xterra has a stiff ride, slow-to-respond steering, and a fair amount of body lean. However, unlike its crossover rivals, the Xterra’s body-on-frame construction makes it more durable as an off-roader. The Pro-4X trim’s off-road equipment makes the Xterra even more trail ready. On the pavement, the Xterra makes a handy hauler with its 5,000-pound maximum towing capacity.

Read more about Xterra performance »

While functional, the five-seat Xterra’s interior is teeming with hard plastics. A low seating position and a nontelescoping steering wheel make it difficult for some to find their optimal driving position. Cloth upholstery comes standard, and leather upholstery and heated front seats are available. Although there’s plenty of head- and legroom, the seats lack good support for longer rides. There are two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats and a tether-only connection in the middle seat. The Xterra shines when it comes to storage, with plenty of small-item cubbies inside the cabin and 66 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded.

The Xterra comes standard with Bluetooth, an auxiliary port, and an under-floor storage bin. Stereo and climate controls are simple and easy to reach. Select trims have the NissanConnect infotainment system, which adds satellite radio, a USB port, hands-free text messaging, and smartphone app connectivity.

Read more about Xterra interior »

Used 2015 Nissan Xterra Prices

The price of a used 2015 Nissan Xterra ranges from about $20,400 for a base model X trim to around $29,000 for the Pro-4X trim. Prices fluctuate with demand and depend on the vehicle's condition, mileage, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 84 Reviews Analyzed

Our recommendations aren’t based on our personal opinions. Instead, we analyze professional reviews and hard data to guide you to the right vehicle for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for a decade, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To maintain objectivity, we don't accept pricey gifts or trips from the car companies, and an outside team handles our advertising.

How Reliable Is the 2015 Nissan Xterra?

The 2015 Nissan Xterra has a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power & Associates, which is above average for a compact SUV.

Read more about Xterra reliability »

How Safe Is the Xterra?

The 2015 Xterra received mixed crash test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It earned the highest score of Good in the side impact and moderate overlap front crash tests and an Acceptable for the roof strength test. In the rear crash tests, however, it received a Marginal score. 

Like many of its off-road competitors, the Xterra does not offer advanced safety features. Stability control comes standard, and Pro-4X models have a rearview camera. 

See Xterra safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Xterra?

The second and final generation of the Xterra includes the 2005 through 2015 model years. Since the Xterra’s features changed little over the years, you may want to consider a model that’s a couple years older, which offers similar features at a lower price. 

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Xterra »

Which Used Nissan Xterra Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Nissan Xterra comes in three trims: X, S, and Pro-4X. The S trim provides the best balance of features and price. Its NissanConnect infotainment system adds a few entertainment options, such as smartphone app integration and satellite radio. Serious off-roaders will want the Pro-4X model’s four-wheel drive, off-road shocks, and wheels, as well as other trail-ready equipment.

You might also consider a certified pre-owned Xterra. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Nissan extends the original new-car warranty to seven years or 100,000 miles. To become certified pre-owned, each vehicle must pass a 167-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Nissan warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Nissan certified pre-owned program »

2015 Nissan Xterra and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2015 Nissan Xterra or 2015 Jeep Wrangler?

The iconic Jeep Wrangler is arguably one of the most capable off-road vehicles on the market. It comes standard with four-wheel drive. Upgrading to the higher trims gets you even more terrain-tackling equipment. The Xterra, however, is better suited for everyday life than the Wrangler, which has cramped rear seats, less cargo space, and fewer standard features. The Jeep’s below-average predicted reliability rating also makes it difficult to recommend over the Xterra.

Which Is Better: 2015 Nissan Xterra or 2015 Toyota 4Runner?

If you want an off-roader with seating for seven, it’s hard to beat the Toyota 4Runner, a midsize SUV. Unlike the Xterra, it comes standard with a rearview camera and has more cargo space (24 extra cubic feet). While its third row is too cramped for adults, there’s good room for kids. On the other hand, the 4Runner’s sluggish acceleration and frustrating infotainment system pale in comparison to the Xterra’s brawny engine and useful tech.

Compare the Xterra, Wrangler, and 4Runner »

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