2008 Nissan Xterra

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2008 Nissan Xterra Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Nissan Xterra was new.

The Xterra delivers strong off-road performance and a versatile cargo capacity, but doesn't match the car-like handling and ride of others in its class. Still, it falls well within the top half of its segment and ranks even better when compared to other off-road SUVs.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful choice for off-road driving
  • Well-designed, easy-to-clean cargo area
  • Utilitarian interior style
  • Bouncy, truck-like ride and handling

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Nissan Xterra has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 65 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.1
Safety: 7.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2008 Nissan Xterra Overview

Our analysis shows the 2008 Nissan Xterra is a strong choice for those who want a tough, capable vehicle and don't mind a few bumps along the way. Auto reviewers tout the Xterra's rugged body-on-frame construction and powerful standard V6 engine -- but no one will confuse it with a luxury car. "Nissan has built a sport/utility vehicle that's exactly what the customers want: It's rugged, versatile, fun, solid-looking, honest, and will take you and your gear anywhere you want to go -- without costing a fortune," says Motor Trend.

The 2006 model was an award winner, earning honors such as the "Most Wanted SUV Under $25,000." For 2008, the Xterra gets a few very minor changes, including the addition of new paint colors, Bluetooth mobile phone capability, and standard features such as power windows and door locks. There is seating for five, although some complain the interior lacks style.

The Xterra claims the second-worst fuel economy of any current small SUV.  In 2008, with gas prices reaching record highs, the Xterra's poor fuel efficiency has contributed to a sales drop.  The Xterra is due for a mild redesign for 2009.

The Xterra comes in several trims -- X, S, Off Road and SE. All come in either two- or four-wheel drive, except the Off Road model, which is a 4x4-only vehicle.

  • "Based on its excellent performance on- and off-road, it took first place in a comparison test." -- Car and Driver
  • "Xterra's rough ride, dated interior, low gas mileage, and poor emissions ratings leave much to be desired." -- CNET
  • "The new Xterra is more refined, yet it hasn't lost its tough edge." -- Kansas City Star
  • "It offers distinctively aggressive looks, lots of power and a trip back in time before the car-based sport utility vehicle came along to dominate the market." -- Newsday

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