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2010 Nissan Xterra Review

If you’re looking for an off-road vehicle, the 2010 Nissan Xterra is one of the few 2010 compact SUVs that will fit the bill. However, the Xterra’s truck-like performance, poor fuel economy and basic interior make it less refined than competing car-based crossovers.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Good off-road abilities
  • Uncomfortable seating
  • Some cheap interior materials
  • Subpar safety scores
  • Poor fuel economy




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2010 Nissan Xterra Overview

The 2010 Nissan Xterra is a great off-roader, but its on-road performance simply can’t compete with car-based crossovers in the class, like the 2010 Honda CR-V. Still, if you need go-anywhere capability, reviewers felt that the Xterra was one of the better performers in the class. When it was new, test drivers liked the Xterra’s power and acceleration from a stop, but some took issue with its passing ability.

The Xterra’s V6 engine is more powerful than those found in many competing SUVs. However, with up to 16/20 mpg city/highway, the Xterra trails most of the competition when it comes to fuel economy. Also, most reviewers agreed that because the Xterra is a truck-based SUV, its on-road handling is rough with significant body lean, so it is best when traveling off-road.

The Xterra’s interior was mostly panned by auto reviewers because of its cheap materials and uncomfortable seats. The Xterra has plenty of space for passengers and their gear, but if you’re planning on spending a lot of time commuting, the Xterra’s cabin won’t pamper you. Auto critics noted that the seats lack bolstering in the front and cushioning in the back. However, test drivers liked the versatile cargo space that has an available washable floor mat.

Roof rails, cruise control, keyless entry and a six-speaker stereo come standard on the base Xterra X. Higher trim levels add enhancements that can make the Xterra more capable off-road, as well as features like foglights, Bluetooth, satellite radio and an upgraded stereo.

See the full 2010 Nissan Xterra specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re looking at the Xterra, the 2010 Jeep Wrangler is also worth a look because of its excellent off-road performance. Much like the Xterra, the Wrangler has a choppy ride that isn’t suited for on-road driving, but is one of the best off-road SUVs on the market. Both vehicles get comparable fuel economy, but the Xterra has a more powerful engine.

While the Xterra may suit drivers who travel off the beaten path, the 2010 GMC Terrain is a better choice for those who stick to paved roads. The Terrain offers excellent safety scores and great fuel economy. While the Terrain’s base engine is smaller than the Xterra’s, it offers a car-like ride and a refined interior that the Xterra can’t match.

Compare the Xterra to the Wrangler and Terrain »

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