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2013 Nissan Xterra Review

Test drivers agreed that the 2013 Nissan Xterra is capable of tackling challenging off-roading courses, but some weren't all that impressed with its on-road performance.

Pros & Cons

  • Good off-road capability
  • Useful cargo hauling features
  • Difficult to find optimal driving position
  • Lackluster handling




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 6.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Nissan Xterra Overview

The 2013 Nissan Xterra has a V6 engine that reviewers said provides ample power, and some added that it has plenty of torque, which comes in handy when off-roading. An automatic transmission is standard and a manual transmission is available on four-wheel drive models. A rear-wheel drive Xterra earns an EPA fuel economy estimate of 16/22 mpg city/highway, which is comparable with that of other off-road-oriented SUVs in the class like the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota FJ Cruiser. According to test drivers, the Xterra's ride is a little jarring on broken pavement and there is quite a bit of body lean when going fast through turns. However, many noted that the Xterra shines off-road, with ample ground clearance and the ability to ford streams and traverse rutted roads with ease.

Auto journalists wrote that the 2013 Nissan Xterra's cabin is constructed with hard plastics, which some appreciated for being durable and easy to clean, but others simply found cheap. Critics said the front seats are comfortable, though some mentioned that they could use more side support and others wrote that the lack of a telescopic steering wheel can make it tricky to find the perfect driving position. A handful of critics appreciated the ample headroom and good view out from the back seats, but others noted that the door openings are narrow, which can make it awkward to enter or exit the rear row. The 2013 Xterra has 65.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which is typical for a two-row midsize SUV. Reviewers commented that the Xterra has a number of useful features for carrying cargo, such as integrated spaces for a first aid kit and lots of tie-down hooks. Available features on the Xterra include a rearview camera, leather seats, a USB port, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo system.

See 2013 Nissan Xterra specs »

Other SUVs to Consider

Reviewers were impressed with the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee's off-roading capabilities, as well as its secure handling and comfortable ride on pavement. Test drivers also noted that the Grand Cherokee has an upscale cabin and comfortable seating in both the front and rear.

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a capable off-roader, according to test drivers, and they noted that, like the Xterra, it has a straightforward cabin that is easy to clean. The FJ Cruiser comes with more standard features than the Xterra, including Bluetooth and a USB port.

Compare the Xterra, Grand Cherokee and FJ Cruiser »

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