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2014 Nissan Xterra Review

The 2014 Nissan Xterra has low-rent cabin materials, few standard features, and a harsh ride quality. However, it secures its solid middle-of-the-road ranking with an above-average reliability score and good performance from a strong V6 engine. 

Pros & Cons

  • Awesome off-road abilities
  • Strong V6 engine
  • Good reliability
  • Few standard features
  • Cheap cabin materials
  • Rough ride quality
  • Below-average safety scores

New for 2014

  • Bluetooth made standard
  • Updated NissanConnect with smartphone app integration
  • Heated front cloth seats made standard
  • Heated leather front seats made available in Pro-4X trim




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 6.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.6
Safety: 9.2
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2014 Nissan Xterra Overview

Is the 2014 Nissan Xterra a Good Used SUV?

The Nissan Xterra is a great off-roader, with available four-wheel drive and other performance upgrades. Passenger space is good, but unimpressive safety scores limit the Xterra's appeal as a daily driver or family SUV.

Used 2014 Nissan Xterra Performance and Interior

All 2014 Nissan Xterra models come with a 261-horsepower V6 engine and either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. The Xterra is also available with rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive. There's little variance in fuel economy between the different powertrain combinations – estimates range from 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway to 15 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway.

The powerful V6 will get you moving with ease on pavement, and ample low-speed torque makes quick work of off-road obstacles. The Xterra is based on Nissan's F-Alpha truck platform; with its stiff chassis, it has a rough ride quality. Steering is also loose, and there's some body roll when going around turns. However, its trucklike sturdiness gives it great off-road capabilities. Pro-4X models come upgraded with a locking rear differential, a limited-slip differential, and multiple skid plates.

Read more about Xterra performance »

The 2014 Xterra has room for five on standard cloth seats. You won't find conveniences like power-adjustable seats in any model, and the only upgrades are leather upholstery with heated front seats, or heated front seats on their own. The Xterra's cabin is roomy and the seats are mostly comfortable. There are two sets of lower anchors in the second row and three tether anchors for securing child safety seats.

The few notable standard features in the Xterra include air conditioning, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, and remote keyless entry. Available features include a USB port, an eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, a rearview camera, and NissanConnect with navigation. The Xterra's dashboard has an intuitive layout of controls and knobs, but most surfaces are hard plastic and give the SUV a basic, dressed-down look and feel.

Read more about Xterra interior »

Used 2014 Nissan Xterra Prices

Average prices for a 2014 Xterra range from about $16,300 for a base model to around $24,200 for a Pro-4X version. Actual listings will depend on the SUV's features, mileage, condition, and location.

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We Did the Research for You: 80 Reviews Analyzed

Our used car rankings and reviews are based on safety and reliability data, total ownership costs, and the opinions of professional test drivers. We analyzed 80 published testimonies for this 2014 Nissan Xterra review.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking and reviewing vehicles for 10 years, and our editorial staff has decades of experience writing about cars. We don’t accept expensive incentives or gifts from car companies, so you can trust that our reviews are impartial. In addition, any ads you see on our pages are put there by a third party.

How Reliable Is the 2014 Nissan Xterra?

The 2014 Nissan Xterra has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power. The industry-wide average score is three out of five.

Read more about Xterra reliability »

How Safe Is the Xterra?

The 2014 Xterra gets marginal safety scores for its class. It earned three out of five stars in its sole National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test – the rollover evaluation. From the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Xterra received the highest rating of Good in the moderate overlap front test and side impact test. Scores go down from there, with a rating of Acceptable in the roof strength test and a Marginal in rear crash protection. A rearview camera is the only driver assistance feature available in the Xterra.

See Xterra safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Xterra?

The 2014 Xterra is part of the vehicle's second and final generation, which spans the 2005 through 2015 model years. The Xterra was refreshed for 2014 with some exterior style changes, as well as the addition of Bluetooth phone connectivity. There weren’t many other major changes over the previous few years of the Xterra, so you can likely get a similar vehicle for less money by choosing an older model.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Xterra »

Which Used Nissan Xterra Is Right for Me?

The 2014 Xterra is available in three trim levels: Nissan Xterra X, Nissan Xterra S, and Nissan Xterra Pro-4X. Unless you’re really on a budget, you should skip the base model and its spartan list of features. The midrange Xterra S is a better value, as it adds features like a display audio screen, satellite radio, and an auxiliary input. Still, some features can only be found in the Pro-4X, such as leather, heated seats, a rearview camera, navigation, and a fold-flat passenger seat that increases cargo capacity.

Though the Xterra has decent reliability, you may want to check out a certified pre-owned model for added peace of mind. 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 »

2014 Nissan Xterra and Other SUVs to Consider

Which Is Better: 2014 Nissan Xterra or 2014 Toyota 4Runner?

Along with the Xterra, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few true off-roaders in the midsize SUV class. The 4Runner gets slightly lower safety and reliability scores, and though it has a powerful engine, an inefficient automatic transmission limits its potential. Both of these rivals have a rough ride for a daily driver and are awash in low-quality cabin materials. The 4Runner comes standard with a third row, though it’s only suitable for children. Its average prices are about $10,000 more than the Nissan’s, making the Xterra the better buy.  

Which Is Better: 2014 Nissan Xterra or 2014 Nissan Pathfinder?

Though the Xterra and the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder are in the same class, they are designed to appeal to different shoppers. The Pathfinder boasts three spacious rows of seating and quality materials even in its base trim. Upper-range Pathfinders approach luxury territory. If you're looking for a roomy and comfortable daily driver, the Pathfinder could be a better choice than the truck-based Xterra. However, its V6 engine is noisy and can feel underpowered, especially when the vehicle is loaded with lots of people or cargo. The Pathfinder suffers from a low overall rating because of its abysmal reliability score, in contrast to the Xterra's above-average mark.

Compare the Xterra, 4Runner, and Pathfinder »

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