What Are The Best & Worst Years For The Nissan Xterra? [My Honest Review]

Are Nissan Xterras good cars? Read my guide to find out which years are good and bad

The Nissan Xterra is a compact SUV that was first introduced in the United States in 1999. The SUV was produced until 2015, and the halt in production was something many people disliked.

The Nissan Xterra was built with the idea of being an off-road vehicle, and many people have used it as a workhorse for outdoor activities.

The Nissan Xterra is a solid SUV but is far from being a perfect one. This article discussing the best and worst years for Nissan Xterra would not have existed if it was perfect.

A total of 10 models will be discussed here, with five falling in each category.

Let’s take a look at them first:

Worst Years for Nissan Xterra:

  1. 2004
  2. 2005
  3. 2006
  4. 2007
  5. 2008

Best Years for Nissan Xterra:

  1. 2009
  2. 2010
  3. 2013
  4. 2014
  5. 2015

Yes, all of these models will be discussed in proper detail, so you can know better why they are so good or bad.

If you are serious about buying this SUV, I suggest not skipping over any article content.

So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.

What Are The Worst Years For The Nissan Xterra? Which Years To Avoid

If you’re in the market for a used Nissan Xterra, you’ve probably heard a lot of conflicting advice about which model years are the worst.

Instead of going with your gut, read this section, and then you will finally be able to make an informed decision regarding your purchase.

1. 2004 Nissan Xterra

The 2004 Nissan Xterra is the oldest model on this list and is not the worst. But it does have its issues.

We’ll start with the coolant leaks. It seems like if there’s one thing you don’t want to have to happen to your car, it’s a coolant leak.

This can lead to overheating, which could cause serious damage to your engine and other parts of your vehicle.

The suspension also tends to be loose, which can cause problems with tire wear and alignment issues.

Finally, this model reports transmission failure, so you’ll want to watch it if you decide to purchase this model.

2. 2005 Nissan Xterra

The 2005 Nissan Xterra is the worst model of the SUV present on this list. It is a bad SUV for many reasons, but one of the biggest issues is its many transmission issues.

The worst of these problems is radiator leaks leading to transmission failure. This happens often, and if you own this SUV, you need to get it fixed immediately.

There were also reports of issues with major parts of the engine, such as the timing chain.

Not only that, but the 2005 model would also stall on the road, which is something extremely dangerous.

3. 2006 Nissan Xterra

The 2006 Nissan Xterra was a huge disappointment. Nissan did nothing to alleviate the issues present in the 2005 model and released a 2006 one with similar transmission issues.

The coolant would leak into the transmission, leading to the system’s complete failure. The timing chain was also prone to failure, which could be costly to repair.

The check engine light would be on most of the time, which may lead you to believe something is wrong with your engine. It does not end there.

The fuel gauge also tended to be inaccurate. This means the gauge could show fuel present while the actual levels might be close to empty!

4. 2007 Nissan Xterra

The 2007 Nissan Xterra carried the same issues as its predecessor, including the most reported transmission issues.

The coolant leaking into the transmission, cause overheating and other problems. Surprisingly, such a major issue was not fixed by Nissan for years.

The timing chain would also fail due to premature wear and tear, causing loss of power and other issues.

There were reports of a faulty fuel gauge sensor present as well. All of these issues are pretty serious.

So, I would recommend that you don’t buy this model as owning it will be nothing but a headache.

5. 2008 Nissan Xterra

The 2008 Nissan Xterra is one of the better models on this list. It was a nice SUV with lots of power and a great look. However, it still had many issues that made buying less than desirable.

The transmission problems were still present, in which the coolant would leak into the system, leading to complete failure.

Another issue was the timing chain. It would wear out extremely quickly. Finally, the engine would cold knock, which could have resulted in engine damage.

This model may be better than the others on this list, but it is still one that I will not recommend to you.

What Are The Best Years For The Nissan Xterra? Which Years To Buy

You may already know which models of the Nissan Xterra to avoid. Well, I am not going to leave you hanging like that.

Now, I will share the best models of the Nissan Xterra. These models have been truly tried and tested, so there is no risk of anything with them.

I don’t expect you to take me at my word. Read below to judge for yourself.

1. 2009 Nissan Xterra

If you’re looking for a vehicle with all the power of a V6 engine and the ability to go off-roading, the 2009 Nissan Xterra is a great choice.

It also has plenty of space for your gear, so you can bring everything you need on your next adventure.

But it’s not perfect: The 2009 Xterra has subpar fuel economy compared to other SUVs in its class, and it doesn’t have as many features as other SUVs on the market.

Still, it is way ahead of the models on the previous list. Nissan finally did fix these issues. They do say, “Better late than never!”

2. 2010 Nissan Xterra

The 2010 Nissan Xterra is a great model, and you should consider it.

This vehicle has excellent off-roading capabilities, making it a great choice for those who love to go on adventures in the wilderness or just want to get around dirt roads and other areas that might not be paved.

The V6 engine that can produce up to 261 HP is powerful enough for those who need something that can drive smoothly in all conditions.

Since this SUV has very versatile cargo space, you’ll be able to pack all your belongings into one place without worrying about whether or not they’ll fit.

3. 2013 Nissan Xterra

The 2013 Nissan Xterra is a good choice for people who want a vehicle that can handle off-roading. It’s very similar to the 2010 model, which is good.

The 4.0L V6 engine that can produce 261 HP and 281lb. ft of torque makes it great for off-roading and other outdoor activities.

People warmly welcomed the cargo features in this vehicle because it allows for easy storage of many items.

There are built-in storage spaces and tie-down points, which make hauling large and small cargo an effortless task.

4. 2014 Nissan Xterra

The 2014 Nissan Xterra is a vehicle that is great for off-roading. The V6 engine provides more than enough power for most drivers to get around.

Combine that with the SUV’s decent ride quality and you will certainly enjoy your trips wherever you go, whether on the road or off of it!

Nissan did not tinker with its formula, as this SUV was problem free. It’s similar to the previous model with minor improvements in handling.

This might be the one for you if you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle rough terrain without breaking down.

5. 2015 Nissan Xterra

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is a great choice for those who want a vehicle built for off-road use and has many safety features when things go wrong.

Nissan decided to end things by playing it safe with their final model.

The Xterra didn’t get any new bells or whistles, but it stayed true to its roots by being a capable, off-road vehicle designed for those who want adventure and don’t mind their routes.

Overall, this model is one that I will recommend to all of you because it is the most recent one and has had most of the issues ironed out.

How Reliable Is A Nissan Xterra?

The Nissan Xterra has been around since 2001 and has always been popular for drivers who want a little more than an SUV.

It is known for its reliability and ruggedness, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for an off-roading vehicle.

If you’re considering buying an older model Nissan Xterra, I suggest investing a bit more into a newer one. Older models were plagued with transmission issues.

On the other hand, newer models haven’t had nearly as many problems with reliability.

So, if you’re looking at buying a 2009 or later Nissan Xterra and plan to use it mostly off-road, you can rest assured that your new car will be reliable and ready for anything when you take it out.

How Long Do Nissan Xterras Last?

It’s no secret that the Nissan Xterra is a rugged, dependable SUV. They’re known for their off-road prowess and durability, but how long do they last?

No matter where you search, you will get a common answer: the Xterra will last for around 200,000 to 225,000 miles—but you have to wonder if that’s impressive, considering this SUV is designed to be tough.

Apart from the advertised number, it’s not surprising that some people are still rocking their Xterra’s with more than 300,000 miles on the odometer.

So, you can expect this SUV to last you for a long time.

What To Do To Lengthen The Life Of Your Nissan Xterra

If you want to lengthen the life of your Nissan Xterra, there are a few things you can do:

  • The fuel filter should be changed every 30,000 miles.
  • This will help ensure that there are no contaminants in the fuel system, which could cause damage to the engine and other parts of your vehicle.
  • The most important thing you can do to lengthen the life of your vehicle is to get regular service.
  • This means that you should take it in for maintenance at least every 20,000 miles, or according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
  • Tires need to be rotated every 5000 miles. Rotating tires helps them wear evenly, which makes them last longer than if they were left on one side of the vehicle only.

These are some of the many tips that can be followed, in order to make sure that your Nissan Xterra’s engine can last for as long as possible.

After all, who wouldn’t want the SUV to cross that sweet 300000 mile mark.

Things That Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Nissan Xterra

There are a few things that can shorten the lifespan of your Nissan Xterra.

  • If you have to replace parts on your Nissan Xterra, be sure to find ones that are high in quality and will last for years.
  • If you don’t, you’ll end up having to replace them and the labor costs can add up quickly. These parts can also adversely affect other ones too.
  • When you buy new tires for your Nissan Xterra, they should be aligned correctly so they wear evenly over time and don’t cause unnecessary wear on other parts of the car’s suspension system.
  • Failure to properly align your tires could lead to premature failure of those tires as well as other suspension components such as tie rods and ball joints.
  • The braking system on any vehicle wears out over time if it’s not taken care of properly so when stepping. So, make sure you slow down to a stop in a proper fashion.

3 Most Common Nissan Xterra Problems You Should Know

The Nissan Xterra has been around since 2001, and there are some common problems that have cropped up over the years.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most common issues:

1. Coolant Leaks

The coolant leak is the first and most common problem you should know when buying a used Nissan Xterra.

This can cause your engine to overheat and damage the engine. You may also notice your car stalling if you have a coolant leak.

This problem was mostly present in the 2005 to 2008 models of the Nissan Xterra.

The issue is quite serious because the engine’s lifespan can be reduced significantly. Plus, it can also lead to transmission issues, ironically, the next problem on this list.

2. Transmission Issues

Another common problem with the 2005-2008 Nissan Xterra models is transmission failure due to leaking coolant.

If there’s too much pressure in the transmission, then it can cause failure.

If this happens, you might notice some strange noises coming from under your hood, so take it to a mechanic right away if this happens!

Transmission issues are not cheap to fix. If the system fails, the only thing to do is to replace it entirely.

The cost for that can be in the thousands of dollars. So, you should always be aware of the problem, especially if you own an older SUV model.

3. Faulty Fuel Level Sensor

If your Nissan Xterra is not giving you the correct fuel level reading, the problem could be with the fuel level sensor.

This component monitors how much fuel is left in your tank and communicates that information to your dashboard to see how much gas you have left.

There is a high chance of it failing, which will result in an inaccurate reading being shown.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is Nissan Xterra A Good SUV?

Nissan Xterra is a great SUV. It’s not one of the best SUVs, but it is still a solid vehicle. Recent models of it are a lot better.

There is even news of the SUV being released once again. There is hope it will be one of the best-rugged SUVs on the market.

Q2: Do Nissan Xterras Hold Their Value?

There aren’t many numbers out there that quantify the value of Nissan Xterras, but some reliable experts in the field have been able to track their trends and make educated guesses.

The general trend is that Nissan Xterras hold their value extremely well.

However, it’s worth noting that this trend will likely change once the newer models start coming out—after all, people always want what’s new.

Q3: How Many Nissan Xterras Have Been Sold?

The Nissan Xterra has been one of the most popular SUVs since its introduction in 2001.

Its popularity grew until 2005, when the SUV was at its height of its popularity.

Sales dropped drastically from 73,447 units sold in 2005 to only 10,672 units sold in 2015.

This massive difference is largely responsible for Nissan’s decision to stop manufacturing the SUV.

Q4: Which Nissan Xterra Engine Is The Most Reliable?

If you’re looking for a Nissan Xterra engine that is reliable and powerful, the 4.0L V6 is your best bet.

This engine was in the last few models of the SUV and could produce more than 250 HP!

If the engine is your primary focus, you should get a model released between 2011 and 2015.

Q5: Is Nissan Xterra Expensive To Maintain?

The Nissan Xterra is surprisingly cheap to maintain.

According to the various sources, which provide estimates for car maintenance costs based on service records from independent repair shops and dealerships, the average annual cost for maintaining a Nissan Xterra is $514.

This is lesser than the average for compact SUVs, which is $521. So, technically, the Xterra is cheaper to maintain.

Conclusion

The Nissan Xterra was a great vehicle for its time, but its time has come and gone.

In the not-too-distant future, we’ll look back fondly at this iconic SUV as one of the best-rugged SUVs ever made.

That may change if Nissan reverts its decision and rereleases the SUV in the future.

When you talk about the best and worst years for Nissan Xterra, the answer is simple: don’t buy models that are old.

Newer ones were much better, and you cannot go wrong with them.

I hope this article has all the information you need for you to finally make an informed decision to purchase this amazing SUV.

Written by Yusuke Kohara

Hi there! My name is Yusuke. I write about automotive topics for Car Proper. I love cars and have a passion for writing helpful articles on tools, car accessories, and how-to to help my readers solve their problems. In my spare time, I'm either working out, reading the book, or spending time with my family. I also work for a digital consulting agency.

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