Used 2003 Nissan Xterra Consumer Reviews - 154 Car Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 Nissan Xterra - Consumer Reviews

2003 Nissan Xterra

Average Consumer Rating

154 Total Reviews

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Best vehicle I've ever owned
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By masterelrond
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Last year, I got a job that required a long commute, and had to get rid of my 2003 Xterra. I really miss that SUV, by far the best vehicle I've ever owned. The only maintenance that was ever required was the scheduled maintenance, I never had a single problem with it that required fixing. It drove smooth, and was surprisingly quiet for an SUV. The V6 engine was very powerful, as we towed and carried many loads across the US without even straining it, there was always more power than we needed. By the time I traded it in after 7 years of driving, the paint was still perfect, the suspension was perfect, the engine was perfect, and the interior looked brand new. I really miss that Xterra. :(


Best Features

Powerful engine, great stereo system, comfortable seats, plenty of space in the cargo area, lots of legroom, that awesome Xterra yellow!


Worst Features

The reason I got rid of my Xterra was because it got 19mpg and gas prices were rising at the time, and I have a very long commute. That is the only negative I can think of for this vehicle. If it got 51mpg like my new Prius, I'd definitely still have it!


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Mountain Goat
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By tommy2cat
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5M)


Review

I love this vehicle.
Exterior silver w/brush guards, roof rack w/tray.
Interior rare black leather interior w/heated seats. Kids love visibility from tiered second row. Rear compartment provides plenty of storage for baseball equipment, etc.

Added Bilstein shocks to smooth ride.
Adding catback & CAI to address substandard fuel economy & provide boost to slightly underpowered 3.3 liter engine. An issue, not a problem. Currently 20/17 mpg w/conservative use.

Handles blizzards with confidence. Climbed NYC snowbank to create parking spot!

Nissan should consider turbo diesel engine for this tree-climbing Billy Goat. Love it


Best Features

Front and rear visibility, turning radius, off-road agility, reliability, manual transmission, interior/exterior storage, large center console, multiple 12 volt outlets, leg and head room, superior inclement weather performer. I like the 2003 model better than the 2005 model in appearance.


Worst Features

Fuel economy; however, this is a real SUV with a truck platform. Conservative driving habits & exhaust modifications eliminate the issue. HVAC/Stereo layout a bummer for in-dash DVD navigation unit. Nissan inverted units in 2005 & newer models. Nissan addressed performance in '05 models by adding 4.0 liter 262 horsepower engine. Would prefer a turbo diesel engine for the Xterra, which are available overseas. A TDI would truly make this the Uber vehicle for the new millenium.


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Will NOT let this one go!!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By teague250
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)


Review

I've owned my 2003 Xterra since new in 2003 and I can't say enough good things about this vehicle. Eight years of ownership, driven every day, long trips, short trips, on light trails and pavement. Knock sensor went bad at 92,000 miles. That's it...........my only repair. Of course there is the standard replacements, like air filter, oil changes and brakes, but the knock sensor has been the only mechanical failure. Oh yeah, I got 74,000 out of the front pads and the rear pads still look great at 105,000 miles.
My daughter is turning 16 in a few months and this will be her vehicle. I feel very confident that this vehicle will provide her with safe, reliable transportation for years to come.


Best Features

If your looking for raw power.....get something else. Engine lacks pickup but pulls my loaded trailer very well. My favorite about my xterra: -Very tight cabin. No rattles or squeaks even at 105,000 -Stereo is very nice, and I'm an audio freak -Suspension is fantastic. Those short, choppy breaking bumps on dirt roads......you don't even notice them -Braking is fantastic for such a large, heavy vehicle and pads/shoes have lasted forever!


Worst Features

If I had to make an improvement to this 2003 Xterra it would be more power from the 3.3L engine. Like I said before, it has plenty of low end torque for pulling........but no acceleration. Maybe a little more room on the drivers side. Gas milage? When I bought it gas milage wasn't a big issue. 18 mpg was fine. 8 years later I still get 18 mpg which is a compliment to the vehicle, however, now at 3.79 a gallon........I wish it was better. Overall, I couldn't ask for a vehicle to serve my family better. I have no complaints at all. It'll be in my family until I have no choice but to let it go. Thanks Nissan.......you've earned a lifelong customer!


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Xterra
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By cogmeyer
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Xterra XE 4WD 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5M)


Review

Our Xterra new in '03 had major mech issues right away. Dealer would not admit the engine knock until 20K when it got really severe. Horrible experience dealing with dealer and Nissan USA to get new engine approved, they held the vehicle for weeks before starting work even though parts were at the local distro hub. This turned me off from Nissan forever. Also had bearing in rear diff fail at 8k miles, replaced under warranty no prob, but weird to have this many issues. Since, the Xterra has been quite reliable to current 90k miles. Several leaks (oil pan, valve cover) which are due to the eng replacement at 20ku, but nothing severe. Looks and runs great now


Best Features

Off Road cap, roof rack, great stereo, good reliability (after severe initial issues)


Worst Features

Poor mileage (17-19 for a 180 hp eng?), poor ride (even by 4x4 standards - much better now with Bilsteins) Lots of rattles from day1. Wind noise.


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Disappointed
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Disappointed
on

Vehicle

2003 Nissan Xterra SE S/C 4WD 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl S/C 4A)


Review

I have just over 99,000 miles on my Xterra, and I have already had to replace a cracked exhaust manifold and the supercharger. Now I am being told that the head gasket is leaking. I love the styling and capability of the Xterra, but I have been very disappointed by the reliability. I don't know if the 3.3 liter engine was not properly designed for the stresses associated with the supercharger, but it has definitely not lived up to my expectations.


Best Features

Off road capability; interior space; VDC


Worst Features

Better engine reliability; paint tends to chip easily; better mileage


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