2004 Nissan Xterra SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2004 Nissan Xterra SUV

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Nissan Xterra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 180 hp @ 4800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2004 Nissan Xterra

  • A truck-based compact sport-ute for those who actually plan to go off-roading. Those seeking a refined urban runabout should look elsewhere.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Rugged looks and the off-road capability to match, lots of room inside, solid construction.

  • Cons

    Sloppy on-road ride and steering, four-cylinder and standard V6 lack power, spartan cabin design.

  • What's New for 2004

    For 2004, 17-inch alloy wheels are now standard on non-supercharged SE models, and 16-inch, four-spoke alloys are standard on the XE-V6.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (18 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Xterra the best car ever

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I bought my xterra new and use it for work and do a lot of driving . I have 210,990 miles and do all the required maint. Oil every 4-5000 miles. Trans fluid every 50k. Tune-up was done at 150k w/timing belt. Didn't need water pump but changed it anyway. Shocks (factory stock at 40k not that good ) but since then) kyb's no prob!The only prob is break dust on front rims, hard to keep clean. Breaks every 30k easy to do my self. Engine strong overall very strong .

2004 xterra

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I was lucky to find and buy this Xterra with LOW mileage, so far runs great and I love it and in excellent condition!

Xterra makes for love/hate relationship!

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I have had my Xterra for about a month now and I am truly in a love hate relationship with it. I must say that I do "love it" much more than I hate it though. The power must be increased for this monster. The gas mileage must be worked on too, it really sucks to have poor mileage from a vehicle that has weak gittyup! I have to really step on it to make it get out of the blocks if I want to pass another car. Kinda wished I had waited to get the 05 model coming out nest year. Leg room is down right short for rear passengers. Front driver leg room can be improved too. I scrape my knees on the wheel each time I climb in even though the steering wheel is in the high tilt position.

Good suv for price

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I actually bought my Xterra in January of 2002, I have always loved the look of the Xterra. I have been nothing but pleased with driving this vehicle from the day I have owned it. Its a great ride, great in the snow. Its large enough for my needs such as my business and for piling in my two labs for a fun drive out. I have only found two things that I am not very happy with and that is the horsepower, sluggish on takeoff and the gas mileage for such a small V6. I however still give the Xterra my two thumbs up. Nissan did a great thing when they came up with the Xterra. Thanks Nissan.

Not well-rounded enough

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I bought the Nissan 6 months ago and have not been disappointed. It delivered its promise: cool exterior, great image and capable offroad. However anyone driving this thing around town, like I do should think twice. Ride is uncomfortable, at least compared to a CR-V fuel milage is poor and the worst thing is engine performance. Shortly, this vehicle is very slow! I'm glad Nissan will improve on that for 2005, because while the numbers are impressive on paper, this is a very heavy SUV and hence simply slow. Before you buy it, test drive a Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV-4 and Ford Escape. They cost about the same and should meet your needs just fine. Do not spend money on image alone!

Great for price, but...

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Vehicle: 2004 Nissan Xterra XE Rwd 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 4A)

I am a 27-year old male, living in LA. Commute's only a few miles away, never had a new car, always wanted an SUV, so I got the Xterra. Test drove several SUVs and while performance wise this would not be my first pick, for the price and the look I was sold. It fits me to a T this car. I got mine in black, it's rugged looking and compliments have been plenty. However the gas mileage is atrocious! On a 19 gallon tank, I've probably averaged somewhere between 210 - 240 miles before it starts to reach E. They can definitely do better than that. So while I'd recommend this car to the younger, hipster person w/ a short commute, it's not ideal for the practical crowd or folks w/ long commutes.

Full 2004 Nissan Xterra Review

What's New for 2004

For 2004, 17-inch alloy wheels are now standard on non-supercharged SE models, and 16-inch, four-spoke alloys are standard on the XE-V6.


Ever since the mid-'90s, compact SUVs have become a huge market. Most manufacturers offer one, and with so many available, it is often hard choosing which one is right for you. The majority of compact SUVs for sale in 2003 are so-called "crossover" SUVs, meaning that they are car-based rather than truck-based. The advantages to having a small crossover SUV are that they are comfortable to drive and possess secure handling characteristics. Nissan's Xterra, now in its fourth model year, is somewhat of a rarity. It is based on a real truck; namely, the Frontier compact pickup. Its wheelbase is shared with the Frontier, and so is the independent front suspension and leaf-spring and solid axle setup at the rear. As such, the Xterra (terra for the land it crosses and X for the generation it intends to target) is tailored to the outdoor enthusiast. Its spartan interior, bucking-bronco ride and utilitarian design are not focused on providing comfort for wide bottoms, though we still see it driven by middle-aged folks to Pottery Barn parking lots. The Xterra is extremely capable off-road; jam it into 4-Lo via the floor-mounted lever, and it bounds over rocks and gullies with abandon. But when compared to other SUVs like the Honda CR-V or Ford Escape, the Xterra's on-pavement performance seems sloppy and numb. It's also more expensive, especially with the higher trim levels. If you truly plan to get your future compact SUV dirty, though, the Xterra should be seriously considered. It has the right styling, the right attitude and the right hardware. It also has good build quality and a strong reputation for reliability, giving you peace of mind as you head out on your favorite trail.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Xterra is Nissan's compact SUV. There are four trim levels -- XE, XE-V6, SE-V6 and SE-Supercharged (S/C). Four-wheel drive is available with all of these, except the base XE. The base XE doesn't come with many standard features other than air conditioning and a CD player. The XE-V6 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, an extra pair of speakers (for a total of six) and a tilt steering wheel. Amenities like power windows and locks, remote keyless entry and cruise control are optional on both XE models. The SE and SE-S/C models add 17-inch wheels, tubular step bars and a 300-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with an in-dash CD changer. Options on both SE models include leather upholstery and a flip-up sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

Base XEs come with a 2.4-liter inline four that makes 143 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. As this truck weighs almost 3,600 pounds, acceleration is modest, at best. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with this engine. The larger 3.3-liter V6 makes 180 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque. SE-S/C models have an Eaton supercharger bolted on that boost horsepower to 210 and torque to 246. You can get a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic on the XE-V6, but all SEs and SE-S/Cs come with the automatic only. Four-wheel-drive Xterras have a part-time 4WD system with shift-on-the-fly capability. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds (with V6 and the automatic transmission), considerably more than that of most crossover SUVs.


All Xterras have antilock brakes (front discs and rear drums) with EBD. In the backseat, the center position has a lap belt only. Side curtain airbags, an unusual feature for this class of vehicle, are optional. So is VDC, Nissan's stability control system, and it's offered on all V6 models. In NHTSA side-impact testing, the Xterra received four stars (out of a possible five) for front-occupant safety and five stars for the rear. Front-impact safety is rated at four stars. The IIHS rated the Xterra "Acceptable" (the second highest) after performing its frontal offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

Young, active folks won't have any trouble hopping up or down from the Xterra's high seats, nor will they object to the thin cushions they find there, but others will likely wish for cushier chairs and easier access. The dash is comprised of quality materials and the quasi-industrial look of the switchgear fits the vehicle-as-tool theme. Maximum capacity is 65.6 cubic feet, an average figure for a compact SUV.

Driving Impressions

The Xterra looks sort of cool and is a blast off-road. But the soft and sloppy suspension is certainly no joy on the pavement, allowing excessive body roll. The steering is also heavily boosted and gives little feedback to the driver. As you would expect, Xterras with the supercharged V6 offer the best acceleration. The supercharger whine sounds exhilarating, and there is plenty of thrust in first gear; although, much like the standard V6, the supercharged engine runs out of steam at freeway speeds.

Talk About The 2004 Xterra

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs