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 (15 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Great mid-sized suv

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

I bought a 2004 Xterra brand new and it was a great car until a patch of black ice and a telephone pole last week. Very safe vehicle, as I was uninjured from the crash. I had racked up close to 170,000 miles without any major issues, just your usual suspects (brakes, tires, etc.). Engine and transmission were still running great. The only thing I had noticed was the heater/AC blower motor would only work on high (seems to be a recurring Nissan problem, I've had it happen to 2 other Nissans). Other than that, a great car! I'm seriously considering buying another one to replace it.

Gotta love it

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

I love my truck. Its rough but its not meant for comfort. Nothing i cant go over and nothing i cant clear. TIGHT vehicle. Its a gasaholic. I knew that though when i bought it. Everything i would want such as more storage and easier fold down rear were addressed in the second generation model. Its a Ballsy Truck.

Head liner

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

I bought my Nissan Xterra 05/24/04 brand new. My headliner is falling down on my head, I have to pin it up with tacks. I have noticed other Xterras in parking lots and most of them have the same problem. The glue on the headliner was not designed for Florida heat and this is a manufactor problem. Wrote Nissan but have not received a response

Strong @ kind

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

I just love my x-terra, my wife is the lucky one, she drives most the time, now i have a 16 y old daughter driving, she doesn't wanna drive my old car, and i understand that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

T's "terra"

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

I LOVE IT! I LOVE IT! I've driven Nissans before and I always said that I would get another one. I went to the dealership to get an Altima and left with an Xterra. It is SHARP,CUTE and I know for a fact that all nissans are dependable. I have been looking at the Xterra since it came out in 2000. I have always adored it. It has great storage the seats letting down was also a perk. To me, it's a step down from the Armada. Yes, I said it. I have teenage and a school age children, plus a dog and we all love it. Try cruising in it on a pretty Spring day and everybody has a window. Then you will know what you are missing. This is 1 SUV that is worth the money. I chose this over Honda HAPPILY!!!

Gas mileage sucks

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

This car is good for getting from point a to point b but anything else it lacks. You can get a better deal on a nicer suv. The car is actually not bad to drive but severely lacks in power and gas mileage. The most I have gotten in mileage on the road is 18 with cruise control at 65-70. At gas prices today, I would get another suv that's nicer even though they get the same mileage.

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