2006 Nissan Xterra SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Nissan Xterra SUV

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Nissan Xterra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 265 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Nissan Xterra

  • Hard-core all the way down to its fully boxed frame, the spartan 2006 Nissan Xterra should be a good fit for budget-minded buyers seeking maximum utility and off-road capability.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    One of the most powerful V6s in the class, above average off-road capability, solid passenger room, innovative cargo features.

  • Cons

    Still not what we would call refined on the street, lots of hard plastic in the cabin.

  • What's New for 2006

    For 2006, a new entry-level X model debuts, and the Power package is now standard on the S trim. All models get a lighted locking glovebox.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (5 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


After extensive testing....

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my X in June of 07 with 18,000 miles on it. Since then, I have driven this thing almost 30,000 miles, from Chicago, to northern Michigan, to Myrtle Beach, to northern Ohio, in light floods, blizzards, and sand. No trouble digging itself out of 3 foot snow drifts, even a 4 foot ditch (when I was stupid, and turned the traction control off). Wonderful comfort and easy to pack for long trips. I tested the "top impact" rating with a telephone pole last winter. (Black ice, my fault, not the X's.) Kept me and my passengers safe, roof held up no problem. Holds up very well in heavy summer traffic, 30 below temps, blizzards, floods, and anything else you can think of to throw at it.



4 of 5 people found this review helpful

Less enthusiastic than most

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I bought the OR model to use off road after driving an '88 4x4 Pathfinder for 342K miles (great vehicle!) By comparison, the Xterra rides like a buckboard & handles like a baby buggy on mountain roads (mushy steering, feels unstable - tho it might not be). Can't get rid of constant squeaking from under carriage, despite 4 trips to the dealer. Unnecessarily tall inside (about same capacity as old Pathfinder, so why?). Worse mileage than advertised, poorly engineered cruise control.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Terrific all round vehicle for the mountainous Western US. Performs well in snow and semi-desert conditions. Gas mileage is not terrific. Comfortable off road and excellent handling in all conditions. Replaced an excellent 1986 Toyota 4x4 Land Cruiser Diesel w/ 200,000 plus miles. I expect the same with this.




Puts the s and u

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Tried a 1st gen Xterra a couple of years ago and was unimpressed. Cool styling, but too noisy inside, gutless (even the S/C model), and crude overall. Great off-road, though. The new X is nothing like its predecessor. It still has the OR chops, but its refinement is a quantum leap ahead of Gen 1. I am impressed with its quietness on the highway. Ride quality is firm but fairly smooth. Sharp handling, fun to drive, plenty o' power. A great cruiser, yet also a bona fide off-roader--NOT a quasi-SUV wannabe. A great choice if you have only one vehicle for commuting AND playing in the dirt. Be prepared at the gas pump, though--so far I average 17 mpg (90% highway) on winter gas.




Love it!

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Vehicle: 2006 Nissan Xterra Off-Road 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

After owning several Pathfinders I decided to go with the Xterra, and I'm loving it! It handles more like a car than a truck and feels very sturdy on the road. Decided on the automatic instead of the 6 speed, with the 265 HP there is plenty of power. I've taken it off-road twice and it handled amazing well.



Full 2006 Nissan Xterra Review

What's New for 2006

For 2006, a new entry-level X model debuts, and the Power package is now standard on the S trim. All models get a lighted locking glovebox.

Introduction

When the Nissan Xterra was introduced as a 2000 model, the strangely styled off-road-oriented sport-ute was priced to compete with car-based SUVs, yet it packed the rugged body-on-frame construction and hefty drivetrain of a larger and more expensive truck-based hauler. Nissan's idea was to build an SUV for younger, more active people who needed the space and versatility of a large vehicle but wanted to look edgy and cool when they pulled up to the lake or off-road trails. While it sold well initially, the first Nissan Xterra did have a few glaring deficiencies. The bare interior was composed mostly of hard plastic panels, the ride was jarring and, with only 170 horsepower on tap, the diminutive V6 barely had enough oats to propel the midsize SUV around town. Nissan attempted to fix these flaws when the Xterra underwent a midcycle redesign in 2002, adding a supercharger to improve performance.

With steady sales and an established image for the Xterra, Nissan didn't want to rock the boat when it redesigned its entry-level SUV for 2005. At first glance, the new model looks very similar to the previous version, yet there isn't a single part carried over from the old platform. The front end has been styled to match the rest of the Nissan truck lineup, but the rest of the exterior looks much more evolutionary than revolutionary. Giant fender flares? Check. Kicked-up roofline? Check. Tubular roof rack and lumpy rear hatch complete with first aid kit? Check and check. The vehicle's overall length is basically unchanged yet the wheelbase has been stretched by 2 inches. This not only netted a tighter look but also improves ramp angles for increased off-road clearance and performance. Speaking of off-road prowess, the Nissan Xterra climbs like a rabid mountain goat thanks to an all-new chassis with fully boxed frame rails and a powerful new heart, a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 265 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Once again, both a five-speed automatic and a six-speed manual are available.

For safety's sake, four-wheel antilock disc brakes are now standard, and stability control system is offered as an option. Interior features include adjustable tie-down hooks in the cargo area, plenty of storage up front and an optional 300-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system. Safety-conscious buyers will be happy to note that in addition to the optional stability control system, the Xterra also offers front-seat side-impact airbags as well as side curtain airbags that protect both rows of seats. Compared to car-based SUVs like the CR-V or Escape, the Xterra's on-pavement performance is not as refined or comfortable, but if serious off-roading is part of your daily routine, the 2006 Nissan Xterra is one of the better compact SUVs on the market. It also has solid 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 four-door Nissan Xterra is available in four trim levels -- X, S, Off-Road and SE, all of which are offered in both two- and four-wheel drive. The base X comes with basic features like air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel and a CD player. The S adds cruise control and power windows, locks and mirrors. The Off-Road model includes high-performance gas shocks, off-road tires on alloy wheels and skid plates; 4WD versions also get a locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist. The SE loses the Off-Road's hard-core equipment but adds upgraded interior trim and a 300-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with nine speakers, MP3 capability and steering wheel-mounted controls.

Powertrains and Performance

All Nissan Xterra models feature a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 265 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque, generous figures for this class. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional. Four-wheel-drive versions use a multimode transfer case that offers 2WD and automatic 4WD modes, in addition to low-range gearing, for maximum flexibility in varying conditions.

Safety

All Xterras come equipped with stability control and four-wheel antilock disc brakes fortified with EBD and brake assist. Side-impact airbags (for front occupants) and full-length side curtain airbags are optional. In NHTSA testing, the Nissan Xterra earned four out of five stars for its protection of front occupants in head-on impacts. Five stars were awarded for protection of both front and rear occupants in side-impact crashes.

Interior Design and Special Features

Although there's more hard plastic than we'd like, the interior stays true to its function-over-form mission, and the ergonomics are solid. The cargo area is highlighted by an easy-to-clean floor and a total of 10 cargo area utility hooks -- six on the floor/sides and four on the ceiling and sides (floor hooks can carry up to 110 pounds). An adjustable channel system in the cargo floor, similar in design to the system offered on the Titan and Frontier pickups, makes it easier to secure bike racks and other gear. There's also an available built-in first aid kit and space to securely carry jugs up to one gallon in size.

Driving Impressions

With more than enough power under the hood, the Xterra is no longer plagued by sluggish performance on the street. Its truck chassis still doesn't deliver the sharp handling that a car chassis would, but it's an acceptable trade-off, given its above-average off-road prowess. If you never plan on leaving the street, there are certainly better compact SUVs on the market, but if off-highway weekend adventures call your name often, the 2006 Nissan Xterra is now a much more capable and willing participant than ever before.

Talk About The 2006 Xterra

Read more about the 2006 Nissan Xterra

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 14
  • cty
/
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs