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 (9 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great vehicle if you need

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

I bought my Xterra with 4wd used in 2010, and have since had it for 2 and a half years. It has been a fantastic vehicle in terms of reliability and performance. The problem is the gas mileage. If you do not need to haul heavy things, pull large objects, or you do not frequently encounter bad weather, then I do not suggest this SUV. The back seat is cramped for adults, and the interior lacks a lot to be desired in terms of comfort. Combine those aspects with the very poor mpg, and it makes this SUV difficult to validate. HOWEVER... if you do need such a vehicle, I could not suggest a better one. The reliability is up there with Honda, and off road/ working performance is great.

9 of 16 people found this review helpful

2006 nissan xterra

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

33,000 miles, vehicle in distress Purchased - NEW The Nissan Xterra looks like a very nice SUV from the outside. But if you own one, you know that this vehicle has alot of problems that have not been fixed. Most common, are the front drive shaft U joints that go. NTBS has issued warnings as for front wheel bearings which include the front U joints. No recall issued by Nissan, not under any warranty Tension arm blew at 7000 miles, started blew at 22000 miles, now front u joints at 33,000 miles. Very nice vehicle if you like to restore cars Don't buy this vehicle years 2005 to 2009

Repairs have been painful

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

My Xterra is only 4 years old and Ive had to replace the fuel sensor (a year and a half before the recall) and now the radiator. Thank goodness I was able to get the full sensor reimbursement from Nissan but I pretty much had to call and threaten to file a written complaint just to get it. I have always enjoyed having Nissan cars but this is becoming painful and expensive. I wanna hang in there with my "black beauty" but one more major repair and well have to part ways (bye).

Plenty happy

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

Bought brand new and this X has never disappointed! Taken it cross country (NC-OR, NC-AZ) 3 times and have never had one issue! Rides like a truck and thats what I wanted. The factory suspension in the rear is lacking and bottoms out fairly easy. Easy fix with some good Timbren bumpstops. Have never had a major issue with it yet, just routine maintenance. Fuel economy is average but thats what is expected from a 265HP 4x4. If you want to wheel your rig hard then expect the front diff to fail since they are weak and you will most likely have warranty issues from the dealer if they know you go wheeling. Overall It is a great truck and I love mine!

Function over form

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

Had it for 10 months (17,000 mi), and I love it just as much as the day I drove it off the lot. This vehicle is for "outdoorsy" pragmatists who crave functionality and are willing to give up some bells and whistles (leather, GPS, etc.) for performance at a great price. Other than lack of auxiliary jack, gas mileage (I get 17 city/20 hwy) is only real drawback, but you get a whole lot of performance for it. Many have knocked all the hard plastic in the cockpit, but I'd rather have extra money in my wallet than upgraded trim. The Xterra offers excellent visibility, ground clearance, handling, and acceleration, which make it fun to drive both on and off-road. The consumer ratings say it all.

Great suv

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

I recently purchased my Xterra, so I do not know much about "true" reliability yet. My experience so far has not had anything to suggest that reliability will be poor, so I am giving it the benefit of the doubt in that area. The Xterra has done exactly what I have asked it to do so far. I have put 1600 miles on the vehicle in a short time. In that time I have been impressed by the ground clearance as well as overall 4X4 capability. The Xterra was able to go places that other vehicles couldn't (or wouldn't). I was able to pull a full size truck out of the mud with no trouble at all (the truck was stuck in a stretch of mud that the Xterra just went through). Has full size power, midsize thirst!

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.


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.


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

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Gas Mileage


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