2008 Nissan Xterra SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Nissan Xterra SUV

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Nissan Xterra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 261 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Nissan Xterra

  • The 2008 Nissan Xterra is perfect for budget-minded SUV buyers who want a high degree of off-road ability but not at the expense of daily driver usability and comfort.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Excellent off-road capabilities, powerful V6, thoughtful cargo-area features.

  • Cons

    Low-quality interior plastics, soft brake pedal.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Nissan Xterra gets only a few trim upgrades this year. Mechanically, the truck remains unchanged. X models now get standard power features, remote keyless entry and cruise control. There's also a new Technology Package featuring Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio pre-wiring (automatic-transmission models only), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (3 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Excellent suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra X 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I have owned this xterra for a year now, and I must say it is absolutely wonderful! It has great power, handles excellent, it is very durable, and I have not had one problem with it. I must also say the sound system is excellent too! The gas mileage is not too bad for a suv, I get 22 mpg on the highway and around 18 mpg in city driving. As far as comfort it is good if you do not frequently drive long distances. It does well in the snow, and the heat is great, as well as the air conditioning is great too! Over all it is a excellent vehicle !




Could not be better

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra X 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Excellent vehicle quality. Very fun to drive. High visibility and very stylish. I use to drive a Jetta which is very compact. Before that I had a Ford Excursion, very comfortable, but terrible gas mileage. I am very happy with this vehicle so far.




Lots of truck for the

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra X 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

We've always been a Nissan family and bought our latest two, an '07 Sentra S (my daily driver) and '06 Xterra Off-Road (spouse's daily driver), in 10/06. While I rarely drove the Xterra, I loved being high up and having power to spare when I did, so much in fact that I just traded my Sentra for a '08 Xterra. Even the base trim offers great bang for the buck. The 4.0L V6 is a beast, the 5 spd A/T meshes well with it, and it came with standard features that not even my S trim Sentra came with, including cruise, ABS, VDC and EBD (traction control). It's my first SUV and my first RWD vehicle, but its dimensions are easy to acclimate to, and its handling, though still SUV- like, is quite confident.



Full 2008 Nissan Xterra Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Nissan Xterra gets only a few trim upgrades this year. Mechanically, the truck remains unchanged. X models now get standard power features, remote keyless entry and cruise control. There's also a new Technology Package featuring Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio pre-wiring (automatic-transmission models only), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Introduction

The 2008 Nissan Xterra is an SUV that's made to go off-road. That may seem like an obvious statement, but today's SUV shopper faces an ever-expanding mix of traditional truck-based models and car-based crossover versions. The Xterra is all truck, and that makes it very capable when the pavement ends. In short, the Xterra is an SUV for buyers who like the crunch of gravel under their tires.

On four-wheel-drive models, the Xterra's off-road prowess comes thanks to 9.5 inches of ground clearance and underbody components that are neatly tucked above the frame. There's also a rear differential that locks at the push of a button and, as with any true off-roader, ultralow gearing. Electronic Hill Descent control can keep the Xterra's speed in check when moving down those steep hills, and Hill Start Assist keeps you from rolling backward if you come to a stop going up a steep hill.

On the pavement, the 2008 Nissan Xterra is not as refined as the latest crossover SUVs. But its ride is decent enough that using it every day won't try your patience. Even long road trips are feasible and comfortable. The Xterra's rack-and-pinion steering is precise, and its 4.0-liter V6 provides a satisfying amount of power. A soft brake pedal feel is the vehicle's only significant driving weakness.

This isn't to say it's an ideal choice for everybody. If your idea of roughing it is staying at a hotel without room service, the Xterra might not be for you. You'd probably be better off with a car-based crossover SUV like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. And competitors like the Toyota FJ Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited offer their own set of advantages. But if you crave adventure and need an affordable vehicle that does well on and off the blacktop, the Nissan Xterra is an excellent choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Buyers of the midsize, five-passenger 2008 Nissan Xterra SUV have a choice of four trim levels -- X, S, SE and Off-Road. The first three are offered in both two- and four-wheel drive, while the Off-Road is offered in four-wheel drive only. The base X comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, remote keyless entry and a CD player. The S adds alloy wheels, step rails, a multiadjustable driver seat and an easy-to-clean cargo area with enhanced tie-down points.

The Xterra Off-Road model includes high-performance gas shock absorbers, off-road tires on special wheels, skid plates, a locking rear differential and a fold-flat front passenger seat. The SE loses the Off-Road's hard-core equipment but adds 17-inch alloy wheels, upgraded interior trim, Bluetooth, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a nine-speaker 300-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system (with MP3 capability, an auxiliary jack and steering-wheel-mounted controls). Most of the SE's extra equipment can be added to the Off-Road trim as part of the Technology Package.

Powertrains and Performance

All Nissan Xterra models feature a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque, generous figures for this class. On all models except the SE, a six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. For the SE, the automatic is standard and the manual is optional. In testing, we've found that a 4WD Xterra can do zero to 60 in a quick 7.6 seconds.

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. Fuel economy for a 4WD 2008 Xterra stands at 16 mpg city, 20 highway. The city mileage estimate drops to 14 mpg when it's equipped with an automatic transmission.

Safety

All Xterras come equipped with stability control and antilock disc brakes. Side-impact airbags (for front occupants) and full-length side curtain airbags are optional. Four-wheel-drive Xterras also have Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist.

In government crash testing, the 2008 Nissan Xterra earned four out of five stars for its protection of front occupants in head-on impacts. Side-impact tests resulted in a five-star rating for both front and rear outboard occupants. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Xterra earned a "Good" rating -- the highest possible for frontal offset crash protection. In side impact crash tests the Xterra earned a "Good" rating as well; however, that goes down to "Marginal" without the optional side airbags.

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 (on all but the X trim) by an easy-to-clean floor and a total of 10 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 1 gallon in size.

Driving Impressions

With 261 hp under the hood, the 2008 Nissan Xterra offers brisk performance on the street. Solid steering feel and a lack of excessive body roll make for a confident feel on pavement. Yes, its truck chassis doesn't deliver the sharp handling or refined ride that a car-based crossover SUV would, but it's an acceptable trade-off given the Xterra's above-average ability off-road. The Xterra's rugged enthusiasm for conquering trails is due mainly to the engine's low-end grunt, the generous ground clearance and the ample wheel articulation.

Talk About The 2008 Xterra

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

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