2010 Nissan Xterra SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 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 261 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2010 Nissan Xterra

  • The 2010 Nissan Xterra may lack the funky styling and unique features of its off-road competitors, but it's the easiest to live with on those days when you're not rock crawling and mud splashing.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Serious off-road prowess, powerful V6, innovative cargo features, most livable truck in its class.

  • Cons

    Unimpressive interior materials, mushy brake pedal.

  • What's New for 2010

    Most of the Nissan Xterra's previously optional features are now standard equipment for 2010.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)

Love my little beast!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I have always been a truck/lrg.SUV person and planned on buying another GMC, but they seem to make all these new Make/Models so ridiculously bulky that I debated for 2 years. I looked at every truck and SUV, it was like Goldilocks and The 3 Bears. This one is to small, this one is to big, this one is too sissy, this one is too boring, then finally Ah this one feels just right. I went shopping with my son who bought an Xterra. Within a week I loved it so much I bought one, and within a week after that my brother-in-law loved ours so much he bought one. Now we are planning some kewl family Off-roading trips. The SE is fun and sporty, yet classy enough for a night out on the town. I Love it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great driving suv

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Replaced a 97 4Runner with a 2010 Xterra. Had my doubts initially, but after 3 months I am sold! I'm 6'5" and fit comfortably. Lots of cargo room. Great visibility, and really responsive steering. More fun to drive than the 4Runner was. At 178" it is easy to park and maneuver in tight surroundings. Smooth transmission, smooth ride, and quieter than I was expecting. Love the fact that the rear seats fold flat. No regrets.

Nice simple truck

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

We have had the Xterra for 6 months now, and it has been great. It has great power for an SUV, and is pretty roomy inside for my family of 4. I get around 16 mpg in town, and around 20 on the freeway. I am 6'3" and have plenty of leg room. While it is plenty quiet on the pavement, when you get on a dirt or gravel road, the it resonates and is quite loud. I have the tow package, and have towed a small trailer once, it did great.

Very satisfied so far

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Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Had my SE for about a month now. My likes definitely outweigh my dislikes. Very powerful engine, getting good fuel economy 18 - 20 overall, but driving it easy in the break in period. Seats seem very comfortable, good support, wish they were heated. RF Sound system is awesome for stock. Surprisingly quiet even on rough pavement, but it does have a firm, choppy ride. It's not a car though, so I can live with that. Great no-nonsense SUV that will handle my towing chores, and get 5 skiers or backpackers where they need to go with all their stuff. Got one drive in the snow, and had no trouble blasting through a foot and a half of light powder.

A nice truck based suv

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I did a lot of research before buying the Xterra, I looked a the FJ , the Wrangler, as well as some trucks. The X has the perfect blend of creature comforts and ruggedness. I traded an Audi for the X, and I do miss some of the luxury, but the X makes up for it in other ways. The gas mileage is OK, I get 13-15 in town, and 19-20 on the freeway. The seats are leather in the SE, but they are low grade leather and not heated. The stereo sound good, better than the Bose unit in my old Audi. Its very easy to see out of, and my kids think its great to sit up high. Im glad I bought the X, The Portable GPS is great, better than built in units.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my xterra

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Nissan Xterra SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I had my eye on the Xterra after buying an Altima for my wife last year. This year I traded in my old Explorer and after considering the smaller Escape, I drove over to the Nissan dealership and am glad I did. I love this vehicle. The performance from the 4.0L 6cyl engine is superb. The ride is smooth thanks to the 17" wheels and tires, comfortable beyond belief. I wish fuel economy was better, but I am getting 20 MPGs. As the Edmund's model review notes, the brakes take a little getting use to as they are a bit mushy. I love the Rockford/Fosgate audio system with XM, 6CD disk, 9 speakers and blue tooth. This is a very well built vehicle, no rattles or squeaks, and a pure joy to drive.

Full 2010 Nissan Xterra Review

What's New for 2010

Most of the Nissan Xterra's previously optional features are now standard equipment for 2010.


Buying an SUV that can travel off-road always comes with compromises. The ride can be rough, the handling ponderous and the fuel economy an enemy to your wallet. The 2010 Nissan Xterra falls into each of these pits, but compared to its rivals, it's still the easiest and most practical to live with on those days you aren't creeping over rocks or blasting through sand dunes.

The Xterra is a traditional body-on-frame SUV -- just the sort of vehicle that SUVs started off as in the first place before being transformed into the modern-day crossover. The Xterra's sturdy construction, burly V6, tall ground clearance and available 4x4 system all contribute to the vehicle's capable performance off the beaten path. Yet it is surprisingly friendly on the beaten path, too, thanks to a tolerable ride quality and decent day-to-day practicality.

For proof, look no further than the Toyota FJ Cruiser, the Xterra's main competitor. The FJ offers more interesting styling inside and out than the Xterra, but its rear access-style doors make getting in and out of the rear seat more difficult and that retro styling results in poor outward visibility. The Xterra, meanwhile, is easy to see out of and has four conventional doors. It's also got a strong V6 and respectable on-road handling -- two things that the Jeep Wrangler can't match.

While an SUV like the 2010 Nissan Xterra is best suited for someone who actually goes off-roading, it at least makes more sense as a daily driver than its few rough-and-ready competitors. The Xterra may still feel uncivilized compared to tamed crossovers like the GMC Terrain, Mazda CX-7 and Subaru Forester, but if you need something a bit wild, the Xterra could be your best bet.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Nissan Xterra is a five-passenger, four-door SUV available with rear- and four-wheel drive. Available trim levels are X, S and SE, with an Off-Road trim available on 4x4 models. Standard equipment on the Xterra X includes 16-inch steel wheels, rear tinted glass, roof rails, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows and locks, a tilt steering wheel, air-conditioning and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player.

The Xterra S adds 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded tires, foglamps, step rails, roof rail crossbars, roof gear basket, power mirrors, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat, rubber-floor cargo area and a dead pedal.

The Xterra Off-Road adds to the S different 16-inch wheels, Bilstein gas-filled shocks, skid plates, an electronic locking rear differential, hill start assist and hill descent control (with automatic transmission), upgraded off-road tires, roof-mounted off-road lights, two-tone cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror, compass, Bluetooth, a portable Garmin navigation system and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate stereo with auxiliary audio jack, six-CD changer and satellite radio.

The Xterra SE adds to the S 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror, compass, Bluetooth, Garmin navigation and the Rockford Fosgate stereo. Options on the SE and Off-Road include an iPod interface and a dockable rear entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Nissan Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all but the SE, while a five-speed automatic is standard on that model and optional on all others. Rear-wheel drive is standard on every Xterra except the Off-Road trim, which comes with the other trims' optional four-wheel-drive system. This includes a multimode transfer case with low-range gearing.

In performance testing a 4x4 Xterra with the automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with the manual transmission and 15/20/17 with the automatic.


The 2010 Nissan Xterra is equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Xterra Off-Road models also come with hill descent control and hill start assist. In Edmunds brake testing, the Xterra Off-Road came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet, which is decent performance for a traditional midsize SUV.

In government testing, the Xterra achieved four out of five stars in the frontal crash test and five stars for side protection. Its three-star rollover rating is a bit low, but similar to most off-road-capable SUVs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Xterra its highest rating of "Good" in both the frontal-offset and side crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2010 Nissan Xterra's interior controls are easy to use and reach. The overall impression is marred somewhat by the use of hard plastics, but they really aren't much worse than its off-roading competitors.

The cargo area offers 35 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and 66 cubes with the seats folded. All Xterras (except for the base X model) feature cargo areas that have an easy-to-clean floor, as well as sturdy utility hooks mounted to the sides of the floor and ceiling. An innovative, adjustable channel system for securing bike racks and gear is also built into the floor. There are also built-in spaces for an optional first aid kit and a 1-gallon water jug.

Driving Impressions

Thanks to the 2010 Nissan Xterra's powerful V6, performance is sure to satisfy. On the road, the Xterra maneuvers confidently with precise steering, while also keeping body roll in check. With its truck-derived underpinnings, the Xterra offers impressive off-road performance due to its long suspension travel and high ground clearance. The engine further enhances off-road prowess with its prodigious low-end power, though its ultimate in-the-dirt capabilities fall short of the Wrangler's. The compromises of handling and ride quality in the city are minor, considering the Xterra's versatility.

Talk About The 2010 Xterra

Read more about the 2010 Nissan Xterra

Gas Mileage


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