Purchased mine very much used @ 143K miles recently.. This is a very well built vehicle, with a strong engine. Ok, so the interior isn't fantastic, but it's functional, and mind you I've been happy with my European vehicles (BMW), exclusively, for many years now. Steering is a bit heavy, but I can forgive that. The "S" model doesn't have a rear locker, but who needs that anyhow. Driver's fabric seat has a rip in it, but I don't care, because I'm happy driving it. I wanted a vehicle I can take off road that's reliable, and this is it. But be well aware that there is a fatal flaw a few mention here in the reviews. If your planning on buying one, you'll want to research "SMOD", or "Strawberry milkshake of death". Essentially the trans fluid passes through a small radiator/heat exchanger in the bottom of the vehicles radiator that has a weak point -- the unions, and as such will fail causing the coolant to mix with the trans fluid. Nissan issued a TSB at some point in the past, creative owners bypassed this weakness during that time as a simple DIY, some supplemented this DIY with an auxiliary transmission cooler. I added one as a preventative, not that the vehicle was suffering with any problems. Doing your homework on this will save you gobs of money. Luckily the owner of my vehicle (or Nissan) performed this bypass before a SMOD event occurred. I've performed a full fluid change on this vehicle (including all diff's, transfer cases, engine, and transmission oil) just to cover myself. Other, somewhat minor, area of concern is the acessory belt tensioner as it's essentially weak, thus causing a squealing as the belt slips on the pulleys. Gates makes a kit and supplies you with the tensioner and belt for a reasonable 38 bucks through Amazon. Other minor area of concern is that the hood tends to pull and make noise as wind comes underneath it in heavy frontal winds. Take a 12mm socket and simply loosen the three hood latch bolts, and push the hood latch down, and retighten.. Done, and one. Great vehicle, just do your research. There's reports of people achieving over 360K on the stock vehicle with basic maintenance.. No reason you can achieve the same with a little TLC.
Radiator fluid will eventually leak into the transmission and destroy it. Be ready for high repair costs. Nissan does not stand behind this vehicle. Most dealers will get you to sign the purchased as is document right away even though they are aware of this factory defect.
Purchased used in 2009, 48K miles, now 104.5K miles. replaced clutch (premature failure, undersized original clutch, design defect, Nissan would not acknowledge or repair) at about 55K with non-Nissan appropriately-robust clutch parts from Jim Wolf Technology, San Diego, no further clutch issues to date. Original BFG tires replaced at 63K. Replaced radiator at about 75k (early I think, assume due to substandard quality components). Fuel sensor replaced under warranty at about 80K. No other significant issues. Interior fabric holding up very well, plastic in cargo area getting beat up, but as expected given how I use the X. Original sound system crappy, replaced with better set up.
For my needs (emphasized), excellent off-road and backcountry vehicle. Very functional multi-use, versatile SUV. For my needs, pluses are:
1) best in class fuel economy for truck-based SUV based on my research, especially with 6-speed standard tranny (typically avg. 23 mpg if kept to 70 mph on highway, 2K rpm in 6th gear).
2) short wheel base, tight turning ratio, fits in my garage and very maneuverable on tight back country trails. Only about 6" longer then our 2004 Honda Civic.
3) Easy to remove back seat bottom cushions (that's called attention to detail!), makes 6.5 foot long flat deck with home-built platform extension. Comfortable for extended camping trip sleeping platform for two people. roof rack compartment handy for solar shower bag!
4) very good 4WD offroad performance in challenging, very rough terrain (SEVERELY tested in Canyonlands NP Maze District and other western locals, and was impressive).
5) Initial research via Consumer Reports indicated very good repair record, similar to Toyota 4 Runner, but comparable Toyota vehicle $5-$6K more expensive, and no standard transmission available. Toyota probably more reliable in hindsite, but Xterra cheaper to buy, so more $$ available for occasional repairs.
October 2018 update: X now has 131K+ miles. No other significant mechanical issues since the premature clutch failure other than mostly routine stuff. Replacement clutch with non-Nissan Jim Wolf Technology components has been trouble-free so far. I'm still vy impressed with the overall versatility and attention to detail of this vehicle given my specific needs, and plan to drive it until the "doors fall off". And it still consistently gets an average of about 23 mpg (ranges from 22 to 24+) with the standard tranny, which again is excellent for this type of truck-based 4wd rock crawler type vehicle. Bummer that Nissan stopped making Xterras in 2016, but not enough demand apparently. Maybe the next version will be a hybrid??
2005 bought my Nissan Xterra with a platinum warranty, thank ggid because I had it only a few months and the service eng light came on. Nissan couldnt figure their owncar out. In and out of rge shop for 5 wks, replaced serveral things b 4 realizing it was a computer problem warranty covered it nd it was fine until about 70, 000. Then the tranny and raidiator went. Ever since its been a expensive nightmare. Of now no warranty so Nissan in Vallejo. CA where i purchased it in 2005 they were like no warranty "sorry about ur luck, but o'well. So i fixed it and now it hasn't been the same. One prob after another. Its been at my mechanics more in the last 10 months then with me. Problems: tranny, radiator, timing chain my decisionn to replace, catallitc converter, fuel pump, one sensor then another....now about $6000 into i hate to get rid of it after pumping that much money into it. [non-permissible content removed]
Bought a new Nissan Xterra in 2005. I only have 85,000 miles on my Nissan Xterra. I was in love with this SUV until I started having problems. The transmission was leaking into my radiator so I had to replace the radiator "myself" because Nissan was sending my recall notices to some other address so I did not know about the recall's and I couldn't afford to pay for the expensive cost. They didn't even care even though it was their fault. Then the oil filter seal started leaking and I also fixed that problem "myself". Then the fuel sensor ( recall I missed ) went out. I am planning to fix this myself also. I just had the timing chain guides replaced because they broke ( $1,158 ). Here is the real kicker about that problem. I took my SUV to Fenton Nissan dealer on NW Expressway in OKC last week because there was an aggressive clicking noise under my hood coming from the motor. They told me it was a rod knocking and it was going to cost me $5,534 for a used engine or $8,135 for a new engine ! This now used vehicle is only worth around $10,000 ? Really stressed me out ! This was a big decision I was going to have to make ! Fix this problem or just buy a new vehicle ?? I have worked on cars all my life and I kept telling myself....... I have never heard a rod knocking sound like this one ? Trusting my instincts I decided to take it to a trusted mechanic ( Weaver Brothers Automotive ) here in OKC. He also said that it doesn't sound like a rod ? So I let them tear it down to find out it was only the timing chain guide, so he replaced both of them while it was apart. This cost me $1,158 for repairs instead of the $8,000 they were going to charge at the dealer ! They lied to me ! I found out that the service tech's are paid on commission ! I will never buy another Nissan product or trust a Nissan dealership from now on ! Don't take your vehicle to a dealership. Take it to someone you can trust. It will save you a lot of $$$ for uncostly repairs.