2011 Nissan Xterra Review

Pros & Cons

  • Serious off-road prowess
  • powerful V6
  • innovative cargo features
  • most livable truck in its class.
  • Unimpressive interior design and materials
  • poor fuel economy relative to similarly priced crossovers.
List Price Range
$8,900 - $9,600

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Nissan Xterra may lack the funky styling and unique features of its off-roading competitors, but it's the easiest to live with on those days when you're not rock-crawling and mud-splashing.

Vehicle overview

With an elevated ride height, four-wheel drive and enough roof space to strap down an elk, the SUV certainly was created with the great outdoors in mind. Yet at some point folks in suburbia gained a hankering for them, and the resulting market shift has left traditional off-roading SUVs dying out in favor of tall station wagons known as crossovers. There are only a handful of traditional SUVs left, but thankfully, the remaining models cater to those with a traditional taste for the outdoors. The 2011 Nissan Xterra is the one most easy to live with.

To go along with the Xterra's tough-guy appearance, you'll find sturdy body-on-frame construction, a burly V6, tall ground clearance and an available four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing. The premium Pro-4X trim further bolsters the Xterra's off-highway credentials with skid plates, a driver-selectable locking rear differential, hill descent control and roof-mounted lights. In other words, this is a serious truck that can take you places when the asphalt and concrete ends.

Of course, other SUVs can do that, too, but the 2011 Nissan Xterra is certainly more sensible for those times when you're stuck in the urban jungle. Its four doors give it a clear practical advantage over the 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser, which has access-style rear half doors and blind spots in which you could hide a bus. The Xterra is also more powerful and far more civilized than the 2011 Jeep Wrangler. Of course, the retro-inspired FJ is more stylish and the Wrangler is even more capable off-road, but practicality usually comes with such a price.

It's worth noting that compared to newer crossover SUVs, all of these vehicles come with the inherent downsides of thirsty fuel consumption, a trucklike ride and cabins that aren't exactly cosseting. If this is too much for you, consider the 2011 Kia Sportage, 2011 Mazda CX-7 and 2011 Subaru Forester. All you'll really lose is the off-road ability. Well, that and the easy ability to transport that elk.

2011 Nissan Xterra models

The 2011 Nissan Xterra is a five-passenger, four-door SUV available with rear- and four-wheel drive. Available trim levels are X, S and Pro-4X. The latter comes only with four-wheel drive.

The Xterra X comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, keyless entry, power locks and mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, tilt-only steering wheel, and a six-speaker CD sound system. The Xterra S gains 16-inch alloy wheels, off-road tires, a height-adjustable driver seat with lumbar control, a first aid kit and a cargo organization system. The 4X4 S gets a roof rack with crossbars and a gear basket.

The Pro-4X adds an electronic locking rear differential, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, skid plates, different 16-inch alloy wheels, upgraded off-road tires, foglamps, roof-mounted off-road lights, unique cloth upholstery, a fold-flat passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, white-face gauges, an auto-dimming rearview mirror (with built-in compass), Bluetooth and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio jack, steering-wheel audio controls and satellite radio (with automatic transmission only). The Pro-4X Leather package adds leather upholstery and a passenger seat back pocket, but deletes the passenger seat's flat-folding capability.

2011 Highlights

For 2011, the Nissan Xterra's Off-Road trim level has been renamed Pro-4X, while the SE trim level has been dropped.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 Nissan Xterra is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. The X and S 4x2 are available only with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the S 4x4 and Pro-4X have a choice between the automatic and a six-speed manual transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all but the Pro-4X, while the available four-wheel-drive system features a multimode transfer case with low-range gearing.

In Edmunds performance testing, an Xterra 4x4 with an automatic transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 8 seconds. The rear-drive Xterra returns an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined. Opting for four-wheel drive lowers the highway estimate by 1 mpg, while opting for the manual improves the city estimate by 1 mpg.

Safety

The 2011 Nissan Xterra is equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Xterra Pro-4X models also come with hill-descent control and hill-start assist. In Edmunds brake testing, an Xterra Pro-4X came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet -- an average result for an off-roading SUV.

The Nissan Xterra has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. However, its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to the new methodology) were four out of five stars in a front collision and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Xterra its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side tests and a second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.

Driving

Thanks to the 2011 Nissan Xterra's powerful V6, performance is sure to satisfy. On the road, the Xterra maneuvers confidently with precise steering and relatively minimal body roll. With its truck-derived underpinnings, the Xterra offers impressive off-road performance due to its long suspension travel and high ground clearance, though its ultimate in-the-dirt capabilities fall short of the Wrangler's. The engine further enhances off-road prowess with its prodigious low-end power. The compromises of handling and ride quality in the city are minor, considering the Xterra's versatility.

Interior

The Xterra's interior controls are easy to use and reach. The overall look is marred somewhat by a rather dull design and the predominant use of hard plastics. But the latter aren't really any worse than what's seen in its off-roading competitors. Should you be less interested in off-roading, any number of compact crossover models feature more comfortable and better-appointed cabins.

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 channel-type locating 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 in the cargo area. A gear basket and heavy-duty rails allow you to transport things on the roof that are too big and/or dirty to fit inside.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Nissan Xterra.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

PRO-4X is awesome
outdoorzman,01/03/2011
I picked the PRO-4X model and it's awesome. It's rugged and capable without sacrificing practibility. The V6 is very strong and the ride is very smooth. It has lots of little cubby holes and nets for storage. I like the fabric of the interior as well as the material in the rear cargo area. It should be very easy to clean. The top rack is very nice and it's also got a little storage area up there as well. The mileage isn't great and the back seats could be easier to get in and out of but it's an off-road SUV and I really didn't expect it to be any different. I picked this vehicle over the FJ because it was more practical for my needs. Take a look and I promise you will like it.
Great SUV
thisnthat3,09/26/2013
S 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I've had a number of different SUV brands over the years, this by far is the best. It is a "true" SUV not a crossover, lots of space & just generally a great fun car to drive. Very reliable, have driven back & forth down South a few times w/o any problems whatsoever. It was a year old, certified new when purchased. UPDATE: Have now owned this car 7 years & its still runs as if brand new. Only regular maintenance performed, oil changes, tires, etc. Otherwise car runs great, no problems. Would definitely purchase another, unfortunately cars are changing each year and can't say the newest ones are made as well.
Great SUV with crappy tires
vjx,08/16/2011
Love everything about the Xterra except the tires. First time 4 wheeling lost a tire. Can't understand why they put jelly bean tires on an otherwise rugged SUV. Soft tires also contribute to poor gas mileage. If you can afford it, switch the tires out ASAP.
This is my 2nd Xterra
shoodoobee,06/06/2011
I traded in my 2001 Xterra XE with 108k miles for 2011 Xterra SE about 1 month ago. This is a solid, safe SUV. The 2011 is very comfy, but there are some things I wish it had for the cost: a temperature gauge, a decent stereo, carpeted cargo area (otherwise EVERYTHING slides around), power seats, multi-CD changer, Sirius radio, and - better/different interior upholstery and plastic. Even a drop water stains these seats. It didn't on the 2001, but it does on the 2011. And the plastic console collects every piece of dust because it has a softer material. It really is annoying how much it collects and retains dust, hair, etc. Drive-wise, it's solid, fairly quiet, and does well in the mountains.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 Nissan Xterra features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Acceptable
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Nissan Xterra

Used 2011 Nissan Xterra Overview

The Used 2011 Nissan Xterra is offered in the following submodels: Xterra SUV. Available styles include S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Pro-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), X 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Pro-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M), and S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Nissan Xterra?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Nissan Xterra trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Nissan Xterra S is priced between $9,410 and$9,600 with odometer readings between 115511 and148601 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X is priced between $8,900 and$8,900 with odometer readings between 140670 and140670 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Nissan Xterras are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Nissan Xterra for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2011 Xterras listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,900 and mileage as low as 115511 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Nissan Xterra.

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Find a used Nissan Xterra for sale - 6 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $14,648.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 10 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $18,651.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Xterra for sale - 5 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $24,720.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Nissan Xterra?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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