2015 Nissan Xterra Review

Pros & Cons

  • Legitimate off-road prowess
  • versatile interior with innovative cargo features
  • available manual transmission.
  • Awkward on-road handling
  • dated interior design and materials
  • lackluster fuel economy.
List Price Range
$13,500 - $20,300

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is one of the last truly capable off-road SUVs. It's also a tolerable daily driver, but there are better choices if you don't plan to regularly exploit its ability in the dirt.

Vehicle overview

With the popularity of crossover SUVs that ride and handle a lot like cars, you might think truck-based utility vehicles are a thing of the past. But the 2015 Nissan Xterra soldiers on as an SUV in the traditional sense, embodying the adventurous spirit of classic body-on-frame designs. High ground clearance, a fortified suspension and available four-wheel drive with low-range gearing give the Frontier-derived Xterra formidable off-road ability. Furthermore, it's got a simple yet functional interior with nifty storage features, and passengers and cargo alike get plenty of space.

Drive the Xterra back to back with a contemporary crossover, though, and the aging Nissan seems rudimentary, even crude. It's clumsy when pressed around turns, and there's no hiding the abundant hard plastic surfaces in the cabin. Fuel economy also lags well behind what most crossovers offer. At least niceties like Bluetooth streaming audio, smartphone app integration and a 5-inch central display have trickled down to the S trim level for 2015, adding a welcome dose of civility to the Xterra's no-nonsense formula.

Only a handful of purpose-built SUVs are still available in today's market. Your primary alternative is the 2015 Jeep Wrangler, which is a beast in the dirt but suffers from a noisy cabin, inferior side-impact safety and even more ponderous on-road driving dynamics. The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a highly refined alternative, but it's considerably pricier, as is the 2015 Toyota 4Runner. Buyers simply looking for year-round peace of mind and light-duty trail capability would be wise to consider all-wheel-drive, car-based crossovers like the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Forester. But if you want serious off-road skills and find the Wrangler a bit too extreme, the 2015 Nissan Xterra is a uniquely appealing option in this price range.

2015 Nissan Xterra models

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is a four-door, five-passenger SUV available in three trim levels. The entry-level X and midrange S trims are available with rear- or four-wheel drive, while the Pro-4X is four-wheel-drive only.

The X comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rack side rails, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker CD audio system with an auxiliary input.

Stepping up to the S adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a driver seat with adjustable height and lumbar, a first-aid kit, an "Easy Clean" washable cargo area with floor cleats and ceiling hooks, a 5-inch central display screen, an iPod/USB interface, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio and NissanConnect smartphone app integration (including hands-free text messaging and Facebook, Pandora and iHeartRadio connectivity). The four-wheel-drive S also gets a roof-mounted gear basket (optional on lesser models) and a front tow hook.

The hard-core Pro-4X adds an electronic locking rear differential, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, unique 16-inch alloy wheels and off-road tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates, automatic headlights, foglights, roof-mounted off-road driving lights, roof rack crossbars, distinctive cloth upholstery, heated front seats (with a fold-flat front passenger seat), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a built-in compass, a navigation system with a rearview camera and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system. Leather upholstery is optional on the Pro-4X, but you'll lose the fold-flat front passenger seat if you spring for it.

The Pro-4X's mechanical and infotainment upgrades are unavailable on the lower trims, but some of its additional features (notably the foglights, crossbars and auto-dimming mirror) are optional on other Xterras. A hatch-connected 10-by-10-foot folding tent with free-standing capability is among the many dealer-installed options.

2015 Highlights

For 2015, the midrange S trim level adds Bluetooth streaming audio, smartphone app integration, an iPod/USB interface, satellite radio, hands-free text messaging and a 5-inch color display.

Performance & mpg

Every 2015 Nissan Xterra features a 4.0-liter V6 engine rated at 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. The X and S trims come standard with rear-wheel drive, but a four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing is optional. The Pro-4X is only available with four-wheel drive.

The four-wheel-drive S and the Pro-4X offer either a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. The rear-wheel-drive S and both X configurations (RWD and 4WD) are automatic-only.

In Edmunds performance testing, an Xterra 4WD with the automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, average for a V6-powered midsize SUV.

The Xterra RWD returns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway). Adding 4WD drops fuel economy to 17 mpg combined (15 city/20 highway), regardless of transmission choice.

Safety

The 2015 Nissan Xterra is equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. The Pro-4X also offers hill-descent control and hill-start assist.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Xterra Pro-4X stopped from 60 mph in 139 feet, a poor performance by mainstream standards but typical for an off-road-oriented SUV with all-terrain tires. For reference, the Jeep Wrangler recorded a comparable 140-foot stop.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Xterra its highest score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests. The Xterra also earned the second-highest score of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test. Its seat/head restraint design, however, was rated "Marginal" (second-lowest) for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

The 2015 Nissan Xterra's 4.0-liter V6 engine produces plenty of torque, which is an asset whether you're merging onto the expressway or tackling low-speed off-road obstacles. This isn't the most refined engine on the planet, but to be fair, refinement isn't really what the Xterra's all about -- unless you're comparing it to the Wrangler, that is. The available six-speed manual shifter is a novel feature these days, adding to the Xterra's fun factor for drivers so inclined.

The combination of rugged body-on-frame design, generous ground clearance, a long travel suspension and the four-wheel-drive system's dual-range transfer case guarantees the Xterra's sure-footedness when the pavement ends. When driving on pavement, you'll likely notice that the ride, while reasonably comfortable, isn't as smooth as that of a typical crossover SUV. Likewise, the Xterra lumbers a bit going around tight turns, and its steering is on the slow side.

Interior

Like the rest of the vehicle, the 2015 Nissan Xterra's cabin has a rough-and-ready vibe. The hard plastic surfaces aren't particularly warm or attractive, but they make sense in a vehicle like this, simplifying the clean-up process after a long day of outdoor activity. The X trim's lack of a height-adjustable driver seat is disappointing, and a tilt-only steering wheel across the lineup can make it harder to find a comfortable driving position. While there's ample room for four adults in the Xterra's two airy rows, most car-based crossover SUVs offer nicer accommodations and a more extensive list of creature comforts.

When it comes to hauling gear instead of people, the Xterra shines with a versatile cargo hold that has a storage box under the load floor for items like a first-aid kit. Nissan actually gives you a first-aid kit in the S and Pro-4X, and these trims also boast an Easy Clean cargo area with handy tie-down cleats and ceiling hooks, along with optional sliding cargo-net dividers that utilize the floor's built-in tracks. There are 36.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks, while folding them down expands that to 65.7 cubic feet -- both solid numbers.

Additionally, the Pro-4X's standard fold-flat front passenger seat makes it possible to squeeze in long items with the rear liftgate closed, and oversize or muddy gear can be toted up on top with the beefy roof rack's available gear basket and crossbars.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Nissan Xterra.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Not a bad SUV for the right type of buyer...
AJ,07/10/2015
PRO-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
... good value overall. The 2015 Xterra is more or less unchanged from the previous years. I purchased a brand new Pro-4X in the Night Armour color with the cloth seats. Several aspects of the Xterra attracted me to it in the first place. VALUE: I paid in the low to mid 30's for a relatively powerful 6 Cylinder SUV with 4 wheel drive, off road capability, a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity, heated seats, and a cool overall look. Granted the car hasn't been redesigned in quite a while but it still looks good. I specifically enjoyed that this is among a small group of cars that you can get heated seats on cloth seats. That makes it nice and cozy in the winter without the experience of hot leather in the summer. INTERIOR/TEHCNOLOGY: Inside, the Xterra offers a very easy to read and operate instrument panel. The infotainment system is basic but it never freezes or gets stuck. The Bluetooth operation is simple and intuitive. The climate and audio controls are easy to use with simple but quality dials. Personally, I love technology, but new cars that have complicated screens have gotten too intricate and they take my attention from the road. The Xterra's technology gives you what you need without the unnecessary complication. The Rockford Fosgate sound system (optional) is one of the best stock sound systems I've ever heard. The heating and air conditioning unit works great in all types of weather. The "MAX A/C" option works tremendously in hot weather. The cargo room is great and there are plenty of storage areas found throughout the cabin. The front seats are comfortable but not very big. The back seat is even tighter with difficult ingress and egress. While all of the switches and electronics work well, the materials of the interior are very much sub-par. I have already had several squeaks and rattles develop in a car with less than 9,000 miles, this is unacceptable. If Nissan had put a little more time and effort in quality materials this would be one of my favorite automotive interiors. EXTERIOR: Outside, the car has a very utilitarian look with nifty cargo spots and steps for accessing the roof. Care needs to go in maintaining the exterior plastic trim as it can fade quickly in the sun. Use an exterior trim gel to keep it looking good. MECHANICAL: Mechanically, the Xterra has a great engine with a sub-par transmission. 5 Speed Automatics are incredibly out dated and this one shows its age. The engine has great power for regular driving as well as highway passing and off-roading. The gas mileage is extremely poor as I usually get around 14-16 in the city and about 17-18 on the highway. If Nissan could get this same power from a new engine while bumping fuel economy to the mid to high 20's it would have itself a great engine. However, most people don't buy an Xterra for fuel economy. This SUV is designed to handle anything the road throws at it. The Xterra is amazing in snow, rain, mud, and sand. It will get you to work when everyone else can't get past the snow in their driveway. The 4 wheel drive system along with the off road gadgets in the Pro-4X make sure this SUV never gets stuck. Furthermore, for an off-road inclined SUV it has a fairly compliant ride on-road with not an obnoxious amount of road noise on the highway. It is easy to drive and park. The Pro-4X has a backup camera to help with parking. OVERALL: It's a shame that Nissan has pulled the plug on this SUV after the 2015 model year. This is a good fun SUV for the younger crowd that doesn't have kids and/or doesn't need tremendous gas mileage. This car looks and feels sporty and rugged without being too harsh on its occupants. It's a great weekend trip car and it has enough technology and entertainment to be competitive in today's tech world. If Nissan could improve gas mileage, interior quality, and give it a fresh redesign I truly believe there would be plenty of buyers for a future Xterra, myself included. UPDATE (Jan. 2017): I have put 21,000 miles on my car and it has not given me any mechanical troubles. I've had two warranty repairs done on my Xterra. The first warranty repair was to replace my license plate lights as their housings had come loose. The second warranty repair was to replace a taillight that developed a crack without any physical impacts/damage. The stock BF Goodrich tires started showing their age at 20,000 miles so I replaced the tires as well. The stock tires were absolutely terrible. The Xterra still has a good handful of squeaks and rattles on the interior. These noises show up a lot more during the colder winter months and seem to disappear during the warmer summer months as the plastic warms up and softens up. My gas mileage is still poor at an average of 17 mpg combined city and highway driving. I've bumped up my reliability rating to 4 stars as the car has not experienced any mechanical issues and dealership support has slightly improved.
Most versatile vehicle I have ever owned.
On the move granny,09/01/2016
X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I'm a 59 year old single grandma. I like to dress up and go to the theatre. I like to dress down and go camping. I love my Xterra. It meets all my needs. Affordable to commute to work daily. Classy enough to take out for a play at the theatre. Strong enough to pull camper. I want to cry hearing they are no longer making this vehicle. I did serious research before purchasing this vehicle and it paid off. Multi functional was my main need in a vehicle. MY XTERRA is the top of line for my needs.
Great Vehicle
Ocean Boi,11/27/2015
PRO-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
I love the fact that it has a strong engine and is built on a strong truck body frame. I love the high ground clearance. The seats fold down perfectly flat or can be removed. The gas mileage could be better. The traction control button is useful. The fact I can plug my IPAD in and get satellite radio is a bonus. If the seats in the front are pushed back it leaves little room for the back passengers. Runs GREAT!. No regrets. If I had to do it all over again I would have bought this vehicle.
A fortress on wheels
Steve,07/18/2015
S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
In 2006, a major car magazine agreed that the Xterra would make the shortlist for a vehicle best able to survive the apocalypse. I agree. I feel invincible in this machine... it might not have the latest technology, and the truck-based frame may not suit all derrieres, but I love not stressing about the weather anymore. There is something to be said for simplicity. This truck is a beast. Rain or shine, wind, hail, snow and anything else mother nature throws my way, I cannot help but smile when I fire up the growl of the V6 and move out. I opted for the six-speed manual trans, and I think that has helped me get outstanding fuel economy (I average between 21 and 24mpg). Just a great, great, great, great truck... I've hauled oversized cargo in the rear, slept in the back when the power went out in my house, hoisted myself on my tow hitch and on to my rear bumper for a better view of the world when needed, gone to the city, the beach and the country, and feel like my X will be with me for a long, long time. Can't go wrong. I call this my Japanese Land Rover.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 Nissan Xterra features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover24.6%
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 2015 Nissan Xterra

Used 2015 Nissan Xterra Overview

The Used 2015 Nissan Xterra is offered in the following submodels: Xterra SUV. Available styles include PRO-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), S 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), PRO-4X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M), X 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), X 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and S 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Nissan Xterra?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Nissan Xterra trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Nissan Xterra S is priced between $13,500 and$17,000 with odometer readings between 82272 and103725 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Nissan Xterra PRO-4X is priced between $20,300 and$20,300 with odometer readings between 96011 and96011 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 2015 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) 2015 Nissan Xterra for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2015 Xterras listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $13,500 and mileage as low as 82272 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 2015 Nissan Xterra.

Can't find a used 2015 Nissan Xterras you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Nissan Xterra for sale - 1 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $20,731.

Find a used Nissan for sale - 4 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $19,058.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan Xterra for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,979.

Find a used certified pre-owned Nissan for sale - 3 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $14,083.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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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