Are you seeking the Nissan Xterra years to avoid if you want to buy a used Nissan Xterra? If this is the case and you’re interested in learning which model years to stay away from, you’ve come to the correct spot because there’s a lot to discuss.
Before making a purchase, it is always crucial and imperative to conduct the proper research. I say this because once you buy a car, you’re stuck with it and any faults it could have. You should thus concentrate on potential issues and choose the ones that provide the fewest difficulties.
Not to mention the cost associated with acquiring a car. Some of these vehicles represent the investment of your whole life. And they ought to operate.
If not, you can become annoyed that you bought a car that is always breaking down and that your own experience has been awful.
That is not what you want; instead, you need a piece of solid, dependable equipment that will merely do its job and do it well. And we’re going to support you there.
We’ll start by learning what the Nissan Xterra is, then go into great detail on each of its generations, learning about its specifications, fuel efficiency, issues, and the Nissan Xterra years to stay away from.
Then we will indicate whether or not you should purchase these specific models based on our dependability rating. So, keep reading if you want to discover more.
The Nissan Xterra: All You Need to Know About It
So, let’s first talk about this model and what are its key qualities before we go into the Nissan Xterra years to avoid.
Nissan Xterra N50 by Alexander Migl / CC BY-SA 4.0. From 1999 to 2015, Nissan developed the Xterra SUV before ceasing its production. As a result, the model is no longer produced and sold as a new vehicle. You are thus stuck with the agreement there because the Xterra is only offered on the secondhand market.
For individuals who wish to become more familiar with this paradigm and understand more about its fundamentals, this chapter will be very helpful. Therefore, you may skip the specifications and issues if you are already familiar with the Xterra. Keep up with us if not.
Nissan produced the Xterra SUV from 1999 to 2015, when it stopped production. Hence, the model is no longer manufactured and offered as a new car. Therefore, since the Xterra is only available on the used market, you are trapped with the deal there.
The Frontier served as the model’s foundation. We are all aware that the Nissan Frontier is a popular mid-size pickup vehicle in the US. The Frontier and the Xterra are connected by a common platform.
Up to the A-pillar, the whole front end of the car is a Frontier design. Between the two versions, all of its mechanical parts are essentially interchangeable.
The Xterra is an SUV, therefore it is made to carry people rather than pull things like the Frontier. This makes it distinct from the Frontier in the back. This implies that you lack the back bed.
Nissan has a trademark on the word “Xterra,” and this particular vehicle was given the moniker “XTERRA off-road triathlon.” As you can see, Nissan made an effort to sell this vehicle as a competent SUV that could traverse various terrains. But which Nissan Xterra years should be avoided? They will be discussed later.
Which are the Nissan Xterra Years to Avoid and Why?
The Nissan Xterra is ranked 9th out of 32 brands and has a dependability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 on RepairPal. It’s difficult to go wrong with Nissan’s retired SUV range in terms of dependability. However, we recognize that you want to stay away from the least dependable models when you’re purchasing a used Xterra.
The following Nissan Xterra years are the worst ones to buy:
- The 2000 Nissan Xterra
- The 2001 Nissan Xterra
- The 2004 Nissan Xterra
- The 2005 Nissan Xterra
- The 2006 Nissan Xterra
- The 2007 Nissan Xterra
- The 2008 Nissan Xterra
Nissan Xterra Issues From 2000 Model Year
Given that the 2000 Nissan Xterra was the first model to be released, it would seem unjust to include it on our list.
To emphasize the original flaws and, subsequently, the improvements Xterra made in later years, it is nonetheless crucial to include this version. First of all, while being the oldest, it is the weakest of all the models, which is reasonable.
With a maximum output of 170 horsepower, this model preserves the simplicity of the original Xterra model without the systemic and manufacturing advancements that came with the mid-generation update after 2000.
As a result, several production flaws may be discovered, and more significantly, because of its age, it is quite hard to locate a clean version of this model. So, while it could have a nostalgic appeal, this model offers very little in the way of contemporary.
2001 Nissan Xterra by Brownings / CC BY-SA 3.0. The 2001 model serves as a representation of the Nissan Xterra’s second year of manufacturing. Broken time chains and blocked EGR are common issues with this model. Due to how ancient it is, there are nearly no chances of finding a clean version on the market.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2001 Model Year
The Nissan Xterra’s second year of production is represented by the 2001 model. Time chains that are broken and clogged EGR are frequent problems with this model. There is almost little chance of obtaining a clean version on the market because of how outdated it is.
Finally, because it belongs to the first generation, its performance is inferior to that of Xterra models produced after 2005.
The fact that it was a terrific car for its day and is still a great low-cost alternative now earns it the fifth spot on my list.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2004 Model Year
The 2004 Nissan Xterra has hardly any black marks on its record, so we’re hesitant to add it. With only 124 complaints, even Car complaints awarded it a “Pretty Good” rating. However, there are a few problems with the 2004 Xterra that warrant investigation.
Users claim that the 2004 Xterra’s damaged radiator, which leaks fluid into the gearbox system, is the vehicle’s biggest issue. High mileage 2004 vehicles are known to have this issue. You might be out a whooping $4,000+ to correct this.
A few complaints have also been made about this model’s defective gearbox, which fails after 80k+ miles. Additionally, if you value safety, the 2004 Xterra’s less-than-perfect crash test ratings might be a problem.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2005 Model Year
The Nissan Xterra from the model years 2005 to 2007 may have been the worst because of a widespread transmission problem that led to transmission failure on average after 90,000 kilometers. The Frontier and Pathfinder both have the same issue, and repairs typically cost roughly $3,500.
The powertrain and the fuel system are the key NHTSA and user-related worry areas for the 2005 Nissan Xterra, while the gearbox and the engine are the main user-related concern categories.
Users report that problems with the transmission system include radiator leaks, transmission failure, jerking while accelerating, transmission failure, inability to shift into low gear, and sludge in the transmission fluid.
The radiator and transmission replacement is the most popular fix for transmission failure, which costs about $3,890 to fix.
Users’ top engine worries include timing chain failure, whining noises from the engine, stalling and shutting down while driving, and the onset of the service engine soon light.
Timing chain failure repairs typically cost roughly $2,320, and the most popular fix is to replace the timing chain and tensioner at about 114,000 miles.
The drivetrain is the subject of the most NHTSA complaints, and the 2005 Xterra has problems with its engine, driveline, differential, and axle shaft.
These problems with the powertrain have led to two fires and one injury at about 103,000 miles, and customers have reported that the transmission can break down and the transmission fluid can get contaminated.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2006 Model Year
The transmission and engine were the biggest problems with the 2006 Xterra, while the NHTSA received concerns about the fuel system. The primary transmission problems are coolant leaking into the gearbox, transmission failure, and a vehicle’s inability to shift into gear.
2002 Nissan Xterra by Brownings / CC BY-SA 3.0. Many owners of Nissan Xterras in 2002 reported experiencing engine misfires, which have been attributed to a clogged exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve. Usually carbon-clogged, the damaged valves caused mild to severe engine misfires while the vehicle was moving swiftly. The EGR valve and valve passages may frequently be cleaned to alleviate the issue.
The radiator and transmission are typically replaced at about 112,000 miles to fix the coolant leak, which has an average repair cost of $3,950.
Users claim that the timing chains and tensioner are broken, the check engine light comes on, the serpentine belt produces loud noises, and the engine runs rough when accelerating in the second category of consumer complaints.
The average cost of a repair is $1,800, and the most popular fix is to replace the chain and tensioners at about 103,000 miles.
The fuel, propulsion system, auxiliary tank, fuel gauge system, and fuel distribution are the main areas of concern for the NHTSA.
Users have reported that the fuel gauge never drops below one-fourth of a tank, the car would empty after filling up, the vehicle would stall while being used, and the automobile can stall while being driven as a result of these issues.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2007 Model Year
The Nissan Xterra’s gearbox is the primary area of concern, while the fuel system is the subject of the majority of NHTSA complaints.
The primary user issues with the transmission center on coolant seeping into the transmission, the vehicle trembling and sputtering, and the ECM fuse blowing when the key is turned.
The average cost of a repair is $4,210, with the gearbox and radiator replacement being the most popular fix at 113,000 miles.
The fuel system, gasoline, propulsion system, fuel gauge, auxiliary tank, and diesel fuel system received the most complaints from the NHTSA.
Users have reported that the gas meter was still not reading properly, the car ran out of gas, the fuel gauge was displaying the wrong amount of gasoline, and the fuel sensor was showing the wrong amount of fuel on average after 55,000 miles.
Nissan Xterra Issues From the 2008 Model Year
Even though there were much fewer complaints than in prior years, and this model year had significantly fewer problems than the 2005 to 2007 model years, the transmission and engine are the primary areas of worry for the 2008 Nissan Xterra.
Less coolant seeping into the transmission and harming the mechanism was reported in 2008, yet there were still a lot of transmission deaths.
The most usual treatment is to replace the radiator, the transmission, and the transmission cooler. Coolant seeping into the transmission is the major user complaint of the transmission troubles, with the normal repair cost coming out to approximately $5,100 and occurring at around 110,000 miles.
Which are the Nissan Xterra’s Best Years You Can Consider Buying?
Out of all these good years, this list rates the best and examines the qualities that support the models’ rankings. You can trust that this list is accurate because it was created after careful investigation.
- The 2009 Nissan Xterra
- The 2011 Nissan Xterra
- The 2012 Nissan Xterra
- The 2013 Nissan Xterra
- The 2015 Nissan Xterra
The transmission and engine are the main causes for concern for the 2005 to 2008 Nissan Xterra, even though there were far fewer complaints than in previous years.
2009 Nissan Xterra Best Year
The fact that 2009 was so innovative for Xterra’s second generation is what earns it a position on our list.
This second edition, which debuted after the 2005 version, had certain design and functionality flaws that called for a mid-cycle redesign for the 2009 version.
This update preserved the second-strong gen’s points, a V6 single-choice engine with 261 horsepower while restructuring it to fix the flaws of earlier iterations. It laid the groundwork for the two aforementioned variants.
The fact that it is somewhat out of date in comparison to the other two models and has certain technical concerns, such as engine cooling and service brakes, prevents it from taking the top two slots.
2011 Nissan Xterra Best Year
Off-roaders and explorers may also find a reliable, affordable alternative in the 2011 Nissan Xterra. The car’s body-on-frame construction and basic design make it a throwback.
Two different transmissions, a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, can handle the 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. Off-roaders will love the car’s toughness, and 200,000 miles of reliability make it a fantastic choice.
The 2011 Xterra, however, has terrible fuel efficiency. This prevents it from reaching the top positions, along with radiator leaks.
2012 Nissan Xterra Best Year
All of the benefits of the mid-generation update that came after the 2009 model are present in the 2012 Nissan Xterra. The Xterra performs well in the snow and mud because of its truck-based chassis and considerable ground clearance capabilities.
Three distinct trim levels, including the Xterra Pro 4x, Xterra X, and Xterra S, are available with this model. Rear and four-wheel drive are other options, although they both provide the same 261 and 281 lb-ft of torque in terms of horsepower.
This version is limited, nevertheless, by reports of radiator leaks and antiquated technology.
2013 Nissan Xterra Best Year
Most of the attributes listed for the 2015 Nissan Xterra are also present in the 2013 model. It offers dependable performance at the same horsepower level and is comfortable for off-road excursions.
This model’s main serious flaw is that, in comparison to the 2015 model, it could be technologically outmoded. Drivers can construct a great environment with the technological characteristics listed above that cannot be duplicated in the 2013 edition.
A few complaints about engine cooling problems have also been made, but they only surface very late into use and aren’t severe enough to call for a return or structural repair.
2015 Nissan Xterra Best Year
The Nissan Xterra’s final year of manufacturing was 2015, and Nissan has updated or fixed the majority of previous problems by the time this model was created.
Three distinct trim levels, including the Xterra Pro 4x, Xterra X, and Xterra S, are available with this model. All of these models have 261 horsepower, which is more than enough power for any off-road activity you could want to engage in.
The 2012 Nissan Xterra has all the advantages of the mid-generation upgrade that came out after the 2009 model. Due to its truck-based chassis and high levels of ground clearance, the Xterra does well in the snow and mud.
With a Bluetooth hands-free system, multimedia system, USB connection, and more, you can be sure that all of your other demands are being fulfilled by the vehicle’s cutting-edge technology.
Finally, the interior layout of the automobile properly accommodates the needs of long-distance or off-road travel, and the black and traditional gray aesthetics of the vehicle are quite appealing. This also has a lot of storage space.
Overall, the Xterra in this form is a great choice.
Nissan Xterra Reliability Ratings for 2015
The 2015 Nissan Xterra finished in second place for 2015 Affordable Compact SUVs, in nineteenth place for 2015 Affordable SUVs with 2 Rows, and in last place for two additional categories.
The 2015 Nissan Xterra placed #101 in the Used Compact SUVs Under $15 K category and #99 in the Used SUVs with 2 Rows Under $15 K category.
Although the 2015 Nissan Xterra is a decent off-road vehicle with lots of space for supplies for overnight or lengthy outings, it still comes in last in many areas.
Its handling is clunky and awkward, its ride is hard and not smooth, its seats are unpleasant and unsupportive, and its interior is not luxurious and is constructed cheaply in comparison to other top competitors in the various classes.
The 2015 Nissan Xterra’s strong off-road performance and generous interior storage are among its advantages. The Nissan Xterra’s poor handling and harsh ride, lack of support in the seats, and inexpensive interior are its drawbacks.
The vehicle gets just 15 to 16 miles per gallon in the city and 20 to 22 miles per gallon on the highway, which is not very good.
On the US News Scorecard, the 2015 Nissan Xterra received a total score of 7.5 out of 10; the critics’ rating was 7.6, the performance was 7.3, the interior was 6.6, the total cost of ownership was 8.5, and the safety was 9,2 out of 10. Three out of five stars were awarded to the JD Power Reliability score.
Comparison: The Nissan Xterra Against the Jeep Wrangler
The legendary Jeep Wrangler is a tough rival when the Nissan Xterra is placed up against it. It has a lot of performance for off-roading and is undoubtedly one of the greatest off-roading cars on the market.
It includes four-wheel drive as standard with the choice of higher trims for better terrain traction. With its ability to combine on- and off-road driving, the Nissan Xterra is more practical for daily use than the Jeep Wrangler, which also has smaller seats, less luggage room, and fewer standard amenities.
The Nissan Xterra performs better than the Wrangler in terms of all-day comfort despite having handling and ride quality issues.
Comparison: The Nissan Xterra Against the Toyota 4Runner
It is difficult to top the Toyota 4Runner if you want an off-road vehicle with lots of room for extra passengers and storage. The 4Runner boasts a rearview camera, additional cargo room, and the third row for child seats than the comparable Nissan Xterra.
Despite the Nissan Xterra’s issues with its lack of smooth handling, it offers stronger acceleration and a superior infotainment system that is simple to use.
2012 Nissan Xterra Pro-4X dashboard by Michael Sheehan / CC BY 2.0. Strong off-road capability and ample internal storage are two of the 2012 Nissan Xterra’s benefits. The Nissan Xterra’s shortcomings include its poor handling and hard ride, lack of seat support, and cheap cabin.
Recalls for the Nissan Xterra
There were a total of 27 recalls for the Nissan Xterra, with the first one focusing on trailer hitches. Due to inadequate grip strength, some receiver trailer hitches may fail while in operation, which might cause a car accident.
One year later, there was another recall involving the exterior lighting. Some combination lights that did not have amber side reflectors did not meet the vehicle safety standard, leaving the vehicle with insufficient illumination that might lead to a collision.
There were numerous additional recalls in 2010, some of which were on the lower arm bushings, control arm, and sensor control module airbags. Vehicles with the air sensor control module may have been affected because the steering and the bolts holding the passenger front airbag module in place may not have been tightened to the recommended torque levels.
The lower control arm was recalled the same year, with the recall concentrating on certain model years of the 2005 to 2010 Xterra. Two cylindrical collars in the lower control link assembly may have failed as a result of incorrect welding.
Which are the Common Nissan Xterra General Issues?
Although the Nissan Xterra is unquestionably one of the most dependable SUVs available, this does not imply that problems won’t arise as it accumulates miles. The following are the most typical Nissan Xterra issues across all model years:
1. The Fuel Level Sensor Malfunction
Due to a malfunctioning fuel level sensor, several Xterra owners have reported experiencing erroneous fuel gauge readings (e.g., the gauge reading indicates that the tank is half full while the vehicle is operating on empty). This frequently results in engine stalling, which raises the possibility of traffic accidents.
Many Nissan Xterra models from 2001 to 2011 had this problem often. To fix this fuel gauge issue, the carmaker recalled some 2006 to 2008 Xterra models.
2. Leaking Radiators
Many 2005 Nissan Xterra owners have experienced radiator leakage. The leaks, according to the owners of the afflicted cars, may continue even after tightening the radiator cap on their SUV.
If this issue is discovered quickly, you might simply need to fix the bottom intake manifold. However, unattended radiator leaks might eventually result in gearbox failure by overheating the engine.
3. Transmission Malfunction
For numerous vehicles from the 2005 model year, transmission failure is another major issue. This typically happens when a radiator leaks. Transmission fluid becomes stained and milkshake-like when engine coolant interacts with it. The mixed fluids accelerate gearbox deterioration, resulting in slipping or overheating.
Because replacing your gearbox is difficult and expensive, it is essential to watch out for radiator leaks to prevent this problem. Nissan didn’t issue any recalls because of this issue, although it did extend the radiator’s warranty. Unfortunately, a lot of owners were unable to use the extended warranty since the majority of transmission problems showed up far later than 75,000 miles.
4. The Timing Chain Issues
Without addressing the timing chain difficulties that some of the 2005 Nissan Xterra models have, the lengthy list of prevalent concerns won’t be comprehensive. Before the component failed, owners of the affected vehicles claim to have heard an engine whining noise.
Faulty fuel injectors typically cause drivability issues with some Nissan Xterra model years. Fuel injector problems might be the source of engine misfires. You may notice a drop in engine power, hesitation when accelerating, and excessive vibrations when one of your car’s fuel injectors start to malfunction.
If ignored, problems with the Xterra’s timing chain tensioners, guides, and shoes can result in rattling in the engine and difficulty accelerating. In the worst-case scenarios, they may potentially cause engine failure.
The issue was sufficiently widespread that a carmaker was targeted in a class-action lawsuit. Nissan consented to pay $450 of the overall repair expenses for this problem. This, however, only applied to Xterras with fewer than 100,000 miles.
Your timing chain or the entire engine may need to be replaced, depending on the severity of the damage. You might spend more than $2,000 on components and labor for repairs.
5. Failure of the Fuel Injector
Several Nissan Xterra model years also frequently have driveability concerns as a result of malfunctioning fuel injectors. Engine misfires may be caused by faulty fuel injectors. When one of your vehicle’s fuel injectors begins to malfunction, you can experience a decline in engine performance, hesitancy when accelerating, and excessive vibrations.
Typically, when a defective fuel injector is detected, the check engine light turns on. It might not light up, though, if the fuel injector’s connection became damaged or obstructed and created the issue.
Many Nissan model years 2000 to 2004 had fuel injector problems. On the majority of impacted vehicles, replacing the defective item fixed the problem.
6. Obstructed EGR Valve
A blocked exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve has been blamed for engine misfires experienced by many Nissan Xterra owners between 2000 and 2002. The damaged valves were typically carbon-clogged, which resulted in mild to severe engine misfires while moving quickly. The problem was often resolved by cleaning the EGR valve and valve passageways.
Purchasing an Xterra should include some risk as long as you’re aware of any potential issues you could have with it. Check out our guide or the NHTSA website for further information if you want to find out if the model you wish to buy is subject to any recalls.
Nissan Xterras: Are They Reliable?
Major dependability assessments give the Nissan Xterra above-average ratings. Consumer Reports scored the SUV a 3 out of 5 stars, while RepairPal gave it a 3.9 out of 5. J.D. Power gave the 2015 Nissan Xterra an above-average rating for reliability and resale value. When it was initially introduced, it was a strong competitor in its segment thanks to high scores for driveability.
What Is the Nissan Xterra’s Maximum Mileage?
Any potential reader will find the answer to this question to be quite appealing. The Xterra may go up to 200,000 miles on average and can last the buyer 13 to 15 years, depending on usage.
It may also last up to 230,000 miles, which is a substantial amount for any vehicle, depending on how frequently the oil is changed and how well the car is maintained in general.
Of course, how well the car is maintained, repaired, and handled ultimately determines how reliable it is, but it also demonstrates how dependable this SUV is.
Why Were the Nissan Xterras Discontinued?
After the 2015 model was produced, the Xterra was withdrawn from the market. Officially, the corporation stated that low fuel efficiency and dwindling sales were the main causes of the termination.
Nissan Xterra N50 by peterolthof / CC BY-ND 2.0. According to RepairPal, the Nissan Xterra is rated 4.0 out of 5.0 for reliability, placing it ninth out of 32 brands. Regarding reliability, Nissan’s retiring SUV lineup is tough to beat.
The Xterra’s body-on-frame design fell out of favor in favor of crossover SUVs built on a single vehicle’s unibody.
Second, it just wasn’t profitable enough to continue manufacturing due to Xterra’s poor fuel efficiency in contrast to stricter environmental laws.
Nissan Xterras: Are They Good Off-Road Cars?
The Xterra is renowned for having the excellent off-road ability. The 4.0 V6 engine, which is considered to be the greatest model available, has a maximum output of 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, along with a 5000-pound towing capability and 920-pound carrying capacity.
The Xterra is a very dependable off-road vehicle as a result of this, in addition to its five-speed automatic gearbox, its tough-looking cabin, and its comfy interior.
It might not be as maneuverable as SUVs constructed on ordinary automobile platforms. However, it still offers a good deal of comfort combined with a high level of dependability for touring and off-roading.
Do Nissan Xterras Handle Snowy Terrains Well?
The Xterras are well renowned for being excellent choices for both the summer and the chilly winter months when it comes to slicing through the snow.
With versions of the second generation produced after 2009, the vehicle’s toughness in the snow is particularly evident. When traversing heavy snow, the ground clearance of the Xterra Pro 4X in particular is quite advantageous.
Larger tires, skid plates, hill descent control, and a standard electronic locking rear differential will also be included in this version, all of which will be quite helpful while driving in snow.
Is Nissan Xterra Fuel Efficient?
Gas mileage for the Xterra, which ranges from 16 to 19 mpg, is not the best. The figure hovers closer to 16 mpg for four-wheelers that often travel off-road.
As a result, it is clear that the Xterra is not very fuel-efficient and in some situations may even be considered a gas hog.
However, the rider may adjust this mileage if they drive slowly, use high-quality gas, and engage in other sensible activities. These actions can all help the rider get a better gas economy.
However, it is still unavoidable that other Nissan cars perform far better when it comes to gas efficiency, and the SUV is not the greatest for this specific characteristic.
But it seems logical that it won’t get the best mileage because this is an SUV for off-roaders.
And now that we have reached the final section, the conclusion, let’s quickly review everything and share our ideas. This lengthy essay explained what the Nissan Xterra is and went in-depth on all facets of each model year. We studied the specifications, engines, fuel efficiency, safety, and any issues. We identified these models’ main flaws.
The first model year is mostly trouble-free, however, the second is more prone to issues. However, it continues to do well. The period from 2000 to 2008 should be avoided while purchasing a Nissan Xterra. The worst and most bothersome are these.
The Xterra is a dependable little SUV that has seen its share of ups and downs in its short lifespan.
However, in general, it is a low-cost SUV that offers dependable performance to the typical enthusiast or rider. It is a pleasant experience because of its cozy and durable characteristics, and it has made every effort to catch up with technological advancements.
However, some internal design problems demand assiduous care from the customer. A terrific car to own is the Xterra, especially for adventurers.
However, the best use of it can only be made if one is also cautious in how they use the vehicle. Even while it may not be the greatest luxury car, the typical off-road explorer may make good use of it.
Nyangano Maurice specializes in vehicle troubleshooting and has more than 10 years of experience in the automobile industry. Over many years of experience as a car mechanic, he has acquired a broad range of skills, including engine repair, brake systems, electrical systems, and more. He frequently hosts community workshops and training programs to help motor vehicle owners understand their vehicles better.