2005 Nissan Xterra

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2005 Nissan Xterra Review

Appeals to those who want an SUV with power and off-roading capability.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The Nissan Xterra is fully redesigned for 2005. Its six-cylinder engine is more powerful, and there is a more spacious interior. The 4.0-liter engine pumps out a spectacular 265 horsepower and is available in either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Nissan has geared the Xterra transmissions for precision shifting to make it drive like a car. The new design appears to be geared more towards younger people with its increased power, versatility, and off-roading capability. The interior is roomy, with increased leg room in the rear and a heightened roof. There is more glass, so passengers are able to get a nice view of the terrain outside during the ride.

The Range

Body styles: SUV
Engine: 4.0-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Nissan Xterra S, Nissan Xterra Off Road, Nissan Xterra SE

What's New

The 2005 Nissan Xterra has greater dimensions. New side steps in the rear have been installed. The roof rack has a new design, although it is not that easy to notice the change. The engine gets a drastic improvement, going from 180 to 265 horsepower. It also has more torque. In 2005, Nissan decided to stop offering a four-cylinder engine. There is more space due to a heightened roof and seating position, so passengers enjoy a more comfortable ride.


The 2005 Nissan Xterra’s wheelbase is extended two inches in order to provide a smoother ride and increased space in its interior. It is built on a version of Nissan’s F-Alpha full-size truck platform. It has a large hood with an integrated front bumper. The grille has angled bars and looks similar to other Nissan SUVs. There is a new roof rack and rear side steps. The length and height increased by a couple of inches. One downside is the door opening in the rear, which is very narrow making for difficult entry and exit. No third row is offered in comparison to the Nissan Pathfinder. The SE models come equipped with 17-inch wheels, making it more attractive and stable.


The 2005 Nissan Xterra comfortably seats up to five passengers. Front seat leg room and head room is adequate. There is 60/40 split, folding rear seat that comes standard in every vehicle. A fold-down passenger seatback comes optional for storing longer items. The center console is bigger in size than in prior years. There is a double-deck glove box installed. Ten utility hooks occupy the cargo space. There is a first-aid kit, which is built into the interior. An exceptional audio system consisting of nine-speakers is powered by a 300-watt Rockford system. The interior has a wipe-out-clean surface. The seats in the second row are heightened for clearer visibility.

Performance & Handling

The 2005 Nissan Xterra is powered by a six-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower and 285 lb-ft of torque. It is available in either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. In comparison to other SUVs on the market, it is more powerful and allows for more aggressive driving. The automatic and manual transmissions shift smoothly, allowing for a smooth ride. It is capable of rugged four-wheel driving. The four-wheel-drive system that is built to work only on slick surfaces. The package that comes with the off-road model includes Bilstein shocks, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, and a clutch-interlock defeat switch. The front suspension has an independent double-wishbone setup, while the rear suspension has a live axle in back instead of an independent rear system. Still, the ride is as smooth as that in the Pathfinder.


Anti-lock brakes are installed on all four wheels with brake-force distribution and Brake Assist to ensure proper braking. Front side airbags come standard, as well as curtain side airbags which cover both seating rows. It gets a five-star rating from the NSTSA in their side crash test. Frontal crash tests get a four-star rating. Pretensioners in the seatbelts tighten the belts automatically in order to keep passengers in an optimal seating position during a crash. There are anti-whiplash head restraints installed to protect passengers during rear collisions. Rear child safety doors are installed. A panic alarm, ignition disabling system, content theft-deterrent alarm system, and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDS) are all optional.

EPA Fuel Economy

Nissan Xterra: 17/22 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Improved stability
  • Off-road ability
  • Towing capacity

You Won't Like

  • Below average fuel economy
  • Narrow rear doors
  • Low-grade interior materials

Sum Up

Appeals to those who want an SUV with power and off-roading capability.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Honda Pilot
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Ford Explorer

See the New 2014 Xterra.

Front & Driver Side View

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