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2008 Nissan Xterra

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2008 Nissan Xterra Review

A great choice for outdoor adventures.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2008 Nissan Xterra is packed with exterior and interior features, while it brings few new features to the table this year. Safety is great on the vehicle, as is fuel economy. The Xterra’s performance and handling is another great aspect, and the off-roading capabilities really hit home.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.0 liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: X, S, Off Road, SE

What's New

The 2008 Nissan Xterra SUV gets few upgrades this year. The X models get power windows, locks, and mirrors; remote keyless entry; and cruise control. Two new colors are added to the line: Red Alert for the exterior and Sandstone for the interior. The S model gets standard step rails, first aid, and a cargo net. A technology package is a new option, and it features Bluetooth, XM satellite radio pre-wiring for automatic transmission models, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an upgraded Rockford-Fosgate audio system.


The 2008 Nissan Xterra comes in nine different colors. Exterior features include an angled strut style front-grille and a roof rack rails with air dam. Black front and rear bumpers, outside mirrors, and door handles are a nice contrast to the various colors offered. Both the front and rear windshield wipers are intermittent, with the front wiper having various timing settings. The rear window is dark tinted privacy glass. The Off Road model comes with fog lamps and off-road tires. It comes equipped with 16-inch steel wheels, and the lower radiator has a skid plate. The roof rack on the S model has cross bars and a gear basket. The wheels on the S model are aluminum alloy.


The 2008 Nissan Xterra has many great interior features, which include front reclining bucket seats covered by a cloth fabric, power locks, power steering, power windows, and adjustable head restraints on both the front and rear seats. The second row seat is 60/40 split-fold and has removable cushions. The steering wheel includes mounted cruise controls and is tilt adjustable. A remote keyless entry system is in place with a security alarm included. There is an AM/FM/CD player stereo system with six speakers. The standard air-conditioning system includes a rear window defroster. The glove box has a lock, light, and damper. There is a storage compartment under the cargo area. The S model adds an adjustable lumbar support system for the driver’s seat. The seat fabrics are upgraded, and the cargo area has an adjustable channel system with four hooks and Nissan’s Easy Clean surface. The SE model adds a trip computer, lighted vanity mirrors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass. The sound system in the SE models is a 380-watt Rockford-Fosgate with eight speakers and a subwoofer. This includes a six-disc CD changer, XM satellite radio, and MP3 capability with an auxiliary jack for portable music devices. The SE models also include a Bluetooth hands free phone system, steering wheel controls, and speed-sensitive volume control.

Performance & Handling

The 2008 Nissan Xterra comes with a four-liter, V-6 engine with 261 horsepower, which provides for 281 lb-ft of torque. The transmission options are between a five-speed automatic and a six-speed manual shift. There is also an option for four-wheel drive on all models. The power steering is an engine speed-sensitive pinion steering system. The front suspension is double wishbone independent and the rear suspension is the rigid leaf style.


The 2008 Nissan Xterra received an above average rating in most categories. It earned three stars for its rollover rating, four stars for drive and passenger front impact ratings, and five stars in driver and passenger side impact ratings. The safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, dual stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, and an occupant sensor for the passenger seat. The families will enjoy the rear child safety door locks and the lower anchors and tethers for child seats.

EPA Fuel Economy

Nissan Xterra 4WD Automatic Off Road/S/SE/X: 14/20 mpg city/highway
Nissan Xterra 2WD Automatic S/SE/X: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Nissan Xterra 4WD/2WD Manual X/S/Off Road: 16/20 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Safety
  • Features
  • Off-road capabilities

You Won't Like

  • Rear-wheel drive in harsh weather

Sum Up

A great choice for outdoor adventures.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Ford Explorer

See the New 2015 Xterra.

Front & Driver Side View