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2011 Nissan Xterra

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2011 Nissan Xterra Review

Lacks in styling features but good choice for the outdoorsman.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2011 Nissan Xterra is an SUV that was created for lovers of the outdoors with plenty of roof space and four-wheel drive capabilities. With the sturdy construction of body-on-frame, tall ground clearance, and robust V-6, along with the tough-guy appearance of the SUV, the Xterra is truly built for serious outdoor adventures.

Choosing the Pro-4X model will let you truly take the truck anywhere you want with the addition of skid plates, roof-mounted lights, hill descent control, and locking rear differential. The four doors add to its practicality for the times that you are on asphalt toting a family or friends. The Nissan Xterra has powerful off-road advantages, along with the civilized traditional features of newer crossover SUVs. The only slight downside is the fuel thirst that SUVs are known for and the Xterra follows the crowd in that area. Overall, however, the 2011 Nissan Xterra is a good choice in SUVs for practicality and off-road ability.

The Range

Body styles: SUV
Engines: 4.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed automatic, six-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Nissan Xterra X, Nissan Xterra S, Nissan Xterra Pro-4X

What's New

For the 2011 Nissan Xterra, the only changes are within the naming of trim levels, with the Pro-4X taking over the previous name, Off-Road, and it dropped the SE level.


The 2011 Nissan Xterra is available in seven color choices of Lava Red, Avalanche, Metallic Green, Night Armor, Red Brick, Silver Lightning, and Super Black. The four-door SUV can be either four-wheel or rear drive, with the exception of the Pro-4X model, which is four-wheel drive only. Heavy-duty rails and gear basket are located on the roof for transporting large items.

The standard exterior features include privacy glass, keyless entry, and 16-inch steel wheels. The X model add standard features such as off-road tires and alloy wheels, while the Pro-4X come with upgraded 16-inch alloy wheels and off-road tires, off-road lights that are roof-mounted, skid plates, and foglamps.


The Xterra's interior features are numerous, and the controls are very easy to use and are within reach. The cargo area is sufficient as well. The capacity with the seats upright is approximately 35 cubic feet and 66 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. There are built-in locating systems for securing gear and bike racks on the floor of the cargo area.

The Xterra X has power locks, power mirrors, air-conditioning, cruise control, steering wheel with tilt, and a CD sound system with six speakers. The S model is upgraded with the lumbar control that is built into the driver seat which is height-adjustable for customization.

Opting for the Pro-4X will enhance the interior further by adding a unique cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, audio controls on the steering wheel, leather steering wheel, passenger seat that folds flat, white-face gauges, auxiliary audio jack, satellite radio, and an awesome Rockford Fosgate six-CD changer sound system. There is a Leather Package for the Pro-4X model that upgrades to leather upholstery and adds a back pocket on the passenger seat.

Performance & Handling

The performance of the 2011 Nissan Xterra is sure to please with the powerful V-6 that confidently maneuvers with very precise steering. There is also a relatively slight body roll. With underpinnings that are truck-derived, the off-road performance is impressive with high ground clearance and long suspension travel. The 4.0-liter V-6 produces horsepower of 261 and 281 lb-ft of torque that can go from standstill to 60 mph in approximately 8 seconds.

Available with five-speed transmission are the 4x2 models S and X, while the 4x4 S and Pro-4X can choose between automatic and manual six-speed transmission. The Pro-4X can be purchased with four-wheel drive that has low-range gearing in the multimode transfer case, but the other models come standard with rear drive.


The 2011 Nissan Xterra has several safety standard features like stability control, anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, side curtain airbags, and side airbags in the front seat. The Pro-4X models will also come complete with the hill-start assist and hill-descent control. The braking tests show that it will require about 131 feet before coming to a complete stop from a speed of 60 mph.

The government testing for the 2011 Nissan Xterra has not yet been done because of the change in strenuous procedures since 2010. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the SUV the best rating of ""good"" in testing for side and frontal-offset, but only gave the ""acceptable"" rating for roof strength.

EPA Fuel Economy

Nissan Xterra rear-drive: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway/combined 17 mpg
Nissan Xterra four-wheel drive: 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/combined 17 mpg
Nissan Xterra manual transmission: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway/combined 17 mpg

You'll Like

  • Serious off-road expertise
  • Innovative cargo features
  • Powerful V-6

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy compared to other crossovers
  • Unimpressive materials and interior design

Sum Up

Lacks in styling features but good choice for the outdoorsman.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Subaru Forester
  • Kia Sportage
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • Mazda CX-7

See the New 2015 Xterra.

Front & Driver Side View