2002 Nissan X-Terra SE (non supercharged) 3.3 from North America


Practical, reliable, looks cool, good off road


I bought this Xterra used as a winter beater and to use for work (I'm a home inspector) when winter here in Ontario gets tricky.

For a SUV that is almost 10 years old, it is in remarkably good shape, with only minor issues that are simple wear & tear related things, such as suspension bushes, tyres etc. As with any used car I guess, choosing one that has been cared for is the main thing.

General Comments:

The Xterra starts first time every time, performs very well off road, and is very practical in terms of carrying my tools and ladders, dogs, camping gear, bike etc.

I'm not sure what the deal is with some of the other reviews I've seen here with regard to fuel consumption, but mine returns a consistent 13 litres per 100km (around 20mpg US) in mixed highway and town driving, which I don't think is bad at all for a heavy 3.3 SUV.

The power output is low at 170bhp, but these engines are an old design; what you gain in tried & trusted engineering, you lose in performance. Torque is what counts on these vehicles, and I have no complaints in that department.

On road manners aren't that great, but again - if you want comfort and performance, buy a car instead of a truck based SUV. My one real gripe is with the rear seats. Instead of folding flat, they fold down to about 20 degrees, and only when you remove the seat cushion altogether. This is a real piece of cost cutting design, which goes completely against the practicality ethos of any SUV, let alone the Xterra, which was specifically marketed for its practicality at the time.

I live in a town with a GM plant, and get the odd snide comment about not buying a domestic, which really ticks me off. The Xterra was built in Tennessee; yet these know-nothings appear to think it would be perfectly acceptable for me to buy a Silverado made in Mexico.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th November, 2011

2002 Nissan X-Terra Base 3.3 from North America


Reliable rugged SUV for work and play


Never have had a serious problem. Most were minor things easily fixed at home.

During an oil change, the mechanics found a leak from the transmission. New gasket, under warranty.

Front grill trim faded, I sanded and painted it in an afternoon; $5.

Battery terminal corrodes, rendering the car unable to start. Kept a 12mm wrench and terminal cleaner in the glove compartment, and it was fine.

I had the "side marker blow a fuse" problem. Quick fix after some research.

Heat shields on cats corroded, removed.

Snaps and cracks from front suspension; small amount of grease to the turn stops eliminated it.

General Comments:

Fuel economy is the only problem. Best I've ever made was 19mpg on a road trip. If you bite that bullet, the car pays dividends in reliability and utility.

The engine drives like new at 100k with regular oil changes and some regular maintenance. I was especially fond of the build of the vehicle; most regular maintenance can be done by anyone with basic car repair skills. The forums are also very extensive and comprehensive, so there's always a excellent reference.

Like all two wheel drives, it's pretty useless as a serious off-road vehicle. Dirt paths and trails are no problem, but any situation where serious traction is needed is a problem. There were some snowstorms and farm work where I had wished for 4wd, but during the other 360 days of the year, it never matters. Plus, the 2wd turning radius is incredible. I frequently think a rear locker would make a 2wd almost as capable as a 4wd, because every other aspect is identical.

The interior is not refined, nor well equipped for a diva. But for a regular guy who spills coffee, tracks in dirt, or has friends in it, it's perfect.

Air con works just fine, rear wiper is a little strange with one speed, but I don't care. I've also used that first aid pack more times than I can count.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2011