2012 Nissan Xterra


Pros: Powerful V6 engine; Affordable price; Secure off-road handling; Innovative cargo features

Cons: Middling fuel economy; Poor on-road handling; Plenty of wind and road noise

The 2012 Nissan Xterra is both handsome and affordable and in a world where most SUV’s have been sissified, the Xterra remains a no-nonsense off-roader that is ready for just about anything you throw at it.

Unfortunately, I don’t expect the Xterra to be around for much longer due to its middling fuel economy and aging engineering. So, If you have an active family that likes to trek off the beaten path, I would grab up this great backwoods companion quickly.

Body Styles, Trims & Options
The 2012 Nissan Xterra is available in 3 trim levels- the entry level X, the midrange S and the determined off-road Pro-4X. The X and S trims are available with your choice of rear-wheel drive for four-wheel drive, while the Pro-4X is only available with four-wheel drive. If you plan on staying on the pavement, you may want to stick with the 2WD variants.

Standard features on the base X include 16-inch steel wheels, roof rack side rails, privacy glass, keyless entry, AC, cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback and a 6-speaker sound system with a CD player and speed sensitive volume control.

Stepping up to the midlevel S model will get you 16-inch alloy wheels, adjustable height and lumbar support for the driver, a cargo organization system with an Easy-Clean® cargo area and a first aid kit. Four-wheel drive S models get power mirrors, a front tow hook roof rack crossbars and covered gear box.

As the name suggests, the Pro-4X adds several off-road features including skid plates, an electronic locking rear differential, roof mounted off-road driving lights and exclusive 16-inch alloy wheels with premium BFGoodrich® Rugged Trail® tires. Other standard features include fog lamps, upgraded cloth upholstery with a fold-flat front passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an auto dimming rearview mirror with compass and an upgraded 9-speaker sound system with Bluetooth®, a 6-disc CD changer and an auxiliary audio input jack. An available Pro-4X Leather Package will get you leather upholstery but you will lose the added utility of the fold-flat front passenger seat.

Standard safety features include stability and traction control, antilock brakes with brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, front airbags, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Hill start assist and hill-decent control are standard on Pro-4x models

Warranty Information
Every new 2012 Nissan has got you covered with limited vehicle coverage for 3 years or 36,000 miles and a limited powertrain warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first. A Federal Emission Performance Warranty is also included as well as other various emission warranties.  Seat belt related components are covered for 10 years/unlimited miles and a tire limited warranty is also included but varies depending on the brand of tire that comes on your new vehicle.


Available Trims MSRP
2012 Xterra X $25,210
2012 Xterra S $27,200
2012 Xterra Pro-4X $28,454
Similar Vehicles MSRP
2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport $26,470
2012 Mitsubishi Outlander GT $26,705
2012 Toyota Rav4 $25,495

EPA Ratings




Fuel Economy (city/highway)

Xterra S & Pro-4X

4.0-liter V6 Engine

4×4, 6-Speed Manual Transmission


Xterra X, S & Pro-4X

4.0-liter V6 Engine

4×4, 5-Speed Automatic Transmission


Xterra X & S

4.0-liter V6 Engine

4×2, 5-Speed Automatic Transmission


Christine is a Contributing Editor at DriverPulse, a provider of online automotive editorial reviews and news. She is also an Account Manager and Head of Client Services for Nusani Media. She drinks a lot of coffee, loves to drive (manual, of course) and enjoys the company of her dog. She spends her free time exploring the great outdoors, painting and volunteering at her local animal shelter. Her passion for cars started at an early age. While most little girls were playing with dolls, she was playing with matchbox cars and watching her grandfather work on his prized Fords. She believes a vehicle should not only give you goosebumps while speeding around the circuit, its design should be purpose focused and elicit a pure emotional response. Her dream car, the Porsche Carrara GT, may not be easy to control however it is the perfect definition of form following function; mind blowing performance and beauty.

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