2013 Nissan Xterra Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 14, 2013
  • 5-passenger seating
  • Choice of rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD)
  • Standard V-6 engine
  • 5,000-pound towing capacity
  • 3 available trim levels
  • EPA-estimated to achieve up to 22 mpg on the highway


With the 2013 Pathfinder's transition from SUV to crossover, the 2013 Nissan Xterra is left as one of the brand's only body-on-frame sport utility models. X and S trim levels are offered, along with a PRO-4X variant that now features a standard navigation system.

Exterior Features

Equipment on the entry-level Xterra X includes 16-inch steel wheels, rear window wiper and privacy glass, engine skid plate, roof rails, and black trim. The mid-level Xterra S trim level adds 16-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable outside mirrors, body side moldings, and enclosed rooftop storage (4WD only). For the PRO-4X, this assortment of standard features is upgraded with unique 16-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain tires, automatic headlights, fog and roof-mounted off-road lights, and additional skid plates.

Interior Features

Among the 2013 Nissan Xterra X's standard interior features are a tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, 6-speaker sound system, keyless entry, cruise control, power windows and door locks, and up to 65.7 cubic feet of cargo space when the 60/40 split-folding rear seat is in the down position. The Xterra S includes an 8-way manual driver's seat, cargo area offering adjustable tie downs built into a washable plastic floor, additional front power outlet, and an audio system featuring a USB port, 4.3-inch display screen, and satellite radio service.

Items reserved specifically for the 2013 Xterra PRO-4X include Bluetooth connectivity, leather-wrapped steering wheel, fold-flat front passenger seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, white gauges, and a 300-watt sound system. The PRO-4X is also equipped with a standard voice-activated navigation system that includes a 5.8-inch touch screen, real-time traffic information, app-linked Internet radio, and text messaging capability.

Optional Features

A variety of accessories, such as a towing package, are available from Nissan dealers, but there are only two factory options. The Value package is available on all Xterra models and adds fog lights, running boards, and roof rail cross bars. A PRO-4X Leather package, featuring leather upholstery and a passenger seatback pocket, is also offered.

Under the Hood

Nissan continues to equip the Xterra with a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that delivers 261 horsepower and 281 lb.-ft. of torque, output that is managed by a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.

The Xterra is available in RWD and part-time 4WD configurations. The latter features a 2-speed transfer case; PRO-4X models include hill-start assist, hill-descent control, limited-slip differential, and an electronic locking rear differential.

All 2013 Nissan Xterras can tow up to 5,000 pounds and feature a double-wishbone front suspension complimented by a solid rear axle and leaf springs. PRO-4X models are equipped with off-road shocks and provide 9.5 inches of ground clearance.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Nissan Xterra are:

  • Xterra RWD: 16/22/18 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Xterra 4WD with manual transmission: 16/20/17 mpg
  • Xterra 4WD with automatic transmission: 15/20/17 mpg


The 2013 Nissan Xterra's standard safety features include 6 air bags, traction control, front active head restraints, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and electronic brake-force distribution. PRO-4X models also include a rearview camera.

In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Xterra received a "Good" rating--the Institute's highest--for moderate frontal-offset crash protection. As this preview is written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not rated the crashworthiness of the 2013 Nissan Xterra.
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