A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Nissan Xterra

The 2012 Nissan Xterra is designed for those who want a true sport utility that can still handle off-road driving with ease. Built on the same F-Alpha platform seen in the Titan and Frontier trucks, the Xterra also sports 16-inch alloy wheels with either off-road performance tires or all-season options depending on your needs.

Key Features

The Xterra includes options for those who want a truly off-road experience, even when driving in the city, including a Dana rear axle, skid plates, a ride height that’s taller and flared fenders. However, the standard 12-volt outlets, Easy Clean cargo space, split rear seats and side nets for the luggage all make this SUV great for family road trips and heading to work. The safety is also built right in with driver and passenger air bags and side-curtain air bags in the front and rear, and active head restraints and head protection standard.

Changes for 2012

The only changes for the 2012 Nissan Xterra is that it is available in two additional paint colors, which are Brilliant Silver and Metallic Blue.

What We Like

The sheer ruggedness of this SUV shows Nissan hasn’t given over to the car-based SUV crossovers as many other manufacturers have. If you want a vehicle that is great on the highway yet still offers excellent off-road handling on the weekends, this is sure to be your favorite option.

What Concerns Us

The interior is still somewhat plain compared to the options available in other SUV models, and it hasn’t really changed since it was first introduced in 2005. If you’re looking for all the comfort and updated convenience options available in newer models, you won’t get it with the Xterra.

Available Models

The 2012 Xterra is available in three models: the X, S and PRO-4X. All three models use the same 261 horsepower V6 engine, although both a 5-speed automatic and 6-speed manual transmission is available on the X and S models. The PRO-4X is only available with the manual transmission, but also includes locking electronic rear differential and performance shocks. Each model offers 261 horsepower @ 5600 rpm, 281 torque @ 4000 rpm along with 22 mpg highway and 16 mpg city.

Major Recalls

Currently, there are two recalls out for the 2012 Nissan Xterra. The first is due to the wheel hubs not being manufactured to the proper hardness, which could cause them to crack. The second recall is for the connector bolt for the engine oil cooler. Some bolts were manufactured with a strength that was below specifications, which could result in an oil leak.

Common Issues

Commonly reported issues for this vehicle include failed ECMs, the engine stalling while driving and paint and body issues related to rusting and leaking.

Nissan Xterra 2012 Interior


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Caz

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Colby called to notify me he was in route to the inspection--to ease my mind and to ask if there was anything in particular/extra I wanted him to check out. He was going to do a pre-purchase inspection of a 2002 Ford Ranger. He assured me that I hired the right guy since he'd worked for Ford for 13 years. An hour or so later, he called me while he was driving home to discuss his inspection. I could ask him everything I wanted as we dialogued. That was so helpful! And way more personable and real than just reading the report he emailed. The report was thorough and included a test drive. He had recommendations for some work to be immediately done; rotors & brake pads. Then, included the cost for him to do that work should I choose. The price was fair and not crazy expensive. I'm still deliberating on whether to have that done or to wait for my mechanic to do it once I have the truck. Thank you again Colby.

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