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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19 years of experience
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Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

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Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
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Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
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