2014 Nissan X-Terra


2014 Nissan X-Terra S
$25,670 base MRSP
16/22 MPG (advertised)
16.9 MPG (real-world, over a week of driving)

Overall Impressions:

A compromise. Less utility than you’d expect, rough and unrefined drivetrain and a very basic interior leaves an overall impression that this vehicle was built to a price-point.

Especially troubling as this was the “S” model with higher trim level.

There are better vehicles out there.

TMS (Tall Man’s Score): B-

Headroom: A

Headroom was reasonable–but it should be in an SUV.

Mirror Location: B+

The mirror location was acceptable but there was room to move it further out of the way. Side view mirrors could use more adjustable range.

Headrest: C-

Really intrusive. One of the worst headrests out there. Definitely need to recline the seat to make the car comfortable.

Given that other manufacturers are starting to solve this, Nissan needs to bring a better solution forward for 2015.

Legroom: A

Good legroom–and again it’s an SUV so it should be good. However, there is a bit of “sitting up” in the driving position, and legroom (if you need to stretch out) seems to be a bit awkward.

Seat Comfort: C

Don’t like these seats. Seem to have minimal support, and a very cheap feeling material (so cheap that I would worry about its longevity).

No telescoping steering wheel also cramps the seating position. (Why Nissan chose to leave feature out is beyond me–don’t all cars have this now? Surprised they didn’t have roll-up windows too).

 Vehicle Review

Engine: C

Loud and unrefined. And not enough horsepower for a vehicle this size. Did I mention loud and unrefined? (And a really lumpy idle…maybe it needed adjustment but it felt like it was always on the verge of stalling).

Transmission: C

Weird manual shifting mode (with first and second left and right and third vertical with PRN and D). Likely an offroad “feature”–and one I’m guessing no one will ever use. Also poor traction control in this drivetrain–had wheelspin on a rainy day, even with traction control on. 4WD switch is accessible from the passenger compartment.

Interior: C

Basic interior, filled with plastic. Cheap feeling. Lots of noise and squeaks from the cargo compartment too. This example has 30,000 miles, but even so you’d expect a “tighter” car. Put on a few more miles and this one will sound like a grocery cart running over a washboard.

Visibility: B

Decent visibility, with windows all around.

A bit better than most in that there is actually a hood (so you have at least some idea of where the front of the car is).

Electronics: C

Basic electronic systems. No digital touchscreen. No backup camera. Dash if from 1990, with a bright orange scheme that is harsh.

The good news is that there are knobs that can be used without taking your eyes off the road.

Utility: C-

An SUV where the rear seats don’t fold down all the way. Really?

Appearance: B-

Don’t like it–looks too much like a toy. And has a strange “step” to the side windows that make it look a bit like a bus. And those fender flares–ugly!

 Miscellaneous Musings:

Not sure what Nissan was thinking on this one. Ugly, cheap and underpowered–especially bad considering this was the higher trim “S” model. Not sure who their target market is–maybe it’s rental car companies, because I can’t see any consumers choosing this over the other SUVs that are on the market. Even though I’m not a big fan of the Ford Edge, I’d prefer that in a heartbeat over the Nissan.

Even though this came out with a reasonable TMS, it’s not a car to buy.

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