Home » Nissan Xterras Are Still Insanely Cheap Despite Being Extremely Cool

Nissan Xterras Are Still Insanely Cheap Despite Being Extremely Cool

Xterra Cheap Ts
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Four-wheel drive. Manual transmission. Body-on-frame. Solid rear axle. Short overhangs. Handsome, muscular good looks. The Nissan Xterra had all the makings of a collectible off-road SUV, and yet, if you look at the listings for used ones, you’ll see: They are pretty much worthless. In fact, I found a rare, manual, supercharged model for a song, and I’m still wondering if it’s a scam.

The Nissan Xterra’s cheapness has been a “thing” for years, but I would have thought that, by 2024, things would have changed. Real off-road SUVs have boomed since COVID, especially in light of modern SUVs (including legends like the Land Rover Defender) having become unibody, independent suspension-featuring street machines. Surely, by now the Xterra isn’t still a bargain? A nice Jeep Cherokee XJ could be had for pennies 10 years ago, now a nice one will cost you 10 Gs.

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Not so with the Xterra. It remains unloved by the American automotive marketplace.

I bring this up because, while browsing Facebook Marketplace for smoking hot car deals even though I totally shouldn’t be given the absurd number of vehicles I already have clogging up the Galpin parking lot, I discovered this:

Xterra Fb

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My screen brightened on its own, a church choir began to sing, and a golden halo hovered above my laptop’s monitor. Look at it: A manual transmission, four-wheel drive, supercharged Nissan Xterra, and in a nice blue color, no less! All for the absurdly low price of $3,400.

I asked the seller if there’s anything wrong with it. No, apparently it runs and drives fine. Then I asked other Autopian authors if this was a scam, and no, it’s probably not. These things are cheap, though part of that is that they do require some maintenance:

Wtf Xterra Cheap

Add to that the fact that supercharged models are apparently absurd gas-guzzlers that struggle to reach the double-digits of fuel economy, and they require premium fuel and timing belts (on the 3.3-liter models, which made between 170 and 210 horsepower; later VQ40DE engines made over 260 horsepower, had chains, and were generally considered quite reliable), and the case for buying an Xterra gets a bit weaker.

Still, despite these issues, the vehicle is enticing to me — and actually, not just me. Folks on Reddit are wondering the same thing that I am:

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Any Particular Reason

Here’s another Reddit post:

Cheap For What

Many of the answers say the Xterra’s cheap pricing comes down to branding in a world where Toyota and Jeep reign supreme. Here’s a quote from Redditor deliberatelycurious:

I think a lot of it’s got to do with the brand – Toyota has a name that Nissan just doesn’t. That, and the lower availability of aftermarket accessories. You also do make some “compromises” but most of us don’t feel like we compromised at all! Compared to the 4Runner, which is the Xterra’s closest competitor, you get an interior that’s not as fancy and lacks many of the bells and whistles. That, however, is one of the things that makes the Xterra so be great: its no nonsense approach.

That, and I like the look/size of the Xterra way more than the 4Runner, which is why I drive one!

Screen Shot 2024 06 06 At 1.22.25 Pm

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Here’s Redditor huckyourmeat2:

They don’t have the name recognition of Jeeps or Toyotas. They aren’t converted into dedicated wheelers as often, so stock vehicles in good condition are easy to find, driving the price down. They are basically just Nissan’s budget truck (Frontier) with an SUV body. The engine, while solid, is an old design, hasn’t been updated since the 2nd gen was introduced, gets crap fuel economy, and isn’t particularly powerful. Early 2nd gens have a rep for radiator problems.

Having said all that, I love mine. I only wish that aftermarket accesories were cheaper and easier to come by…

Here’s sarge21rvb:

It’s simple supply and demand. More people want 4runners or jeeps, so they command a higher price. It’s also kinda meh as an on-road SUV. Very little creature comforts and the gas mileage leaves a bit to be desired. It is very large inside, though (can fit an entire queen sized mattress inside the car), and its off road capabilities make it very practical for bad weather, too.

And here’s WombatWithFedora:

It’s not a Toyota or a Jeep

2009 Xterra

I think branding is indeed a big part of the equation; it’s not exactly easy to make inroads into the off-road mainstream. The old Toyota FJ Cruiser, for example, didn’t exactly sell in droves. In fact, in the off-road scene, the top dogs have always been vehicles that have had a certain it factor. Obviously, there’s the Jeep Wrangler, which is descended from the World War II Jeep, and has a convertible top; there’s the Toyota Land Cruiser, which has been legendary around the world for 70 years; there’s the Bronco, which has a long-established name and a convertible top; and there’s the 4Runner, which built its reputation for reliability over the last four decades.

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The XTerra isn’t exactly as bulletproof as the Land Cruiser or 4Runner; it doesn’t have the pedigree or convertible top of the Jeep or Bronco; and its styling isn’t out of the world, so it doesn’t make up for those deficiencies. The Xterra just doesn’t have an it factor to sling it over the top and into the mainstream, even if — on paper — it seems like a wild bargain. And it really does seem like a smolderingly hot deal; here’s a look at all the Xterras on the front page of my Facebook Marketplace search:

Screen Shot 2024 06 06 At 1.08.08 Pm

Hot damn those are all cheap. And here’s the thing: Though they may not be Toyotas or Jeeps, though they may get terrible fuel economy, they may be a bit primitive as on-road drivers, and though they may require a decent amount of upkeep, they’re still absolute beasts off-road, especially with a slight lift and some 32s or 33s.

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They’re tempting. Very, very tempting. Especially with a stickshift.

[Ed note: You’d better buy an Aztek first, is all I’m saying – MH]

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Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
12 days ago

I learned to drive in an FJ Cruiser and it’s my fav off-roader ever. The XTerra is %90 as good %90 of the time for a fifth the price

Sorry Toyota! I bought the XTerra

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