2003 Nissan Xterra Overview


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Nissan Xterra Experts

#1 Travis Hoyle
Travis Hoyle
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Robert Lavallee
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Average User Score

4.45 stars

Based on 17 reviews

Amazing by themeantime
 — I bought my 2003 Xterra brand new off of the lot with only 12 factory miles. I've taken special care to get every service, including suggested (possibly unnecessary) services, and have had no issue... Read More
Love It! Nissan Knows How To Make An Awesome Suv! by moralesfamily92
 — The car is extremely reliable- starts up no problem every time. It stops on a dime, and although it takes a bit to accelerate, once it gets to the desired speed it handles fantasticly! The car is ... Read More
2003 Xterra Se 4wd by Anson
 — Excellent off-road and snow paving machine. ;) Lots of room for hualing stuff. Gas mileage is near average @ 16-18mpg mixed driving behavior. Road noise is below average. I can hear my Brigdestone... Read More

2003 Nissan Xterra Overview

Overall User Score

4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.45

Based on 17 reviews

2003 Nissan Xterra

The 2003 Nissan Xterra is no pretender.  It looks like an SUV and acts like an SUV, in an era when such vehicles are becoming increasingly emasculated and suburbanized.  The compact SUV built on a truck frame seeks lovers of an active lifestyle need something that can take the surfer across sandy beaches, the mountain biker up unpaved inclines, or the skier through a snowstorm.  For 2003, the Xterra adds more options to improve performance in such conditions, such as a new tire pressure monitor, and optional traction and stability control.  These go with the already standard ABS brakes and dual front airbags.

The 2003 Xterra comes in XE and SE trims in either rear-wheel or 4WD. The XE comes with a choice of a 143-hp 2.4-liter I4 engine (2WD only) or 3.3-liter V6 rated, getting a horsepower boost this year to 180-hp.  A supercharged version is also available, hitting 210-hp.  The SE comes standard with the naturally aspirated V6, but the supercharged engine is optional.  A 5-speed manual is standard on the XE, and a 4-speed auto tran on the SE.  Other new additions this year include 16-inch alloy wheels and step rails on the XE, previously only available as an option.  The SE also gets a limited slip differential to help with off-roading performance, which is truly possible in the Xterra due to low-range gearing in the 4WD.  New cargo nets in the headliner and 44-cubic foot cargo area add to the storage already provided by the adjustable roof rails and built-in basket.

Even though it's more rugged than the Pathfinder, you won't miss out on comforts such as power features, cruise control, a 6-CD player, leather-wrapped wheel, keyless entry, and steering wheel-mounted controls.  All of these are standard on the SE and optional for the XE.  Drivers love that they can take the 2003 Xterra off-road and that the storage (66 cubic feet with the seats down) is big enough to carry everything they need for outdoor fun.  The sporty styling is also a big draw.  Downsides are its underpowered engine choices, low fuel economy, uncomfortable seats that need more cushioning for the truck-like ride, and the plastic-looking interior materials.


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Picture of 2003 Nissan Xterra XE V6 4WD, exterior
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Nissan Xterra Questions


2003 Xterra Does Not Start Then Later Will Very Perplexing

This has happened three times. Daughter get home in her 2003 Exterra. next day it will not start, jumped it still no start. Car at for two days we then started. The next week same thing, but did not ...

124 views with 1 answer (last answer 10 months ago)

Missing Piece

Just got an 03 xterra and on the backside right above the rear window there is an empty hole. In looking at pictures online it seems like there should be a rubber stopper or antenna there. I was won...

33 views with 1 answer (last answer about a year ago)

Is A 2003 Exterra Have Many Problemz

176 views with 7 answers (last answer about a year ago)

2003 Xterra Valve Cover Bolt Installation

Hey Guys- I'm getting ready to replace the valve cover gaskets on my 2003 Xterra...the bolts (fasteners) have a rubber grommet on one side and a metal washer on the other side. Do the fasteners get in...

731 views with 4 answers (last answer about a year ago)


My car started overheating yesterday went all the way to the H. There was no steam or leaks. I followed instruction manual turning heat to max and fan to max along with idling 1500 r/min til it return...

1,776 views with 4 answers (last answer 3 years ago)