Safety » 7
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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
'Good,' frontal impact; 'good,' side impact; 'marginal,' rear impact; 'acceptable,' roof strength
Not yet tested
You might think the tough-looking, tough-performing 2013 Nissan Xterra would be especially protective; but body-on-frame trucks like the Xterra don't always deliver on that expectation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't recently tested the Xterra, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives it a mix of ratings. The Xterra earns a top 'good' in frontal and side impact tests, but calls it only 'acceptable' for roof strength and 'marginal' for rear-impact safety. And that roof-strength rating is a bit worrisome considering the Xterra's tall center of mass and its ability to perform on precarious terrain.
Otherwise, the Xterra is well-represented in terms of safety. Front active head restraints, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability control, and side-curtain airbags are all standard, and Xterras with automatic transmission get Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist--two electronic aids that may enhance stability.
For 2013, PRO-4X models get a new rearview camera system, although other modern safety conveniences like parking sensors are still unavailable.
Despite its tough outward appearance, the Xterra is no standout for safety.