Should You Take the 2010 Nissan Xterra Off Road?

The 2010 Nissan Xterra is a good choice for off-roading, provided you’re able to find a vehicle that’s in good condition.
Written by Liz Jenson
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Nov 21, 2022
With a truck frame and an off-road trim option, the 2010
Nissan Xterra
can definitely hold its own as an off-roading vehicle.
Off-roading has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason: it’s really fun! Still, before you hit the trail, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is well-equipped for driving off the pavement.
, the
super app
car insurance
savings, is here to break down some of the features that make the 2010 Nissan Xterra a great off-roading option. We’ll discuss things like ground clearance, tires, and the vehicle’s overall rating, as well as providing some other vehicle options that you might want to consider.

Can the 2010 Nissan Xterra go off road?

The short answer? Yes—the 2010 Nissan Xterra is a good choice for people looking for an off-road adventure without breaking the bank.
The 2010 Xterra had a starting price of $22,750 when it was new, but since you’ll almost certainly be buying used, you can probably find one for a much lower price. The Kelley Blue Book, for example, estimates the price of a used 2010 Xterra as $8,280. This makes the 2010 Xterra extremely affordable as far as off-road vehicles go.
There are other things that make the Xterra a good vehicle for off-roading too, though! Some of the specs to consider include:
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever

Ground Clearance

Ground clearance is extremely important for off-roading since you’ll need to be able to drive over obstacles and uneven ground. The 2010 Xterra has a ground clearance of 9.5 inches, which is considered ideal for off-road driving.
Typically, it’s recommended that your off-road vehicle has a ground clearance of 8.8 inches to 10.8 inches, so the Xterra definitely falls into that range. Remember, the higher your ground clearance, the better your car will be for off-road driving since you’ll be able to clear larger objects in your path.


is also an important factor in your car’s off-road ability. It’s best to opt for vehicles with low-end torque, meaning cars that have high torque at low RPMs. This gives you more control when turning, which is really important off of the pavement when you have little traction.
The 2010 Xterra gets a maximum torque of 281 at 4000 RPM, making it a good vehicle for off-road driving. This torque will give you good traction and control when turning, even on surfaces without much grip.


Speaking of grip, it’s time to think about tires. Having good tires is essential to safe off-road driving—the righttires can be the difference between traction and sliding. While the 2010 Xterra doesn’t automatically come with all-terrain tires, you can purchase all-terrain tires for your Nissan to make it more off-road friendly.
While your Nissan’s standard tires aren’t necessarily terrible for off-road driving, all-terrain tires are really what you want when you’re driving on uneven ground. They offer more grip so you’ll have more control over your vehicle.


Unfortunately, this is an area for improvement with the Nissan Xterra. The 2010 Xterra is equipped with rear-wheel drive (RWD), meaning that the engine drives the rear wheels while the front wheels roll along.
While this is definitely a better option than front-wheel drive, you really want a four-wheel drive (4WD) or an all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicle for off-roading. 4WD and AWD both give you a lot more control than RWD, which is what you want when driving off of the pavement.


Angles are very important in off-road driving. There are two angles you need to worry about:
  • The approach angle: the maximum angle at which your car can continue to climb up an incline
  • The departure angle: the maximum angle at which your car can continue to move down a decline
The 2010 Nissan Xterra has an approach and departure angle of 33.2º and 29.4º, respectively. These angles wouldn’t be bad for an AWD vehicle, but they’re not ideal for a RWD car. This is one of those categories where the Xterra achieves mediocre results for off-road driving.

Off-road rating: Rough and ready

We’ve rated the 2010 Nissan Xterra using
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
The 2010 Xterra receives an R rating for off-road adventure. While the Xterra has some great qualities that make it a good off-road car, you really want a vehicle with AWD for your off-road experience. Additionally, you’ll likely want to purchase new tires to make your car compatible with the off-road terrain, making the vehicle more expensive.

The best off-road alternatives to the 2010 Nissan Xterra

Curious about your other options? We’ve compiled a list of some comparable vehicles along with their strengths and weaknesses.
Best truck alternative
2010 Honda Ridgeline
The Ridgeline is technically a truck, but it still has decent off-road abilities along with additional storage in the bed.
Best drivetrain alternative
2011 Subaru Tribeca
While it doesn't have great ground clearance for off-roading, the 2011 Tribeca is equipped with 4WD, meaning you’’ll have a lot more control over your car.
Best off-road alternative
2009 Jeep Liberty
The 2009 Liberty can come with RWD or 4WD, it has good torque, and is generally regarded as a great off-road option.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare and find out in 45 seconds.
Find Savings!
No long forms. No spam calls. Free Quotes.
4.7/5 App Store Rating, 8,100+ Reviews
Trusted by 1.5+ Million Customers.
rating primary

Finding the right insurance for off-road vehicles

Unfortunately, there is another hurdle to consider when choosing the perfect off-road vehicle: your
car insurance
. Insuring an off-road vehicle can be expensive due to the increased risk to your car and your own safety.
Fortunately, the
app can help you find the lowest rates in a matter of minutes. Simply download the app and take a 45-second survey to tell us a little about what you want from your insurer, and Jerry will produce a customized list of policy options that fit your needs.
The best part? The average user saves over $800 per year.
“I would 11/10 recommend
. I was originally quoted $700+ for insurance for my new car, but by using Jerry I got my payments down to $320 a month. They also have a great support team ready to answer any questions!” —Tobias F.
Thousands of customers saved on average $887/year on their car insurance with Jerry
This app is great, but the customer service is even better! Not to mention convenient! My husband and I got the lowest rate (much lower than the rates I was finding online through my own searches), quickly, and pretty much all through text message! Thank you so much for a hassle free experience👍
Gabriella R.
Find insurance savings (100% Free)
rating primary
4.7/5 Rating on App Store
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free