Notes: The 2003 Nissan Xterra doesn't seem to have any problem trends. The only thing prospective owners should be aware of are the less-than-perfect (but acceptable) crash test ratings.

There are a very few transmission complaints, but nothing like the huge defect that shows up starting in with the 2005 model year.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,233 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Nissan Xterra seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Nissan Xterra Owner Comments

problem #3

May 222004


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While driving 45 mph, the driver applied the brakes, the brakes failed. The driver was unable to maintain control of the vehicle and collided with a tree and rolled over three times. Both frontal air bags failed to deployed. The driver sustained major injuries and was taken to the hospital. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The cause has not been determined at this time. Please provide any additional information.

- Hardy, AR, USA

problem #2

Nov 122003

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving 45-50 mph, the driver tried to avoid a crash by hitting a wall head on. Upon impact with the wall, none of the air bags deployed.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #1

Oct 062003

Xterra 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,700 miles
Driver side airbag failure in a front end collision at speeds of 30-40 mph. Drivers airbag did not deploy while the empty passengers did. Complete brake failure resulting in a three car accident. 2003 Nissan Xterra 3,700 miles.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

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