2009 Nissan Xterra SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Nissan Xterra SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Nissan Xterra Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 261 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Nissan Xterra

  • The 2009 Nissan Xterra makes an excellent choice for the weekend off-road warrior who still needs an SUV civilized enough for the Monday-through-Friday commute.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Serious off-road prowess, powerful V6, innovative cargo features.

  • Cons

    Second-rate interior plastics, mushy brake pedal.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Nissan Xterra returns with a new face-lift for the front end, roof-mounted lights for the Off Road model, various exterior and interior trim enhancements and standard side curtain airbags.

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Can't say enough!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

After major disappointment with my previous 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, I turned to Nissan's Xterra, and will never turn back. In the 5-1/2 years that I've owned mine I've had no trouble other than a cracked in-tire air pressure sensor, but that's it. Drives great, super in snow and weather, dependable, trustworthy and comfortable. I needed something able to get through IA blizzard conditions; this baby does it! Have 113K miles on her (80% highway), and plan on keeping "Bear" for at least double that! No regrets whatsoever; I highly recommend Nissan for quality, performance, strength and durability. Leaves Jeep floundering in the dust, let me tell you that!

Off road ready, but still

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

Bought certified 2 years ago, Our Xterra has seen dirt, water, and 110 on it's speedometer. We had no problems driving it on light offroad courses, and it's big enough to seat 4 in the back (please dont do it though!) The MPG's aren't too good, but it's good enough for what it is. Surprised at it's speed, though, since it outsprints most family sedans to 60, and the 21+ gallon tank will last you 350-ish miles. Biggest problem are the rear seats. The front ones are soft, and big, but the rear bench feels just like that. a park bench. don't spend more than 4 hours in the back of it, or your back will hurt.

Great suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

I got my Xterra S used and love it. The V6 engine is powerful and the ride is smooth and quite. The exterior styling is really nice looking. The interior is pleasant looking and roomy, but very minimal. There are lots of plastic panels and very few bells and whistles you would expect. It would be nice to have more features. The biggest disappointment was the terrible factory sound system. One of the first things I did was replace the radio and speakers with an aftermarket system. The rear cargo is very nicely thought out with adjustable tie downs on the floor and roof, storage under the floor, and rear seats that fold down flush making lots of room for dogs or hauling. Cleans up nice.

2 yrs and still running

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

Fun SUV to drive... hugs the road like a champ with smooth acceleration and strong brakes. Mine is a 4x4... haven't taken it off road yet but looking forward to it. Got mine a yr old at a steal and even if I didn't, it's still worth the money. It's expensive to maintain though...tires cost 200+ a piece and maintenance at the Nissan dealership which I recommend, is still expensive. But all in all, haven't had mechanical issues yet @ 66000 miles. This is my second Nissan after my 2004 Maxima SL and Nissan hasn't failed me yet.

Pretty nice truck

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

Ive been a maxima owner for the last 10 yrs and this is quite a switch. im starting a biz this spring and need the towing. i hope it is up to the task. the car rides nice for a truck but is uncomfortable for long drives which i do every day. the armrest makes me twist my body to use it. the seats are ok. the roof rattles over bumps. the stereo is not even close to the BOSE in a maxima. adjusting to much less creature comforts has taken some time, but i do like the truck. snow is no match for it. i pulled my 20ft boat with it this summer and hardly noticed i was towing anything. i hope its half as good as my maxima.

Safest small suv money can

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Nissan Xterra

I bought my two teenagers each a new Xterra. Each now has lived through a horrific accident. One side impact the other head on. Both vehicles totaled. Both cases i am absolutely amazed at the sturdy frame construction and impact resistance the Xterra has. I was told by all professionals involved that both survivals were miracles. That may be but Nissan makes one heck of an SUV. That from a grateful Dad.


Full 2009 Nissan Xterra Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Nissan Xterra returns with a new face-lift for the front end, roof-mounted lights for the Off Road model, various exterior and interior trim enhancements and standard side curtain airbags.


When the Nissan Xterra debuted nearly a decade ago, this SUV -- named after an off-road triathlon series -- immediately became popular with outdoor-loving Gen Xers. Extreme sports enthusiasts found the Xterra to be the perfect vehicle for snow, surf and all points between. Today, the 2009 Nissan Xterra proudly upholds the reputation built by its predecessor.

Although car-based crossovers have become increasingly popular for tackling highways and boulevards, most have no business going off the beaten path. The truck-based Xterra, on the other hand, thrives under tough conditions with its high ground clearance, lack of protruding underbody parts and off-road machinery and assists. The Xterra's ride might not be as refined as a crossover's, but the Nissan is by no means a bull in a china shop, either. A long commute or road trip keeps occupants comfortable, while precise steering and an abundance of V6 power make for a satisfying driving experience.

Admittedly, few SUV owners take their vehicles off-road, so if you fall into this category, quality on-roaders like the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 would be better choices. Other options include the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited for its superior trail-blazing prowess or the Toyota FJ Cruiser for its eye-catching style. All said, though, if you need an affordable SUV that is as at home in the wilderness as it is in the city, the 2009 Nissan Xterra is a solid choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Nissan Xterra is a midsize SUV that seats five passengers. It is offered in four trim levels: X, S, Off Road and SE. These models are offered in either two- or four-wheel drive, except for the Off Road, which is only offered in 4WD.

Standard equipment for the Xterra X includes 16-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player. The S trim level adds alloy wheels, step rails, an eight-way adjustable driver seat, a cargo channel system and a rubberized, easy-to-clean surface on the floor of the cargo area.

The Xterra SE steps up to17-inch alloy wheels and adds even more standard features, including leather seats and trim and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Many of these items can be tacked onto the Off Road version as part of a technology package. The Off Road model includes 17-inch alloy wheels with rugged trail tires, Bilstein off-road shock absorbers, skid plates, an electronically locking rear differential, cloth seats specific to this trim level and a fold-down passenger seat.

Like most of Nissan's lineup, options are offered in large packages and not la carte. The optional eight-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system includes a six-CD/MP3 changer, an auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth and satellite radio. For added off-road functionality, the X Gear package is offered and includes roof rack crossbars, foglights, a first aid kit, a cargo net and a gear basket. Nissan also offers a dockable rear entertainment system and a portable Garmin navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

All 2009 Nissan Xterras are powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional five speed automatic (except in the SE, which comes standard with the automatic). We managed to accelerate a 4WD Xterra to 60 mph in a respectable 7.6 seconds.

Four-wheel-drive models offer plenty of traction in varying conditions, thanks to a multimode transfer case with low-range gearing. A 2009 Nissan Xterra 2WD with the manual transmission turns in an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Mileage for 4WD and automatic transmissions varies only slightly.


The 2009 Nissan Xterra is equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Xterra Off Road models also come with hill descent control and hill start assist.

In crash testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Xterra earned four out of five stars for frontal impact protection and a perfect five out of five stars for side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Xterra its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal and side impact protection. Rollover ratings are mediocre, however; the 2009 Nissan Xterra gets a three-star rollover rating from the NHTSA and falls just to the low side of the middle when compared to all SUVs combined.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2009 Nissan Xterra's interior is well designed, with excellent ergonomics. However, the overall impression is marred by the use of subpar hard plastics. The cargo area offers 35 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and 66 cubes with the seats folded. All Xterras (except for the base X model) feature cargo areas that have an easy-to-clean floor, as well as sturdy utility hooks mounted to the sides of the floor and ceiling. An innovative, adjustable channel system for securing bike racks and gear is also built into the floor. There are also built-in spaces for an optional first aid kit and a 1-gallon water jug.

Driving Impressions

Thanks to the 2009 Nissan Xterra's powerful V6, performance is sure to satisfy. On the road, the Xterra maneuvers confidently with precise steering, while also keeping body roll in check. With its truck-derived underpinnings, the Xterra offers impressive off-road performance due to its long suspension travel and high ground clearance. The engine further enhances off-road prowess with its prodigious low-end power. The compromises of handling and ride quality in the city are minor, considering the Xterra's versatility.


Talk About The 2009 Xterra

2009 Nissan Xterra Discussions See all Started By

1. Notice of proposed settlement -Lawsuits were filed regarding the 2005-2010 model year Nissan Pathfinder, Nissan Xterra, and Nissan Frontier vehicles... lawsuits alleged that these vehicles contain ...

Thank you for your responses ! I live near Nissan Peacock and those two 2009 xterras they have are 2008 models actually ! Not sure about other dealerships (will call them), but Robbins Nissan, another...

Hi Zach. If you are set on leasing your next vehicle, then the Xterra is definitely not for you. Nissan is not currently providing any lease support on the 2009 Xterra. As a result, if you were to ...

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