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2009 Nissan Xterra

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2009 Nissan Xterra Review

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Many SUVs have grown into giant luxury barges incapable of tackling little more than snow-covered pavement, which is why off-road devotees and weekend warriors love the 2009 Nissan Xterra. Nissan's most affordable SUV is renowned for its rugged body-on-frame construction, powerful standard V6 engine and insatiable appetite for all things dirty and boulder-strewn. Although it faces tough competition from Jeep's Wrangler four-door, the Xterra remains an attractive prospect. Innovative features, such as a built-in first aid kit, adjustable cargo-hold track system and a roof-mounted drying rack, are geared toward those with active lifestyles, while the Xterra's civilized interior and comfortable ride make it perfectly suitable as a daily driver.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2009 Nissan Xterra is ideally suited for the active adventurer highlighted in so many Xterra commercials. An affordable price tag allows just about anyone to own this tough Nissan SUV, and a civilized ride makes it easy to live with in day-to-day driving.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for economy over power, the Xterra's new V6 won't impress you. The Xterra's ride, though not rough, is a far cry from the car-like comfort provided by the Honda CR-V and Toyota Highlander.

What's New for 2009

Nissan updates the Xterra for 2009 with a freshened front end, new roof-mounted off-road lights (Off-Road trim only), new wheel designs, seat materials and colors. Roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags with roll-over sensors are made standard, while the Xterra's option packages have been simplified to just two choices: Technology and X Gear.

Driving the Xterra
Driving Impressions

Around town and on the highway, the 2009 Nissan Xterra rides and handles impressively; it tracks straight, rides smooth and handles even higher-speed sweeping turns as calmly and confidently as...

... a solid sedan. Its impressive V6 powerplant, a modified version of the engines found in the company's 350Z and G35, quietly delivers power whenever you need it. The Xterra performed admirably in our off-road tests, negotiating soggy access roads and fording streams deep enough to think twice about crossing. And judging from our off-road experience in another Xterra sibling, the Nissan Frontier pickup, the Xterra would likely traverse large boulders just as well.

Versatile Cargo Area
In addition to no-carpet and Easy Clean surfaces, the Xterra's cargo area features a total of 10 cargo hooks in the sides, ceiling and in the adjustable Utili-track Cargo Channel System in the floor.

Side Steps
Integrated into the body of the vehicle, the Xterra's side steps make it easy to access and secure cargo at the rear of the roof.

2009 Nissan Xterra Details
2009 Nissan Xterra photo Interior

The Xterra's long wheelbase and tall height create ample headroom and legroom for every passenger, front and back. Rear 60/40-split seats combine with a fold-flat front passenger seat to create enough room for lengthy outdoor gear (or tall floor lamps). A clean and purposeful interior features dual stacked glove compartments, multiple 12-volt outlets and a versatile cargo area.

Exterior

With a tubular roof rack, stepped roof and bump on its back, the Xterra looks as if it were born to be a long way from pavement. The 2009 Nissan Xterra appears to sit on the road with a comforting sense of security, thanks in large part to its long wheelbase and short overhangs, as well as its wide, pronounced fender flares. Its "angled strut grille" serves as the new face for many of Nissan's trucks and SUVs. The bin at the front of the roof rack features a latchable cover, and the rear bumper includes integrated side steps for easier access to the roof.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Features on the base Xterra include a 4.0-liter V6, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution, stability control, single CD sound system, power door locks/windows/mirrors, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control and an Easy Clean cargo area surface with multiple heavy-duty hooks and Utili-track Cargo Channel System. Standard safety equipment includes front seat side-impact airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, front-seat active head restraints and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Optional Equipment

For 2009, Nissan bundles the Xterra's options into two packages. The Technology Package (S, Off-Road and SE only) adds a Rockford-Fosgate stereo with six-disc CD changer, eight speakers and subwoofer, steering wheel audio controls, XM Satellite Radio (automatic transmission only), Bluetooth and an auxiliary audio input jack. The X Gear Package (S and SE only) adds roof rack crossbars, first aid kit, gear basket and fog lights.

Under the Hood

The Xterra's V6 pulls as strongly on the highway as it does climbing rocks and dirt mounds. Ample torque translates into ample towing ability, but all that power comes at a price, and you'll pay it at the pump.

4.0-liter V6
261 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
281 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 (2WD, manual), 15/21 (2WD, automatic), 16/20 (4WD, manual), 15/20 (4WD, automatic)

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2009 Nissan Xterra Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 476 Ratings for the 2005 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

2013 Model S - 14,000 miles A/T

By on Friday, July 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Excellent V6 -transmission combo. Quiet interior."

Cons: "Sound system, brake feel, handling curves."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I mostly use this vehicle for weekend and vacation travel, hence the low mileage. Really nice V6, smooth and powerful and works well with the 5 speed trans. Easily towed a 9ft loaded utility trailer. I get 17-18 mpg overall which meets the EPA sticker mileage. Good suspension on rough road. Surprisingly quiet interior for a truck. Only 1 minor non-service dealer visit."

Happy but wouldn't buy again

By on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Space, power, 4x4, pulling capacity"

Cons: "GAS!!, comfort, cheap plastic, not good off roads"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Although I like the Xterra and it serves it's purpose I wouldn't buy it again. -Pro's Space Power 4x4 Pulling capacity -Con's GAS!!! Comfort Cheap plastic interior & exterior Not very good as an actual Sports Utility Vehicle Like I said, I'll probably have my Xterra for 10 years because I've gotta get my money's worth out of it, but I wouldn't buy it again. There are many other options for this type of car that would be a better choice. I didn't think I would notice the 18mpg but I do. Bought the car for adventure. Can't afford gas for said adventure."

17 people out of 28 found this review helpful

The Unapologetically Utilitarian SUV

By on Thursday, January 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "ENGINE (power), rugged, simple, reliable, utility"

Cons: "ENGINE (economy), int. plastic scratches easily"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

2015 Pro-4X with 6-spd manual. One of my all-time favorite vehicles owned.

"No, it isn't a Chrysler Wrangler; trust me, that's a good thing. No, it isn't a Rogue, either. Or an Outlander. Or anything else that uses electronic proxies to replicate actual 4WD capabilities so soccer moms can gum up the left lane when it snows. Look, it's hard (tough), angular (distinct), unyielding (solid), and even dated (proven). The engine sucks down fuel like a riding lawn mower, but it also shoves all 4,300 lbs down the pavement faster than some "sporty" cars manage (to 60 in 7 seconds), hauls 5,000 lbs, and sounds pretty sweet under acceleration. And it's available (like mine) in a 6-spd manual. Did you hear that? AN SUV WITH A MANUAL TRANSMISSION. Gotta love that. We've taken it on vacation with lots of highway miles, and while comfortable enough, it never lets you forget it's a body-on-frame SUV. I have the 2015 Pro-4X so it has JUST enough creature comforts to keep me happy, but it's honestly what I call "my analog SUV in a digital world." And that's why I like it so much. Instead of trying to please the lowest common denominator of focus groups, the Xterra is meant for a narrow audience that DOES things, GOES places, and NEEDS a more rugged vehicle than most. My dog vomited in the back of mine Week 1, and I drug a hose into the back seat and sprayed out the cargo area. Done and done. I like the Ford Explorer just fine, but I'd have been looking at a $75 detailing to clean that same mess up. So if you want a REAL SUV--and all that means--definitely look at the Xterra. If you want a road-focused crossover with a traction-control dial, this ain't it."

34 people out of 42 found this review helpful

2015 Pro-4X with 6-spd manual. One of my all-time favorite vehicles owned.

Poor quality engine/transmission

By on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cheap vehicle body has held up well."

Cons: "Cheap vehicle - drive train parts don't last."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"The vehicle is a decent value except for the engine ( I had to replace the timing chain and tensioners and lower pulley at 88,000 miles. The transmission needed replacing at 134,000 miles). This was despite good maintenance history and mostly highway and in-town miles."

21 people out of 35 found this review helpful

Driving for 50+ years ....the best I've owned

By on Sunday, December 6, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "I hunt 50 days/yr. It goes anywhere."

Cons: "Dome light over back seat. Why?"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Six yrs old...114K miles on my 2010 Xterra. I have a 6 speed tranny (manual) and am totally satisfied. I wait for no one....it's fast. Mileage normally is 18 city - 22 Hwy. I have 2 (of 8) of my kids wanting this vehicle when I get a new one. Only drawback is that the dome light is over the back seat. It should be AT LEAST over the back of the front seat. Zoom-Zoom."

12 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Great overall vehicle. Off road machine.

By on Friday, December 4, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun and capable suv that inspires excitement."

Cons: "2015 was the last year of this suv."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Too bad Nissan is dropping the X. I bought one of the very last production number 4x4 Xterras. It was the only one for sale within 400 miles of my home. It has been a very good choice. It has excellent off road manners. Will climb and go over obstacles with factory tires in 2wd that other vehicles in 4wd with mud tires will not. Suspension articulates well and 4wd system is impeccable. Street handling feels safe and confident as well. Corners well for a 4x4. Fuel mileage is ok. I avg 20mpg with mixed driving on 87 octane. I can run 93 octane and have gotten 23.5mpg with mixed driving. It has lots of power, enough that a spirited takeoff on pavement will trip the traction control. Interior is slightly utilitarian, but that's how I like it. Braking is superb for a moderately heavy SUV. Interior is quiet at all speeds, wind noise is only really noticeable above 60mph. Factory stereo is ok. Automatic shifts smoothly under normal load and driving, shifts firm up under hard acceleration just as it is supposed to. Seating is very comfortable for 4 adults. 5 is too tight. Legroom in rear seats is adequate. Drivers seating is a could be considered a little tight if your height is over 6'. Overall an excellent suv. I love my Xterra!"

11 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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