2009 Nissan Xterra – First Impressions

Expert Reviews Nissan

2009 Nissan Xterra
By Mary-Ellen


  • Perfect for weekend warriors – snow, trail, and anything in between.
  • Massive and rugged cargo space
  • High vantage point while driving
  • No awkward blind-spots
  • Respectable 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway
  • Sturdy utility hooks on seats and ceiling


  • Rigid and rough on road driving – drives like a truck
  • Sluggish handling

The Nissan Xterra is one of the best choices in its price range for weekend warriors – perfect for play in snow or turf and all things in between.  Although crossover vehicles have become increasingly popular over the past 10 years, most have no business going off the pavement. The truck-based Xterra is not like the other car-based crossovers found driving on the avenue.  It thrives in rough conditions, dues to its fully boxed, all-steel ladder frame and a rugged suspension featuring a steel double-wishbone front suspension and solid axle leaf spring rear suspension, with stabilizer bars front and rear.  This four-wheel-drive model offers plenty of traction which is perfect for snowy or muddy conditions.  With that said, the on-pavement performance is harsher than other SUVs.  But the Xterra is reliable and solidly built which means more confidence when cruising around the urban jungle.

2009 Nissan Xterra - 261 hp 4.0L V6 engine

The 2009 Nissan Xterra SE-V6 4WD has an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway. During the on-road testing the acceleration went from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 7.9 seconds with an okay MPG of 15.7 while in the city.  It’s powered by a 4.0-liter 261-horsepower V6 engine with a five-speed automatic is adequate.   The well designed ergonomics are refreshing and esthetically pleasing making long commute or road trips enjoyable.

2009 Nissan Xterra - 17 inch aluminum alloy wheels2009 Nissan Xterra - Tubular roof rack and gear box2009 Nissan Xterra - 60/40-split fold-flat rear seats

Standard equipment for the Xterra SE includes plenty of premium touches which enhances the overall experience such as: 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, air-conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, step rails, fog lights, roof rack rails and crossbars, a cargo channel system and a rubberized, easy-to-clean surface on the floor of the cargo area with 60-40 fold-down passenger seating for additional space.  The model we tested also had additional options such as an auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system with XM radio and a six-CD/MP3 changer which can be had for additional fees.

2009 Nissan Xterra - Utili-track Cargo Channel System2009 Nissan Xterra - Leather wrapped steering wheel2009 Nissan Xterra - Rockford Fosgate-powered audio system

The rugged exterior is not just a façade as the Xterra does have excellent car safety being equipped with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.  It earned its 4-star Government Safety Rating for frontal crashes and 3-Stars for roll-overs meaning it is a safe and versatile vehicle.  The Nissan Xterra, unlike many of its competitors, definitely exudes civilized toughness.

Nissan Xterra Photo Gallery

Nissan Xterra Specs

Nissan Xterra Specs

NissanThe official site for Nissan cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers and hybrids – www.nissanusa.com

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