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2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

4WD 4dr Man S

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 20 MPG Highway

2009 Nissan Xterra for Sale

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  • Average Retail is not available
  • $26,060 original MSRP
Printable Version

2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

Benefits of Driving a 2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

The 2009 Nissan Xterra is a basic, value-priced sport-utility vehicle that offers serious truck durability and off-road ability. With convenient tie-down points and storage spaces, it's a good choice for young, active people who need to go off-road with a bike, kayak or other equipment. Yet with the back seat up and in place, there's enough space for four adults.

What's new for 2009?

The Xterra gets updated front end features for 2009, and roof-mounted lights are now standard with the Off-Road package. Several minor changes have also been made to exterior and interior trim options. The previously optional Rockford Fosgate sound system is now standard on S, SE and Off-Road models, and includes Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, XM radio, and an iPod jack. The SE package now includes leather seating, and side curtain air bags are now standard across the line.

Model Strengths

  • Off-road ability
  • durability
  • towing and hauling prowess.

Model Review

The 2009 Nissan Xterra is powered by a 261-horsepower, 4.0L V6 engine and either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Each model (except for the Off-Road model) is offered in a choice of rear-wheel drive or a 4-wheel drive system that has an electronically controlled part-time transfer case with low-range mode.

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility


2009 Nissan Xterra

Source: New Car Test Drive


The Nissan Xterra, a successful and original formula for some time, undergoes modest changes for 2009. The grille and front fascia is changed a bit, along with the center console panel, to go along with the rugged and attractive standard fabric upholstery. Standard equipment now includes side-impact airbags in front and full-length airbag curtains. It achieves four of five stars in NHTSA crash tests for frontal impact, and three stars for rollover.

The Xterra is a truck SUV, not a crossover SUV, meaning its body is attached to a boxed-in steel ladder frame and uses a rugged suspension, double-wishbone front and solid axle with leaf springs in rear. It's the same chassis as the Nissan Frontier pickup.

All Xterras use a 4.0-liter V6 that is powerful and well proven. In 4WD with the optional smooth five-speed automatic transmission it achieves 15 city and 20 highway miles per gallon, a bit more with 2WD or the standard six-speed manual transmission.

An Off-Road model is available that will go pretty much anywhere. It comes with Hill Descent Control, heavy duty trail tires, and skid plates. The electronic 4WD system is part time, with three functions available: 2WD, 4WD High and 4WD Low.

The 2009 Nissan Xterra comes in four models, all using Nissan's award-winning aluminum V6, stroked to 4.0 liters from its 3.5 liters as used in other Nissans; it makes 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. Most models offer a choice of rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.

Model Lineup

The Xterra X ($22,310) comes with cloth upholstery, manual air conditioning, remote keyless entry, cruise control, six-speaker sound system with single CD, 12-volt DC outlets, driver seat lumbar support, power windows and doors, 60/40 rear seat, 16-inch steel wheels, aluminum step rails, and easy-to-clean cargo floor with a C-channel and four moveable hooks to strap down mountain bikes and things. The Xterra X 4WD ($24,360) model features a 4WD electronically controlled transfer case with three functions available: 2WD, 4WD High and 4WD Low. The Xterra X comes with steel wheels.

The Xterra S ($23,810) and 4WD ($26,060) upgrades to alloy wheels and BFG Long Trail tires. The S comes with the manual transmission or the automatic ($24,860).

The Xterra SE ($27,340) comes with leather upholstery, automatic transmission and 17-inch alloy wheels with BFG Long Trail tires. The exterior trim has body-colored side moldings and Satin Chrome trim, as opposed to mere Sandblast Aluminum on the X and S models.

The Xterra Off-Road 4WD ($28,340) has roof-mounted lights, black molding, rugged fabric upholstery, a front passenger seat that folds flat, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. It features Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein gas shocks, and skid plates for the oil pan, fuel tank and transfer case. It rides on BFG Rugged Trail T/A tires mounted to 6-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels.

Safety equipment on all 2009 Xterra models includes dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags in front and roof-mounted airbag curtains, and the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren). Vehicle Dynamic Control and vented disc brakes with ABS and EBD come standard, along with the government-mandated tire pressure monitor.

Two option packages are available: the Technology Package with a premium eight-speaker 6CD system, XM radio, and Bluetooth; and the Gear Package, with roof rack crossbars, fog lights, first aid kit, cargo net and gear basket.


One of the two new '09 Xterra colors is called Red Brick, a fitting name because if there's any SUV on the market that looks like a brick, it's the Xterra. But that's part of its popularity, if not charm.

For 2009, there's a restyled front fascia and grille, as well as the roof-mounted 50,000 candlepower lights on the Off-Road model. The grille of the Off-Road, our test model, is sort of a black egg crate hole with a floating chrome planet Nissan logo in the center, surrounded by an inverted isosceles trapezoid with wings that look like handles on a loving cup trophy made of thick Sandblast Aluminum that might also be called flat silver plastic.

The front end is all very symmetrical and beefy, with more Sandblast Aluminum in the skid plate wrapping up like a bib. Tidy, no-nonsense headlamps. The lower corners of the front fascia are rugged and massive, although not conspicuously so because they're flat black, along with the molding on the doors, which is kind of ugly especially since there are exposed bolts underneath, apparently where optional running boards attach.

Boxy fender flares hang over new wheels, the design of the standard 16s being decidedly common. Maybe it's just as well, because snazzy wheels might not go with the mud flaps. The Xterra's distinction comes as much from its roof rack as any vehicle on the road, and it's been tweaked for '09, although how much tweaking can you do to a roof rack? They call it an airdam, the compartment in front that's meant to hold wetsuits and ski boots and muddy mountain-biking clothes; it's covered by a lid held down with a sloppy plastic latch.

The back half of the Xterra is the part that people mostly notice. The brick has big windows. What's that lump on the tailgate? They might ask. That's where the First Aid kit goes. That kind of thing is what the Xterra has been all about, successfully, ever since it was introduced. And other things, such as the side steps that make it easy to climb up on the bumper and reach the roof rack.

Interior Features

2009 brings some small changes to the interior of the Xterra. There's a new center instrument panel cluster with new HVAC switches, new fabric upholstery for the X and S models, and unique rugged fabric with red stitching for the Off-Road.

The driver and front passenger seat recline way back, although when we tried to take a nap at a rest stop we couldn't line up our butt, the gap between the seat and seatback, the small of our back, the back of our head, and the headrest. The reclined seats might better fit six-footers.

The center console is deep, with coin holders and two cupholders and the emergency brake handle. Nice tray forward of the shift lever, glovebox of decent size, steering-wheel controls on most models. Good visibility out the rear liftgate window and big side rear windows.

The rear seat, split 60/40, folds flat with a few steps. Some SUV seats fold easier, some with more difficulty. Good grab handles over the rear doors, one map pocket on the driver's seatback, two 20-ounce bottle holders. Legroom in the rear seat is a bit lacking, at a mere 34.4 inches, although a person can fit their knees in there, even behind the driver with his or her seat slid back.

The cargo area is where the Xterra comes into its own. It's got an Easy Clean surface, like hard vinyl, making your wet dog no problem. There's a nice deep hidden compartment under the floor, and no less than 10 utility hooks on the floor, sides and ceiling. Space and nets to carry jugs. We were intrigued by the adjustable track system in the cargo floor, similar in design to the Utili-track system offered on the Nissan Titan and Frontier pickups; it's optional.

Driving Impressions

The Nissan Xterra is built on a truck chassis. Its body is attached to a boxed-in steel ladder frame and uses a rugged suspension, double-wishbone front and solid axle with leaf springs in rear. It's the same chassis as the Nissan Frontier pickup truck, although the Xterra has a higher center of gravity that you can feel in the ride, which is reasonably comfortable thanks to a longish wheelbase.

During our week in the Xterra, including 40 miles on gravel and dirt roads, we didn't encounter any harsh spots in the ride, which is saying a lot, although the side-to-side motion is a bit more pronounced than with crossovers.

We took a few runs on a rough off-road course, and the Xterra met every traction and crevice challenge it faced, using 4WD HI and 4WD LO, easily switchable with one knob on the dash. Also, with short overhangs front and rear, things don't easily drag in the gulleys. You can take it hunting or dirt biking to the top of rugged mountains with no worries.

We tested Hill Descent Control on the off-road course as well. HDC only comes on the Off-Road model with automatic transmission. Hill Descent Control allows you to travel down a steep hill and rely on electronics (raising both feet off the pedals) to keep the Xterra safe and steady at 5 mph, with throttle control and ABS applied by the truck's tiny brain and feet, better in this circumstance than your own big ones. If you live in a place that has snowy and icy hills in winter, HDC, available on some other SUVs (that don't have to be off-road equipped), could save your life or the life of another, for example a passenger on the sidewalk. It helps the driver keep the rear from sliding out on a steep, muddy descent, so you don't slowly slide off the trail and into a tree.

Hill Start Assist comes on the Xterra Off-Road with automatic transmission, though that seems strangely misplaced. Hill Start Assist allows you to start moving forward on a steep uphill, without drifting back, useful off road and in San Francisco. But with an automatic transmission, that's not a problem, because you have two feet and there are only two pedals. It's needed with the manual transmission Xterra, if anything, but Nissan didn't design HSA to work on that one.

The 4.0-liter V6 that's used in the Xterra is a great engine, a stroked version of the award-winning 3.5-liter that's used in the 350Z sports car and other Nissans. It has all the right stuff: aluminum block and heads, Teflon-coated pistons, Continuous Valve Timing Control (CVTCS), Nissan variable Induction Control System (NICS), silent timing chain and microfinished camshaft and crankshaft surfaces, digital knock control system, and 105,000-mile spark plugs.

Fuel economy for the Xterra is an EPA-estimated 15 city and 20 highway miles per gallon with 4WD, a bit more with 2WD. It would get more, if the body wasn't such a brick.

The engine certainly has plenty of horsepower and torque, 261 hp and 281 pound-feet, but its torque curve, peaking at a high 4000 rpm, is more suited to a sports car than a truck. As a result, the automatic transmission kicks down a lot at casual speeds, even 35 mph, from fifth gear to fourth; but because it's so smooth, you hardly notice it. However you do notice that the Xterra doesn't feel terribly powerful. Until you boot it, and then it blows you away. When you let it run, you find yourself driving a truck SUV that wants to be a Nissan 350Z. There will be no problem passing on two-lanes, or running with the hot sedans up long freeway slopes.


The Nissan Xterra maintains its steady course on the road and off, as a popular SUV that can do it all and then some, with a fold-flat cargo area that's rugged and easy to clean, and built-in channels on the floor with 10 hooks or eyelets to tie things down. For 2009, there are styling revisions and a new center console panel. The fabric upholstery is attractive and rugged, and there are plenty of cubbies. Side-impact airbags in front and full length airbag curtains have been added as standard equipment. The Xterra is user friendly, has a comfortable ride for a truck, and wears well. In 4WD it achieves 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway, using an exceptional 4.0-liter V6 engine and smooth five-speed automatic transmission.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
Model lineup:
Nissan Xterra 2WD X ($22,310); 4WD X ($24,360); 2WD S ($24,060); 4WD S ($26,060); Off-Road ($28,340); 2WD SE ($27,340); 4WD SE ($29,340)
4.0-liter V6
6-speed manual; 5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
dual-stage frontal airbags, side-impact airbags in front, airbag curtains, tire pressure monitor, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control
Safety equipment (Optional):
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Nissan Xterra Off-Road ($28,340)
Standard equipment:
Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist, 16-inch alloy off-road wheels with trail tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, skid plates, rear side bumper steps, front tow hook, roof-mounted off-road lights, gear basket on roofrack, foglights, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, 6-speaker audio system with single CD, overhead console, 12-volt CD outlets, air conditioning, rear wipers, power doors and windows, remote keyless entry, rear cargo channel system with utility hooks, First Aid kit, cargo net
Options as tested:
Floor mats $115
Destination charge:
Gas Guzzler Tax:
Price as tested (MSRP)
four-wheel drive
4.0-liter 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
261 @ 5600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
281 @ 4000
5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
15/20 mpg.
106.3 in.
178.7/72.8/74.9 in.
Track, f/r:
61.8/61.8 in.
Turning circle:
37.3 ft.
Seating capacity:
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.9/55.9/42.4 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
Head/hip/leg room, r:
39.3/46.1/34.4 in.
Cargo volume:
65.7 cu. ft.
Towing capacity:
5000 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, double wishbone
Suspension R:
solid axle, multi-leaf
Ground clearance:
9.5 in.
Curb weight:
4402 lbs.
Brakes, f/r:
vented disc/vented disc in.
Fuel capacity:
21.1 gal.

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade

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Passenger Crash Grade

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Rollover Resistance

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Side Impact Crash Test - Front

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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear

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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
4-Wheel Disc Brakes Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Handsfree Wireless Opt


Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Drivetrain 5 Years/60,000 Miles
Corrosion 5 Years/Unlimited Miles

Nissan Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-year/100,000 mile limited warranty. Only Nissan models less than 6 years old and under 80,000 miles qualify for the Nissan Certified Pre-Owned program. The CARFAX® Vehicle History Report ensures your vehicle has a clean title history.
Age/Mileage Eligibility Model years 2010-2015 & less than 80,000 miles.
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 167 point comprehensive Certified Pre-Owned Inspection and reconditioning. Inspection includes OEM service bulletins and recalls, diagnostic trouble codes, powertrain/chassis, body frame, road test, interior and body exterior.
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes for the duration of the 7 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2009 Nissan Xterra Sport Utility

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