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2009 Nissan Xterra Review

The 2009 Nissan Xterra, a truck-based SUV, has good off-road performance and a rugged, versatile interior, but poor safety ratings make it a low-ranked SUV.

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V6 engine
  • Good off-road abilities
  • Versatile cargo area
  • Uncomfortable seating
  • Subpar safety scores
  • Poor fuel economy




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 8.6
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Nissan Xterra Overview

When it was new, reviewers liked the power of the 2009 Nissan Xterra’s V6 engine and its off-road capabilities, though they noted that its on-road performance isn’t as good as crossovers that provide car-like handling. One downside of its powerful engine is poor fuel economy. The 2WD Xterra gets up to 16/20 mpg city/highway, which, in addition to its poor safety ratings, is among the lowest in the class.

Inside, reviewers liked the Xterra’s spacious cabin and adaptable cargo area, but many felt that the interior was outdated by 2009 standards. While auto critics thought the Xterra had plenty of leg- and headroom, they said that the seats were highly uncomfortable. Test drivers noted that the front seats needed more side bolstering, while the back seats needed better cushioning. However, those looking to store all of their gear will likely appreciate the Xterra’s versatile cargo space.

See the full 2009 Nissan Xterra specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re seeking a good off-road performer with retro styling, the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser should be on your list. The FJ Cruiser boasts a powerful V6 and has slightly better fuel economy than the Xterra, but has a smaller engine. When it was new, reviewers thought that the FJ Cruiser had capable handling, but especially shined off-road. 

The 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara is another used compact SUV that is great off-road. Both vehicles struggled with on-road performance, according to auto critics, but the Grand Vitara has stronger safety scores and better interior comfort.

Compare the Xterra to the FJ Cruiser and Grand Vitara »

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