What Changed for 2009:
- Redesigned front end
- Off-Road models gain new roof-mounted lights
- New wheel design
- Upgraded seat upholstery and colors
- New trim level content
- Standard roof-mounted curtain air bags
- Simplified equipment packages
The first-generation Nissan Xterra debuted in 2000. Marketed to the adventurous and outdoor consumer, the Xterra offered a more truck-based body-on-frame alternative to the slightly larger and more luxurious unibody-platform Nissan Pathfinder. In 2007, Nissan introduced the second-generation Xterra, continuing the tradition set down by its predecessor. With the same rugged exterior design, and built on the same \"F-Alpha\" platform as Nissan's Titan and Armada, the all-new Xterra grew in all dimensions while offering significantly more refinement and power. After minor changes in 2008, Nissan has added more content and features (and simplified the option packages) for their rugged SUV in 2009.
Nissan's New Vehicle Limited Warranty covers the 2009 Xterra during the first 3 years/36,000 miles. A powertrain warranty extends to 5 years/60,000 miles. There is no deductible on either warranty, and towing may be reimbursed if the vehicle is less than 36 months old.
The 2009 Nissan Xterra is available in rear- or 4-wheel drive (RWD or 4WD) configurations in a choice of X, S, SE and Off-Road (4WD only) trim levels. (Nissan calls these levels \"grades.\") Overall, there are seven different models in the lineup. The list of standard equipment across all models includes power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and 60/40-split folding stadium-style rear seats. Privacy glass is standard on the rear doors, rear quarter windows and liftgate window. All models feature a large center console, double-deck glove compartment and additional storage compartments throughout the cabin. While leather upholstery is not available, upgraded trim levels offer such amenities as an 8-way adjustable driver's seat, roof rack with cross bars, and a cargo channel system to restrain loads. Nissan simplified the option packages for 2009; there are now just two available: Technology and X Gear. The Technology package includes the high-level Rockford Fosgate audio system, Bluetooth hands-free phone operation, and satellite radio. The X Gear package adds a roof-rack crossbar, fog lights, first aid kit, cargo net and a gear basket.
Nissan offers four different wheel choices, with as many tire choices, on the 2009 Xterra. The standard package includes 16-inch steel wheels. Higher trim levels offer 16-inch aluminum wheels in two styles. The SE models are equipped with standard 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels. All Xterra models feature a full-size spare tire. Several advanced off-road traction systems are offered on the 4WD Off-Road models equipped with the automatic transmission. These include Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA).
All 2009 Nissan Xterra models feature an identical 6-cylinder powerplant. Internally designated the VQ40 by Nissan, the all-aluminum 4.0-liter engine is rated at 261 hp and 281 lb.-ft. of torque. All models are offered with a choice of either a 5-speed automatic transmission, or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 4WD models offer an electronically controlled transfer case with 2WD/4HI/4LO modes. EPA fuel-economy estimates range from 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway for the 2WD model, to 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway for the 4WD models. For emissions classification, the engine is rated as a ULEV Tier 2, Bin 5.
The Xterra is built on a body-on-frame (ladder-type) chassis constructed of corrosion-resistant and high-strength steel. The front suspension is independent with double wishbones, while the rear suspension is a traditional solid axle design with multi-leaf rear springs. Engine skid plates are standard on all models, while the Off-Road model features additional skid plate protection on the oil pan, transfer case and fuel tank. Front and rear disc brakes, with anti-lock control (ABS) are standard.
The body and frame of the 2009 Nissan Xterra are manufactured from high-strength steel with front and rear crush zones. In the event of an accident, passengers are offered protection by Nissan's Advanced Air Bag System. On the Xterra, it includes driver and front passenger front air bags. All passengers are offered standard 3-point seat belts. Driver and front passenger belts are equipped with pre-tensioners and load limiters. Child safety rear door locks, and the Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) system, designed to simplify child- and infant-seat installation, is standard on all models. While it was optional in 2008, Nissan has made the Side/Curtain Air Bag package standard in 2009. It includes driver and front passenger side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for front and rear outboard occupant protection. A tire-pressure-monitoring system (TPMS) is standard.
The 2005-09 Nissan Xterra was crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). It earned \"Good\" ratings (the Institute's highest score) in frontal offset and side-impact tests. The 2005-08 models without the optional side air bags were rated \"Marginal\" in the side-impact test. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Nissan Xterra received 4 stars for both driver and front passenger in frontal crashes, as well as perfect 5-star side-impact scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The Xterra received 3 stars for rollover resistance.
The 2009 Nissan Xterra Off-Road model is available with a Technology package featuring an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system. The comprehensive sound package includes an in-dash, 6-disc CD changer, 8 high-performance speakers, and a subwoofer. Also included is an auxiliary input port for an MP3 player, an XM satellite radio receiver and antenna (automatic transmission only), and an auto-dimming inside mirror with compass.