The Dodge Nitro is a compact SUV that was produced by Dodge from the 2007 to the 2012 model year. The Nitro shared its platform with the second generation Jeep Liberty. It was assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio. The Jeep facility is part of an automobile complex which includes the Toledo South Assembly Plant, home to the Jeep Wrangler since the 1940s.
The Nitro made its debut in February 2005 at the Chicago Auto Show, as a concept car featuring an aluminum themed interior design. Aluminum-trimmed vents behind the front fenders, and other aluminum trim around the door handles and rear hatch, were routinely displayed as the center stack and shifter also included a finish in satin silver.
The Nitro became Dodge's first compact SUV model since the Raider was discontinued in 1990. It also became the first modern Dodge branded automobile to be sold in Europe since its introduction in early 2007. In the U.S., the Nitro went into production in August 2006 and went on sale in September of the same year as a 2007 model. All Nitros were available with rear-wheel drive, and part-time four-wheel drive was available as an option. The Nitro was Dodge's entry-level SUV until the 2009 model year, when the larger, car-based Dodge Journey crossover SUV priced below it, arrived in showrooms. Compared to its shared platform with the Jeep Liberty, the Nitro is longer, lower, and wider. The extra length is split between the rear seat and the cargo area.
The Nitro originally came equipped with an SUV class-leading 5,000-pound (2,300 kg) towing capacity. Safety features such as electronic roll mitigation, traction control, and side curtain airbags, as well as a functional sliding cargo floor called Load 'N Go were also offered as standard equipment. Similar to a system offered on the Saab 9-5 station wagon, the floor can be extended through the rear hatch by 18 in (457 mm) to ease loading. Another attribute of the SUV, is its aggressive hot rod styling; complete with a bulged muscular appearance and pronounced fenders.
For its initial debut in 2007, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive drivetrains were offered, along with a choice of a 3.7 L or 4.0 L V6 engines. The model designations were the SXT, SLT, and R/T. There were three types of upholstery made available; basic cloth, stain-repellant cloth, and perforated leather. Standard safety features included; front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability program with traction control and brake assist, electronic roll mitigation and a tire-pressure monitor. The four-cylinder version was sold exclusively in Europe.
Dodge Nitro SXT 4x4
During 2008, the Nitro came in both a 4x2 and a 4x4 versions with each offering two trims: SXT and SLT. Both trims came with a standard 210-hp 3.7 L V6 engine. The SXT trim included a standard six-speed manual transmission with an optional four-speed automatic. The SLT trim came with a standard four-speed automatic, but the optional R/T package increased the level of equipment with a 260-hp 4.0 L V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Nitro's SXT trim included standard power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, air conditioning, and seating for five. The SXT and R/T added alloy wheels, power driver's seat, stain repellent cloth, the Load 'N Go retractable cargo floor, cruise control, and an overhead console with a trip computer, compass, and exterior temperature display. Standard safety features included; front airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor.
Dodge Nitro R/T
In 2009, the Nitro was offered in both a 4x2 and a 4x4 versions with two trims levels: SE and SLT. Both came with a standard 210-hp 3.7 L V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The SXT with its six-speed manual transmission had been replaced by the SE trim that featured the automatic transmission. The SLT trim offered the optional R/T package which was made available with a 260-hp 4.0 L V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Nitro's SE trim standards included power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, air conditioning, and seating for five. The SXT and R/T added alloy wheels, power driver's seat, stain repellent cloth, the Load 'N Go retractable cargo floor, cruise control and an overhead console with a trip computer, compass, and exterior temperature display. Standard safety features included; front airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor.
For the 2010 model year, three new model designations became available: Heat, Detonator, and Shock trim levels in either 4x2 or 4x4 versions. The Heat trim was equipped with a 210-hp 3.7 L V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Detonator and Shock trims included a 260-hp V6 engine mated to automatic transmission. The Heat trim level had power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, and air conditioning. The Detonator added a rear-park assist, remote start system, power driver's seat, cruise control, an overhead console with a trip computer, compass, and exterior temperature display. The Shock trim added heated front seats, leather trim interior, and a power sunroof. Among standard safety features were: front airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor. The Load 'N Go sliding trunk floor feature was discontinued.
2011 Dodge Nitro Detonator
The 2011 model year continued the previous models in 4x2 or 4x4 versions with the same engines and transmissions. New for 2011 was the Heat 4.0 lifestyle package. The Heat 4.0 came standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, Uconnect Phone, and an upgraded eight-speaker sound system. Also, select models came with upgraded interiors with new cloth and leather with premium colored stitching. Detonator and Shock were branded with Dodge Brand’s signature racing stripes. Additionally, all models became available with nine exterior colors, including Bright White Clear Coat, Blackberry Pearl Coat, Toxic Orange Pearl Coat, and Redline Two Coat Pearl.
Chrysler built 2012 model year Dodge Nitros for the fleet market only. The final Nitro came off the assembly line on December 16, 2011.
In Australia, versions could be had only as the 3.7 L V6 in SXT trim with automatic transmission. No manual option was offered, but diesels were on sale until 2010 MY.
Despite its flashy debut, the Nitro sales did not bode well for the company starting 2009, although for 2010 the situation had slightly ameliorated. The decision was therefore taken not to continue its production into 2012, with the assembly effectively ending on December 16, 2011. It was purportedly speculated by Marchionne that a successor going by the same name could be presented at the 2012 New York show, although that information later proved to be rumored from false facts and that the Nitro would not get a second generation for 2012. Chrysler built 2012 Dodge Nitros for the fleet market only, although Dodge's official websites for the United States & Canada list no 2012 retail Nitros. The final Nitro came off the assembly line on December 16, 2011, with a total of 175,510 units built since its introduction.
In early 2007, a TV advertisement in the U.S. for the Nitro with the tag line: "charged with adrenaline", showed a dog getting electrocuted after touching the SUV's front wheel. The ad gained a substantial amount of negative attention and was quickly pulled.
U.S. sales figures
Calendar Year Sales
Manufacturer DaimlerChrysler (2007)
Chrysler LLC (2007-2009)
Chrysler Group LLC (2009-2012)
Production August 2006–December 16, 2011[not in citation given]
Model years 2007–2012
Assembly Toledo, Ohio, United States
Body and chassis
Class Compact SUV
Body style 4-door SUV
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Platform Chrysler KA platform
Related Jeep Liberty
Engine 3.7 L (226 cu in) PowerTech V6
4.0 L (241 cu in) SOHC V6
2.8 L VM Motori I4 Diesel (export only)
Transmission 6-speed NSG-370 manual (2006–2008)
4-speed 42RLE automatic
5-speed A580/5G-Tronic Mercedes automatic
Wheelbase 108.8 in (2,764 mm)
Length 178.9 in (4,544 mm)
Width 73.1 in (1,857 mm)
Height 69.9 in (1,775 mm)
Curb weight 4,162 lb (1,888 kg)
Predecessor Dodge Raider
Successor Jeep Cherokee (KL)
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