Used Vehicle Review: Dodge Nitro, 2007-2011
September 27, 2012
Dodge is a brand better known for pickup trucks than SUVs, a fact that explains why it waited until 2007 to bring its first mid-sized SUV – the Nitro – to market.
The Nitro was a boxy thing that foretold the second-generation Jeep Liberty, which arrived for 2008. It shared some structural and suspension elements, as well as the Liberty’s 3.7L V6 engine, whose 210-hp (and 235 lb-ft of torque) was far less explosive than the truck’s name suggested. For performance that meshed better with the Nitro’s name and its bulldog styling, the 4.0L engine (260 hp/265 lb-ft) used in the top-trim R/T model was the engine of choice.
A six-speed manual was the base transmission in lower trims; a four-speed automatic was available with the 3.7L engine, and the 4.0L used a five-speed auto. Four-wheel drive was standard in upper trims, and optional in more basic models.
Fuel consumption estimates, according Natural Resources Canada, were 13.2/9.1 L/100 km (city/highway) for a 3.7L 4×2 automatic model, and 14.0/9.7 for the same truck with four-wheel drive. With the 4.0L engine, estimates were 13.1/9.5 L/100 km two-wheel drive, and 13.6/10.0 with 4WD. The relatively rare manual transmission models were rated 12.8/8.9 (2WD) and 13.4/9.2 with 4WD.
Standard kit on the 2007 SE trim included 16-inch steel wheel, ABS, stability/traction control, air conditioning, power locks and windows, tilt steering, roof rails, fold-flat front passenger seat, reclining rear seat, and power-folding mirrors.
A move up to the SXT model added aluminum wheels, floor mats, overhead console, cruise control, fog lamps and tinted side and rear glass.
The SLT brought 17-inch wheels, body-colour fenders and trim, slide-out Load ‘n Go cargo floor, auto-dimming rearview mirror, two-tone seats with stain-resistant fabric, power driver’s seat, vehicle information centre, heated exterior mirrors and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
The top-trim R/T got 20-inch chrome wheels, performance suspension, body-colour grille and R/T badging on the front seats.