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Dodge’s little attention seeker
Nitro SUV has the looks and some spunk under the hood

The Dodge Nitro sport utility vehicle can seat up to five passengers and features a truck-like ride and the ability to tow an average-size boat or trailer.

Sporting what its public relations department creatively calls a “sunburst” orange exterior color and partially colored orange seats, I quickly decided the Dodge Nitro would be the perfect vehicle for Halloween.

And actually, the Nitro possesses a little Halloween personality. It has a daring appearance, so it doesn’t mind drawing attention in its testosterone-laden costume.

It has some other quirky traits as well, leading one to conclude that the Nitro can be both trick or treat, depending upon your personal preference.
Whatever your inclination, there’s no doubting the Nitro’s ability to draw attention.

The bright colors on some models is certainly one reason, but so is the overall exterior, which features dramatically flared front fenders, large grille, oversized door handles and a sizable front bumper that adds to the Nitro’s sort of bad-boy image.

This five-passenger sport utility vehicle is designed for car shoppers who prefer a truck-like ride, aggressive styling and want something rugged with enough power to haul at least an average-size boat or trailer.
One more thing that buyers will find appealing — the price, which ranges from $22,240 to $26,220. The test model here was the upscale R/T, which is listed at $25,920 and hiked to $33,355 with the preferred package.

The R/T features nice acceleration thanks to a 4.0-liter, V6 engine with 260 horsepower.

Equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission — there is no longer a manual transmission option — the Nitro goes 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, yet appears to be quicker than that at times.

All versions of the Nitro are available with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The engine in the Nitro’s only other trim line is a 3.7-liter, V6 with 210 horsepower.

Debuting in 2006, the Nitro is smaller than a Dodge Durango and takes its basic design from the Jeep Liberty.

It has a little bigger platform than the Liberty, yet surprisingly, considering its rugged image, the Nitro is not a good off-road vehicle.

Other competitors in the mid-size SUV class, such as the Mazda CX-7, Toyota RAV4 and even the Saturn Vue, provide better road feel and handling.
The Nitro doesn’t offer a refined ride and possesses only moderate agility on twisting roads or when going around tight turns.

The gas mileage of 16 to 20 miles per gallon is merely adequate.


2009 Dodge Nitro R/T

Price: Starting at $25,920

Mileage estimate: From 16 mpg city to
20 mpg highway

Power: 4.0-liter, V6 engine with 260 horsepower

Standard features include: Roof rack, air conditioning; reclining rear seats; six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio; antilock disc brakes; traction and stability control; leather-wrapped steering wheel; fog lamps

Article Link:Weidel on Wheels: Dodge?s little attention seeker - Roseville Press-Tribune
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