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Dodge Nitro- desperately needs a nitro boost
November 13, 2010

Dodge motors, a subsidiary of Chrysler Group is a less known name outside the US. Dodge motors isn’t likely to introduce itself to the rest of the world so soon either. Its line up of cars is one which suits the brawn in US. Dodge motors doesn’t know how to make mediocre cars and to check what we are talking about, just take a look at its line up. Not one car would be without plenty of brawn. The recent Dodge car that they have refreshed is the Dodge Nitro.

The Dodge Nitro SUV was named after the American gladiator from the television series.

Its styling is derived more from the Chrysler Jeep Liberty. Where the Jeep begs to differ is that it is capable more off road, the Dodge Nitro is tuned for more of on-road use. The SUV looks boxy from the front with a covered radiator grille. There is not much of air pass left for the air dam. The side profile throws up huge 20 inch wheels modeled on the lines of flared wheel arches. The rear also shows pretty much staid in contrast to the other in its class, tail lamps.

The interiors are also not as modern as the competition. Fit and finish is sub par for the class and those aluminium inserts try hard to liven the pace. All the plastics seem made for a war. The driver has a taut seating position which makes for good all around view but then it is tiring as well. The navigator would also have to make do with such a seat though both the seats have a 6 way adjusting and memory function. Don’t get us wrong, the Dodge Nitro has plenty of space, just that it isn’t used properly. The rear seats recline for angle but they are placed significantly lower compared to the floor and thus lose out on the comfort factor. Cargo space is good at 32 cu.feet but increase to 70 cu.feet when the rear seats are folded down. Additionally the front passenger seat can also be folded down.

The Dodge Nitro comes standard with an adjustable steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 8 speaker BOSE audio system, remote ignition, parking sensors and 20 inch alloy wheels. It is available in three different trims namely Dodge Nitro Heat, Dodge Nitro Detonator and Dodge Nitro Shock trim levels.

The Dodge Nitro comes with two engine trims. The first one is the 3.7-liter V6 engine which is good for 210 bhp and 237 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 4 speed auto transmission. It zoomed from 0-60 mph in a lackluster 9.3 seconds. Its combined fuel efficiency was pegged at an EPA estimated 18 mpg.

The second engine is a 4.0-liter V6 putting out 260 Bhp and 265 Nm of torque. This engine gets a 5 speed auto box and moves from 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds. Its EPA fuel economy in combined zone is 17 mpg.

The ride is quite good and the handling is not worthy of mentioning. There is lots of body roll and even the steering feels dead for most of the part. Both the engine trims offer rear wheel drive as standard with all wheel drive as an option.

Braking is handled by 4 wheels disc brakes with ABS, ESC, traction control and EBD giving support. Safety is taken care by 6 air bags, ample crash crumple zones and ELR seat belts.

Technical specifications of Dodge Nitro

Length: 176.9 in.

Width: 76.1 in.

Height: 70.9 in.

Wheel Base: 107.8 in.

Ground Clearance: 8.1 in.

Kerb Weight: 3984 lbs.

Gross Weight: 5610 lbs.

Front Head Room: 41.6 in.

Front Hip Room: 57.8 in.

Front Shoulder Room: 58.2 in.

Rear Head Room: 41.8 in.

Rear Shoulder Room: 57.4 in.

Rear Hip Room: 49.4 in.

Front Leg Room: 41.8 in.

Rear Leg Room: 36.7 in.

Luggage Capacity: 33.1 cu. ft.

Maximum Cargo Capacity: 78 cu. ft.

Maximum Seating: 5

Base Number of Cylinders: 6

Engine Size: 3.7 liters/ 4.0 liters

Base Engine Type: V6

Horsepower: 210 Bhp/ 260 Bhp

Max Horsepower: 5200 rpm

Torque: 235 Nm / 265 Nm

Max Torque: 4000 rpm

Maximum Payload: 1150 lbs.

Maximum Towing Capacity: 5000 lbs.

Drive Type: RWD/ optional all wheel drive

Turning Circle: 36.3 ft.

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