If you want to get away from the conservative motoring concept projected by an SUV in general, then the Dodge Nitro will do it for you! This compact mid-sized SUV is relatively unique in its design, with an image projection that belies its size.
The Compact Mid-Sized SUV with a Big Vehicle Complex
It's generally accepted that a small to mid-sized or compact SUV follows the trend of being conservative in relation to styling and design. As usual, there is an exception to every rule and in this case, it's the Dodge Nitro. A vehicle that bore a mechanical relationship with the arguably conservatively-inclined Jeep Liberty, it boasted a uni-body design.
With a non-independent rear suspension, and a standard rear-drive configuration, 4WD optional, and a large-displacement V6 engine, this was a vehicle proud of its truck-influenced heritage! This 5 passenger SUV was produced between 2007 and 2011and it offered a base 3.7 L, V6 engine that created 210 horsepower and linked to a 4-speed automatic transmission. During the 2007-2008 model years, a 6-speed manual was the standard gearing for the Dodge Nitro.
A rear-wheel and 4WD systems were available for all Nitro models but with the 4WD a system offering high-and low-range gearing. For the R/T, Detonator and Shock trim a 260 horsepower 4.0-litre, V6 engine combined with a 5-speed automatic transmission was the standard fitting.
The Dodge Nitro in Motion
Reportedly, the Dodge Nitro did not produce the generally demanded acceleration to be expected from the 3.7 Litre engine. It was a factor however, that was considered acceptable in relation to the 4.0-litre V6 unit, with a less economic fuel consumption that was not considered to much of an issue!
Further reports indicate that driving the Dodge Nitro in city and highway conditions gave a less than desirable fuel economy, for both engine versions! It was generally recognized that to gain the best possible powered performance from a Nitro the larger engine option was to be preferred. Regarding the on-road handling of the vehicle and its given ride quality; again, it was reportedly below average for this segment. This was despite the suspension tuning being updated for the 2009 model year.
The interior of the Dodge Nitro projected a working-type of environment, which was improved by some aluminum fittings. This industrially oriented aura was continued with a positive effect in the available cargo space. The Nitro provided an acceptable capacity for its size. This was emphasized by the Nitro SLT trim offering a slide-out cargo floor complete with tie-down points, and which was known as "Load 'n Go".
The Dodge Nitro offered further appeal in the SLT and R/T trims and the Detonator and Shock versions for 2010. This included a sunroof and leather upholstery, heated seats and navigation, as well as an upgraded sound system!