This midsized SUV has been built from the ground up on the same platform that brought us the Jeep Liberty. The Nitro SUV can tow an amazing payload and is rated to drag up to 5,000 pounds along with it. There is a special weight distribution hitch and axle suspension to make sure that whatever you are pulling this rugged little SUV can keep up. If you are planning on towing large items or just towing often, it may be a good idea to splurge for the larger engine package. The standard 3.7 L V-6 engine is not weak by any means, but it does have a lot to be desired if you are pulling big loads.
The Nitro comes in both 2WD and 4WD, but if you are going to be using it for what it was intended for, you already know that opting out of 4WD is not really an option. The interior of this midsized brute offers plenty of room for passengers including leg room and head room. There is a 32 cubic foot area behind the seats that can be instantly transformed into 64 cubic feet of storage by folding the rear seats.
Engines: 3.7L V-6, 4.0L V-6
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic, 4-speed automatic
Models: SE, SXT
Notable changes to the Dodge Nitro for the 2010 model year include the addition of front-row active head restraints, a standard six-speaker stereo, heated rear-view mirrors, an air-filtration system and new premium stain-resistant cloth upholstery. SXT models get new leather trim, auto-up front-passenger window, and security alarm. Both models get a new interior color as well as Light Sandstone Metallic exterior paint.
The boxy Nitro is not a particularly attractive vehicle. SE models receive a chrome grille, while the rest of the range gets body-color grilles. SXT models are available with 20-inch wheels.
The Nitro’s two-tone interior is fairly spartan in appearance and material quality. Cloth seats are standard, with leather optional on SXTs. A navigation system and 8-speaker, 368-watt stereo are the major tech options.
The Nitro’s base 3.7-liter V-6 makes an unimpressive 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque and is mated to aging 4-speed automatic transmission. The more-modern 4.0-liter engine makes 260 horsepower and 265 pound-feet while achieving almost the same fuel economy as the 3.7-liter unit, partly thanks to its more-modern 5-speed automatic gearbox. Live axle rear suspension means truck-like ride quality.
Dual front and front-row side-curtain airbags are standard across the Nitro range. All models also come standard with stability control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic roll-mitigation, and front-row active head restraints.
SE, SXT 3.7L 4×2: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway
SE, SXT 3.7L 4×4: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
SXT 4.0L 4×2: 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway
SXT 4.0L 4×4: 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway
- 368-watt Infinity sound system
- 5000-lb tow rating
- Four-speed automatic
- Interior fit and finish
- Poor fuel economy
- Truck-like ride
Nothing explosive about it
- Jeep Liberty
- Suzuki Grand Vitara