The Dodge Nitro was a compact SUV from the Dodge division of Chrysler. Launched for the 2007 model year, the Nitro shares its platform with the second generation Jeep Liberty. It was assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio. The Jeep facility was part of an automobile complex which includes the Toledo South Assembly Plant, home to the Jeep Wrangler since the 1940s. The Nitro made its debut in February 2005 at the Chicago Auto Show, as a concept car featuring an aluminum themed interior design. Aluminum-trimmed vents behind the front fenders, and other aluminum trim around the door handles and rear hatch, were routinely displayed as the center stack and shifter also included a finish in satin silver.
The Nitro became Dodge's first compact SUV model since the Raider was discontinued in 1990. It also became the first modern Dodge branded automobile to be sold in Europe since its introduction in early 2007. In the U.S., the Nitro went into production in August 2006 and went on sale in September of the same year as a 2007 model. All Nitros were available with rear-wheel drive, and part-time four-wheel drive was available as an option. The Nitro was Dodge's entry-level SUV until the 2009 model year, when the larger, car-based Dodge Journey crossover SUV priced below it, arrived in showrooms. Compared to its shared platform with the Jeep Liberty, the Nitro was longer, lower, and wider. The extra length was split between the rear seat and the cargo area.
The Nitro originally came equipped with an SUV class-leading 5,000-pound towing capacity. Safety featured such as electronic roll mitigation, traction control and side curtain airbags, as well as a functional sliding cargo floor called Load 'N Go were also offered as standard equipment. Similar to a system offered on the Saab 9-5 station wagon, the floor could be extended through the rear hatch by 18 in (457 mm) to ease loading. Another attribute of the SUV, was its aggressive hot rod styling; complete with a bulged muscular appearance and unmistakable pronounced fenders.
First generation (2007–2011)
|Assembly||Toledo, Ohio, United States|
|Body style(s)||4-door SUV|
|Layout||Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive|
|Platform||Chrysler KA platform|
3.7 L (226 cu in) PowerTech V6|
4.0 L (241 cu in) SOHC V6
2.8 L VM Motori I4 Diesel (Europe only)
4-speed 42RLE automatic
5-speed A580/5G-Tronic Mercedes automatic
|Wheelbase||108.8 in (2,764 mm)|
|Length||178.9 in (4,544 mm)|
|Width||73.1 in (1,857 mm)|
|Height||69.9 in (1,775 mm)|
|Curb weight||4,162 lb (1,888 kg)|
For its initial debut in 2007, two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive drivetrains were offered, along with a choice of a 3.7-liter V6 or 4.0-liter V6 engines. The model designations were the SXT, SLT and R/T. There were three types of upholstery made available; basic cloth, stain-repellant cloth, and perforated leather. Standard safety features included; front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability program with traction control and brake assist, electronic roll mitigation and a tire-pressure monitor. The four-cylinder version was sold exclusively in Europe.
During 2008, the Nitro came in both a 4x2 and a 4x4 versions with each offering two trims: the SXT and the SLT. Both trims came with a standard 210-hp 3.7 liter V6 engine. The SXT trim included a standard six-speed manual transmission with an optional four-speed automatic. The SLT trim came with a standard four-speed automatic but the optional R/T package increased the level of equipment with a 260-hp 4.0 liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Nitro's SXT trim offered standard amenities such as power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, air conditioning and seating for five. The SXT and R/T added alloy wheels, power driver's seat, stain repellent cloth, the Load 'N Go retractable cargo floor, cruise control and an overhead console with a trip computer, compass and exterior temperature display. Standard safety features included; front airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor.
In 2009, the Nitro was offered in both a 4x2 and a 4x4 versions with two trims levels; the SE and the SLT. Both trim levels came with a standard 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The SXT with its six-speed manual transmission had been replaced by the SE trim which featured the automatic transmission. The SLT trim offered the optional R/T package which was made available with a 260-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Nitro's SE trim offered standard amenities such as power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, air conditioning and seating for five. The SXT and R/T added alloy wheels, power driver's seat, stain repellent cloth, the Load 'N Go retractable cargo floor, cruise control and an overhead console with a trip computer, compass and exterior temperature display. Standard safety features included; front airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor.
For the 2010 model year, three new model designations became available; Heat, Detonator and Shock trim levels. The 4x2 and a 4x4 versions, could be had as either Heat, Detonator, or Shock trim. The Heat trim was equipped with a 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. The Detonator and Shock trims were fitted with a 260-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The Heat trim level offered power mirrors, windows and door locks with remote keyless entry, satellite radio, and air conditioning. The Detonator added a rear-park assist, remote start system, power driver's seat, cruise control, an overhead console with a trip computer, compass and exterior temperature display. The premium Shock trim level added heated front seats, leather trim interior, and a power sunroof. Among standard safety features were: front airbags, side curtain airbags, active head restraints, traction and stability control with roll-over mitigation, brake assist, and a tire-pressure monitor. For all trim levels, the Load 'N Go sliding trunk floor feature was discontinued.
The 2011 model year brought back the previous year's three model designations; Heat, Detonator and Shock trim levels. The 4x2 and 4x4 versions again became available in either Heat, Detonator, or in Shock trim. The 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, and the 260-hp 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission were carried over as well. New for 2011, the Heat 4.0 lifestyle package joined the Detonator, Shock and Heat models. The Heat 4.0 came standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, Uconnect Phone and an upgraded eight-speaker sound system. Also, select models came with upgraded interiors with new cloth and leather with premium colored stitching. Detonator and Shock were branded with Dodge Brand’s signature racing stripes. Additionally, all models became available with nine exterior colors, including Bright White Clear Coat, Blackberry Pearl Coat, Toxic Orange Pearl Coat and Redline Two Coat Pearl.
Second generation (2012)
On November 4, 2009, Chrysler announced the model would continue until 2012 when it would see a second generation.
A TV advertisement in the U.S. for the Nitro with the tag line: "charged with adrenaline", showed a dog getting electrocuted after touching the SUV's front wheel. The ad gained a substantial amount of negative attention and was quickly pulled off the air.
U.S. sales figures
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