The 2007 Dodge Nitro radiates that powerful charisma that could have possibly made this gorgeous, retro-styled vehicle the brand’s halo model, if only it was released in different time. Perhaps, a decade ago, it would become an instant hit. Now, it is just another nice SUV to consider for a young family with a couple of kids and a golden retriever.
Despite constantly growing prices on imported oil, Chrysler Group keeps working on new larger-than-life sport utility vehicles.
Their new 2007 Dodge Nitro SUV looks like a perfectly balanced blend of current-gen Jeep Commander and the legendary Wrangler J8 that was first put on steroids and then subjected to an aggressive weight-loss diet. Well, the resemblance is obvious, since the new entry-premium crossover shares its underpinnings with the upcoming Jeep Liberty SUV. And, although the base version of the truck will be offered as a two wheel drive model, there is clearly some Jeep’s off-road DNA showing through its lean, long body with exaggerated wheel arches.
As the company’s press service has announced, during the next two to three years the automaker plans to throw on the market at least five large crossovers that will be able to help the American brand to be more competitive on the market, which is currently dominated by such European behemoths as Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne. While the American Big Three has a number of heavy trucks on offer, they are too heavy and too sluggish to compete against their German rivals. The first of the bunch will be the 2007 Dodge Nitro mid-size SUV.
Delivering a combination of a spacious interior, capable off-road system and that gorgeous retro-design of its slender, muscular body, the new vehicle will also try to lure customers with such comfort features as perforated leather, tire pressure monitor system, as well as numerous electronic assistance that will be able to help even an inexperienced driver to drive safer on a highway covered in snow and ice.
Future buyers will be presented with a choice of two V6 engines, although, as far as I understand, Chrysler plans to also offer an even smaller mill to motivate a European version of the truck.
One of them is a 3.7-litre SOHC engine with ETC (engine coolant temperature sensor) that features 210-hp at 5200 rpm. The other is even more powerful 4.0-litre with 255-hp at 5800 rpm that will be installed on a more expensive Nitro R/T model.
Customers living outside the US and Canada will also be able to order Dodge Nitro with a diesel engine.
The cars will come with three different transmissions. Cheaper versions will be equipped with a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic gearbox. Top of the line R/T engines will be married with an advanced five-speed automatic transmission that sports an ERS driver interactive shift control providing both truly automatic and manual shifting when needed.
2007 Dodge Nitro can be ordered in a standard 4×2 or a 4×4 drive system. The 3.7-liter V6 engines with a manual gearbox get only part-time four-wheel-drive, while engines with automatic transmissions employ a full-time 4WD.
As to its entertaining capabilities, the new Dodge Nitro comes with a standard AM/FM tuner and a CD-audio system with MP3 and WMA compatibility.
Some models also feature UConnect option with SIRIUS satellite radio receivers.
See also: 2008 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid SUV
2007 Dodge Nitro SUV Specifications
Price Range (estimated MSRP): $21,000 – $32,000
Body Type: 5-door SUV
Layout: front engine, RWD (optional AWD; 4WD)
Base Engine: 210-hp, 235 lb-ft of torque, 3.7L, 12-valve, SOHC V6
Optional Engine: 255-hp, 275 lb-ft of torque, 4.0L, 12-valve, SOHC V6
Transmission: 6-spd manual (optional 4-spd auto w/ 3.7L; 5-spd auto w/4.0L)
Exterior Dimensions (L/W/H/WB): 178.9 / 73.1 / 69.9 / 108.8 in
Track (frt/rr): 61.0 / 61.0 in
Approach Angle (degrees): 25.6
Breakover Angle (degrees): 22.0
Departure Angle (degrees): 26.7
Curb Weight (min – max): 3,932 – 4,151 lbs
Coefficient of Drag (Cd): 0.39
Seating Capacity: 5 (2/3)
Cargo Volume (seats upright/folded): 32.3 / 66.9 cu ft
Payload (max w/ occupants and cargo): 1,150 lbs
Towing Capacity (min – max): 2,000 – 5,000 lbs
Direct Competitors (4×4 capable): Jeep Liberty, Kia Sorento, Nissan Xterra, Suzuki Grand Vitara