2007 to 2011: Dodge Nitro
Based on the same platform as the Jeep Liberty, the Dodge Nitro offered a few differences from its corporate cousin, including its front fascia and engine choices.
The Nitro’s release came one model year ahead of the introduction of the second-generation Jeep Liberty. Dodge canceled the Nitro following the 2011 model year, while the Liberty soldiered on for one more year.
The Dodge Nitro is marked by a traditional boxy SUV look that’s similar to earlier Jeep Cherokee models. A bold front end is embellished by Dodge’s crosshair grille and hemmed in by large headlamp assemblies. A small and narrow lower grille opening is offset by available fog lamps.
This model has a broad hood, strong shoulders and upright roof pillars. Featuring a high beltline, the Nitro’s profile is marked by generously flared wheel wells, vent sculpting and character lines. From the rear, the fascia is marked by a flat liftgate with large vertical combination lamps.
Inside, the Nitro offers bucket seats up front and a split-folding bench seat in the rear. The front passenger seat also folds forward, expanding the available cargo space. Towing capacity ranges from 3,500 to 5,000 pounds, depending on the model selected.
Two V6 engine choices were offered throughout the Nitro’s brief model run. The standard engine displaces 3.7 liters and makes 210 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission was standard and a four-speed automatic was available. The second engine displaces 4.0 liters and makes 260 horsepower. This engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission.
In 2008, Dodge added a new trailer sway control system and made rear parking sensors available for the first time. Dodge dropped the manual transmission the following year and made an automatic transmission standard on all models. Revised brakes and a retuned suspension system were also introduced for 2009. Heated sideview mirrors and front active head restraints became standard equipment for the 2010 Nitro.
Along with the related Jeep Liberty, the Nitro can be considered alongside compact SUVs like the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Chevrolet Equinox, Kia Sportage and Mazda CX-5. Two additional Jeep models, the Compass and Patriot, might also be compared.