Overview & Reviews
In general, small-to-midsize SUVs are pretty conservative in terms of their styling and design. One exception, however, was the Dodge Nitro. Mechanically, the Nitro was related to the rather pedestrian Jeep Liberty. It was a unibody design, but the non-independent rear suspension, standard rear-drive configuration (with four-wheel drive optional) and large-displacement V6 engines all pointed to the platform's truckish roots.
Yet the Nitro had a retro look that was all its own, with a high waistline, big wheels and aggressively flared fenders. Unfortunately, this Dodge's beauty was only skin deep. Its handling was subpar and its interior disappointed due to a lack of quality. Used SUV buyers can do better than the Dodge Nitro.
Used Dodge Nitro Models
The Dodge Nitro was a five-passenger midsize SUV produced from 2007-'11. It was based on Jeep's Liberty, but the Dodge was tuned a bit more for on-road use and offered a large, optional V6 engine. Otherwise, they are very similar.
The base engine was a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 paired to a four-speed automatic (a six-speed manual was standard for 2007 and '08). Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive were available on all Nitro models, with the latter being a part-time system with high- and low-range gearing. A 260-hp 4.0-liter V6 paired to a five-speed automatic was standard on the R/T, Detonator and Shock trims.
Originally, the base trim was known as SXT, but was changed to SE for 2009, then Heat for '10. Regardless of what Dodge called it, the base Nitro came standard with air-conditioning, an auxiliary audio jack and a roof rack. The Heat at least added some visual flair, with 20-inch chrome-clad rims versus the originally standard 16-inch steel wheels. Features available on the upper trims (SLT and R/T originally, then Detonator and Shock for 2010) included a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated seats, navigation, upgraded sound systems, and in later model years, Bluetooth.
In Dodge Nitro reviews, we found acceleration to be disappointing with the 3.7-liter engine, but adequate with the 4.0-liter V6. There wasn't much of a fuel economy penalty with the bigger V6, either -- city and highway estimates for the two engines were almost identically poor. Customers interested in extracting maximum performance from their Nitros should gravitate toward the bigger power plant. However, handling and ride quality were below average even after Dodge altered the suspension tuning for '09.
Inside, the Nitro had an industrial feel, though faux aluminum accents brightened the place up a bit. Materials quality was unimpressive for this class, and a few plastics stand out as unacceptably low-grade. Cargo space was decent among compact SUVs, at least, and the Nitro SLT trim level came with a slide-out cargo floor with tie-down points known as Load 'n Go.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 292.00
Very dependable - 2008 Dodge Nitro
By Jackie - January 2 - 8:28 am
I have had my Nitro for 8 years. Replaced front brakes once and water pump once . Other than regular oil changes no problems. Good investment. Paid for for several years. Think I'll keep it. Life time warranty.
Overall great car - 2007 Dodge Nitro
By email@example.com - December 8 - 9:03 pm
I bought my Nitro off the lot brand new. It now has 103,000 miles and still running strong. Radio quit working at around 30,000 miles and the entire thing quit working around 50,000 miles. Sound does sound good, though. In about a year the plastic at leading edge of the roof rack rail lifted up due to ice expansion . Right after 100,000 miles the throttle control module and map sensor went out and cost around 800 dollars to repair. I find this to be a normal wear and tear issue. The exterior paint looks brand new. Reliable and good in the snow and ice here in Chicago. Interior spacious and I find it comfortable. I've had it for 9 years now and NEVER regretted buying this product, which is the first Dodge I've bought. Overall I LOVE this vehicle.
The little engine that could..tow a house - 2011 Dodge Nitro
By Dan989 - November 10 - 7:56 pm
I got my wife a 2011 nitro heat 3.7 with 55k miles about a year ago because we needed a little more room but didn't want to break the bank. She likes the smaller suv's and I've always liked the Tonka truck look of the nitro. My experience with dodge so far has been very good so decided to stick with it. The nitro is an old fashioned old school suv that feels like a truck, drives like a truck, and is tough like a truck. There's nothing fancy about this rig but it has it where it counts. We take it all over and have put on 20k miles in year without a single issue. What did surprise me was what the nitro could actually do. We're big out doors people and own a 4k+ pound 21+ ft travel trailer we take out a few times a year that we thought we were going to have to park for a while since I no longer have a truck to pull it with. Unbeknownst to me was the heavy duty 5 link suspension, heavy duty chasis, transmission cooler and 5k pound towing capacity of the nitro. Once I discovered that I quickly installed a hitch and brake controller ,due to our nitro not being equipped with the tow package, and we were ready for action. Well we recently took a week long trip where we towed our trailer from az to camp on beach in San diego and the nitro preformed flawlessly never even heating up anywhere, mountains include, along the way. We were looking for a small/mid affordable suv with unique looks and got a helluva lot more than we bargained for. It's not the suv for everyone as it has a stiff ride and modest mpg at best, but if you're looking for something that takes you back to the pick up truck feel of a few years ago, has unique styling and can tow mountains above its useless crossover counterparts, than the nitro might just be what you've been looking for.
Big Red's 4/4' - 2010 Dodge Nitro
By Dennis - September 9 - 6:36 pm
my dodge nitro bought brand new in 2009,presently has 106 thousand miles on it & has been one of the best vehicles I've ever owned
I liked my Nitro a lot ... LIKED it a lot - 2011 Dodge Nitro
By northcoast19 - February 3 - 7:46 pm
I bought a 2011 Dodge Nitro Heat 3.7 4x4 in January of 2011, and traded it in for a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in March of 2014. Over that time, I put $65,000 miles on the Nitro as I drove it extensively for work. I never had a single problem with the vehicle and never had it in the shop other than routine maintenance. The Nitro was a cool SUV, but it was from a past decade. It just felt like a vehicle designed in the 90's that they had stored away and rolled out in the 2000's. The shifting was horrendously rough to the point where it felt like I ran something over when it would shift during acceleration. There was no 4 wheel low, and the 20" rims on a 4x4 SUV was a joke.
Idiling problems - 2008 Dodge Nitro
By plank3 - December 17 - 11:18 pm
First vehicle that I bought brand new. The first three years were great but now the truck will stall when idling. I have taken the vehicle back to the dealership for service but the problem cannot be reproduce. Only have 70k on it. Any suggestions?
Dodge Nitro 4.0L R/T 2008-BLACK W/ red seats (the drop down made me pick SXT, but thats not my car) - 2007 Dodge Nitro
By jenns1 - November 21 - 4:41 pm
I love my Nitro!!! We bought it back in 2011. It's the best vehicle I've had. Great Navi. system, great sound system, Uconnect is excellent and very convenient when doing interstate driving. the R/T red seat package looks sporty, 20inch wheel with rims look nice exterior. It doesn't have the best MPG, but reasonable for an SUV. NO PROBLEMS, at all ..other than basic maintenance (break pads, fluid flush) I recommend using BG or AMSOIL products. My husband maintains my Nitro and he's never complained about anything being hard to reach or work on. Too bad Dodge stopped making it. :-) I would love to have a 2015.
Great Truck Overall. Going good at 65k+ - 2007 Dodge Nitro
By carlovernyc - August 22 - 8:03 pm
My review is being posted for someone seeking user experience data to make a decision to buy/own a used Dodge Nitro or not. Our Nitro was bought New from the Dealer. After nearly 7 years and 60,000 miles, the problems have been limited to minor issues. Check engine light has come on a few times requiring a trip to the dealer. Either it was nothing, or something covered under wrrty. A power door lock broke, and a tire sensor broke. Aside from this the car is reliable.
DO NOT BUY!! - 2007 Dodge Nitro
By flaboy84 - June 23 - 3:31 pm
STAY AWAY from the Nitro's! When I drove mine on the highway the hood shook, the mirrors shook (no matter how tight they were on) and the roof rack shook! The AC went out after owning it for a month and the repair price was over $1,000 from multiple repair shops. Save your money & time! DO NOT buy this gas guzzling piece of JUNK. Never again will I buy a dodge...
Saved me! - 2007 Dodge Nitro
By zaginara - February 7 - 9:26 pm
My mom had this car and I borrowed it since I didn't have a car of my own yet. I was driving home and got in to an accident. The nitro had so much damage that I couldn't move it. A tow truck had to come get it and it was later declared totaled (though I already knew that). The front end was a mess. The air bags deployed and the windows dropped... the engine cut off.. I don't remember the accident itself. I remember looking around and my foot was still on the gas. I walked away from the accident with the Dodge emblem burned in to my right forearm. (Yes burned!) While I am now branded (get it, from the burn?), if I had been in a sedan or any small car, I would have been in a hospital bed.