2007 Dodge Nitro Review

Blue 2007 Dodge Nitro When perusing the reviews for the 2007 Dodge Nitro, a common theme was that many people referred to the styling as “striking”. I’m not sure exactly when “striking” became an acceptable substitute for “deformed”, but apparently it is now. The Dodge Nitro looks like a Dodge Ram hooked up with a Jeep Commander – and apparently the two were siblings, because the offspring has some issues.

Aside from the styling, you have your choice of the base anemic engine hooked up with archaic 4 speed automatic ( it’s freakin 2007 Dodge – where are my extra gears? ), or a more plausible 260 HP 4.0 liter V6. Only if you get the R/T trim can you get a decent automatic ( 5 speed ). In case you can’t tell, 4 speed tranny’s are one of my pet peeves.

The Dodge Nitro shares it’s underpinnings with the new Liberty – though it uses a stretched version of the platform. That means no body-on-frame here- it’s a unibody for the Nitro, coupled with a rear wheel drive setup ( thankfully ), and a solid rear axle ( normal for this class ). Handling is predictable atrocious – don’t count on being able to perform any emergency maneuvers in the Nitro.

Overall, I’m not a fan of the Nitro. So-So gas mileage, weak power, poor quality interior, terrible handling, and hideous styling don’t add up to a winner in my eyes. Fortunately, Dodge did make one good call – sort of. Side curtain airbags are standard on the Nitro. However, to balance out this positive, Dodge decided not to include side-impact airbags for chest protection. Just because customers don’t know the difference, doesn’t mean it’s ok to skimp in this area.

2007 Dodge Nitro Specs

  • 210 HP 3.7 liter V6 – Base Engine
  • 260 HP 4.0 liter V6 – Optional
  • 6 speed manual transmission, with 4 speed available
  • 5 speed automatic available only on 4.0 liter R/T trim
  • RWD or available 4WD
  • Unibody construction – shared platform with new Jeep Liberty
  • EPA Says : 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway ( 3.7 liter engine )

2007 Dodge Nitro Reviews

Automotive.com reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘The Nitro is the first mid-size SUV from Dodge, and has all the Dodge character. It’s built on the platform of the future Jeep Liberty, and actually feels bigger than its size, thanks largely to a high beltline, high seating position, and much glass instead of sheetmetal at the rear corners. It’s not easy to make an SUV look distinctive, and the Nitro tries very hard. Mechanically, it’s hindered by the 3.7-liter engine and four-speed automatic transmission in the SXT and SLT, the most popular models. The R/T, costing on average about $2700 more, has a more powerful and smoother new 4.0-liter engine, which gets about the same gas mileage at the 3.7, along with a good five-speed automatic transmission. It also has a more comfortable ride. Go for the R/T.’

Truck Trend reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘The Nitro is based off the Jeep Liberty platform, stretched four additional inches with a slightly wider track. Styling is powerful and functional with the large signature fender flares and solid stance. The roof and hood lines are lower and flatter than its sibling Liberty’s, with a boxier overall look to it (ironically similar in shape to the extinct Jeep Cherokee, which the Liberty replaced). Exterior details like the rectangular headlights and side vents work well to define the Nitro’s character, and the interior look offers a much improved, cleaner design than we’ve seen coming from Dodge or Jeep.’

Mike Hanley of Cars.com reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘Though more consumers are migrating from truck-based SUVs to more fuel-efficient and better-riding car-based models, there will always be a market for statement vehicles like the Nitro, where practical considerations hold less sway. Even if the Nitro’s reception by consumers is only lukewarm, which seems a remote possibility, it brings Dodge into a segment where until now its market share has been zero, and how can anything be worse than that? ‘

Car Connection reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and has some quibbles with the interior design- ‘There are things about the interior which aren’t so clever. The front door bins are too narrow, shallow, and short, the latter being because of the very large round audio speakers build into the trim. There’s no central rear armrest, and just one map pocket on the back of the front seats. The steering wheel only adjusts for rake not reach, and there’s no footrest for the driver’s left foot. It also felt like the whole driving position was too high, and the electric driver’s seat adjustment could have done with going an inch or two lower.’

Automobile Mag reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘So, yes, the Nitro is ultimately lacking a little refinement, and, yes, there are traces (especially in the droning V-6’s lackluster throttle response) of warmed-over Liberty bits. But mostly, the Nitro’s on-road personality is a fun one: purpose-oriented and happily trucklike but still entertaining when the road goes all twisty. By this point, you may be thinking what we’re thinking–for all its un-Liberty-ness, the Nitro sounds like an old-school Jeep. Ironic, huh?’

Car and Driver reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘The Nitro instantly stands apart from its Jeep sibling with its slash-ā€™nā€™-burn urban styling that would appear right at home in the latest Diddy music video. Our R/T came with flashy paint that accentuates its huge fender flares, filled with look-at-me 20-inch chrome wheels wrapped in thick Goodyear Wrangler HP mud-and-snow rubber.’

Edmunds.com reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘Handling, as discussed, isn’t a Nitro strong point. Timid suspension tuning aside, the Nitro’s aggressive stability control system reins it in heavily through the slalom and around the skid pad. We found ourselves fighting the electronic limits far before the Nitro’s chassis had given up hope. In fact, its electronic limits are so low that even the conservatively tuned RAV4, which is also electronically limited, bested it in both our handling tests.’

Jalopnik reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘As ungainly as it is, I like the way the Nitro looks. The high belt line and gun-slit windows scream “Don’t look at me while you’re looking at me.” The busy front is its worst side, but at least the hodgepodge of tough-guy cues is unique. The over-rendered wheel arches and acres of metal adorning the sides are the Nitro’s visual strong points, though I must admit to finding the rear of pleasant to look at. A feat, I should mention, that hasn’t been pulled off in an SUV since DCX shuttered the Cherokee. If you squint, you can see a Jeep lurking beneath. I even liked the 20″ chrome-a-tone wheels, as they caused another friend of mine to ask, “Is that a mini Hummer?” One more thing. Why “Nitro”? With looks like these, I would have called it the “Ram Wagon.”‘

Autobytel reviews the 2007 Dodge Nitro and writes – ‘We drove only the R/T model and were impressed with its ability to handle, given that it drives like such a straight up and down SUV. Corners brought out quite a bit of body lean, to be sure, but those 20-inchers kept the footing firm and the suspension kept everything real, though we’d characterize it as more comfort than sport. Inside the cabin, those big tires make a lot of noise on the highway, but overall it’s a quiet ride, and an improvement over other Dodge vehicles we’ve driven in terms of rattles and creaks.’

Published on February 22, 2007 in Dodge

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