NASREC, Johannesburg – Dodge Nitro is not another mid-size sport-utility vehicle with sleep-inducing styling. Instead, the bold styling and masculine swagger of Dodge is hot-wired into Nitro, inside and out.
The Dodge Nitro is not stuck on its handsome good looks. It’s also functional. Nitro’s spacious interior has room for five passengers, innovative cargo features, and the seating and storage flexibility to handle the needs of people and their gear.
The Dodge Nitro is not afraid to get frisky. The R/T model* — with its 3.7l SOHC V6 engine, performance suspension and 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and performance tyres — will have drivers using “sporty” and “SUV” in the same sentence.
With more than 25 safety and security technologies, the Dodge Nitro is no stranger to the importance of safety.
Nitro is not timid about using technology, either. In fact, it’s very intuitive. The Dodge Nitro is well-versed in digital entertainment and communication technologies, including MP3, CD, DVD, USB, VES (for Video Entertainment System), and a new one, MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System*. MyGIG allows customers to use touch screen or voice commands to control all of Nitro’s entertainment and communication technologies, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored.
Nitro is the first-ever mid-size sport-utility vehicle from Dodge, complementing the brand’s lineup, which also consists of the popular Caliber in the South African market. In addition to Dodge Nitro R/T, the other model offered in this market is the Dodge Nitro SXT.
Design – Exterior
The styling of the Dodge Nitro gives the mid-size SUV market something it hasn’t had since — well — forever: the bold, powerful, street-smart attitude of Dodge.
Dodge Nitro owes its masculine appearance to a number of elements: the signature Dodge crosshair grille with its three-dimensional ram’s head, headlamps that wrap the corners of the vehicle, prominent fender flares, substantial body size and high beltline. Above the grille, the imposing clamshell bonnet employs distinctive character lines that complement the front-end features. Large fender flares frame both sides of the Nitro for a wide track stance that conveys stability. Together, all these elements create a bold, fresh set of proportions that is unrivaled in the mid-size SUV market.
Even the exterior door-handles — black on all models — are brawny and have a solid, hefty feel. A deep, horizontal groove runs down the centre of each handle.
The wheels of the Nitro are imposing 20-inch chrome-clad wheels and tyres, fitted standard on the R/T, are pushed to the corners, reinforcing the performance and capability of the vehicle. Nitro is the only vehicle in its class with factory-fitted 20-inch wheels and tyres.
On Dodge Nitro SXT and R/T, the fender flares and fascias are body color for an upscale, monochromatic appearance. Additionally, on the R/T, Fog lamps are mounted in the fascia.
From the side of the vehicle the Dodge Nitro continues to flex its muscles. Crisp lines, a substantial body section and a high beltline give Nitro a brawny character.
The windshield pillars and beefy exterior mirrors were developed in the Chrysler Group wind tunnel to manage wind noise, provide effective water management and reduce drag for aerodynamics.
The roof of the Dodge Nitro has integrated black roof rack side rails that feature a massive and robust section. Optional Mopar crossbars nest between the integrated side rails, completing the functional aspect of the Dodge Nitro.
At the rear of the Dodge Nitro is a simple, one-piece tailgate. The fixed tailgate glass features the same beveled sheet metal details as the side glass. The spare tyre is located underneath the vehicle and helps to increase the interior cargo space.
Available exterior colors are Black Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Light Khaki Metallic Clear Coat, Stone White Clear Coat, Sunburst Orange Pearl Coat and Electric Blue Pearl Coat.
The interior of the Dodge Nitro is designed to be modern, simple and functional featuring supportive, comfortable and attractive seats.
The front seats feature wide inserts and heavy bolstering to provide comfort and security. The front passenger seat folds flat, increasing the already cavernous interior space. The reclining 60/40 split-folding rear seats accommodate fold-flat capability, yet still provide occupant comfort. The Dodge SXT is available with YES Essentials® cloth seats. This advanced fabric repels stains, controls odors and reduces static electricity. Leather seats can additionally be ordered as an optional extra.
The R/T models are available with leather heated seats. The front seats include the R/T logo on the seat backs and accent stitching on front and rear seats for a sporty look.
Dodge Nitro has a four-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel that has the heft and feel of larger vehicles. Across from this is its three-pod, four-gauge instrument panel in black with gray and white graphics and orange pointers, creating a look of technical precision.
Storage is plentiful. The centre console has room for hand-held PDA’s, cell phones or coins; there are driver and passenger-side door compartments; and a map pocket behind the driver’s seat. Black is used to accent the centre stack and centre console of the Dodge Nitro SXT. The door handles, HVAC controls and centre stack on the Nitro R/T model are bright silver.
The centre console storage bin, in addition to holding the mandatory CDs and DVDs, also features an additional top-mounted tray. The centre console provides space for hand-held PDA’s, cell phones or coins. There are bins on the driver and passenger-side doors, and a map pocket behind the driver’s seat. Both the front and second rows have a pair of cup holders.
The Dodge Nitro features two cargo floors. A reversible cargo floor with a built-in-tray, is standard on the Dodge Nitro SXT. Dual latches on either side of the floor release the panel for access to a deep storage bin beneath the lid.
A new innovation is the LOAD ’N GO™ cargo floor. LOAD ’N GO is ideal for loading and unloading packages and other items. The LOAD ’N GO floor travels 457 mm, extending over the rear bumper, and holds up to 180 kg. Beneath the sliding panel is a 102 mm deep storage area that can be used to house jumper cables, a laptop computer or utility items. LOAD ’N GO is standard on the Dodge Nitro R/T.
Powertrain and chassis options on the Dodge Nitro are tuned to provide customers with power, performance, controlled braking and handling, and a smooth, car-like ride.
The 3.7l SOHC V6 engine, with its 157 kW and 319 Nm of torque, provides the Dodge Nitro with a standard engine that is efficient, durable and smooth. The engine has been refined to enhance low-speed torque while providing a smooth idle and minimal engine noise. Plus, a new exhaust gas recirculation valve helps increase fuel economy. The 3.7l V6 is standard on the Dodge Nitro SXT and Dodge Nitro R/T models.
A 2.8l CRD engine producing 130 kW and 460 Nm of torque is optionally available on the Dodge Nitro SXT models with manual or automatic transmissions.
The Dodge Nitro features a new coil-spring independent front suspension and an all-new five-link, coil-spring rear suspension. Dodge Nitro SXT features 17-inch wheels and a sport suspension that delivers responsive handling with a comfortable ride
Three transmissions are offered on the Dodge Nitro: a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission on 2.8l CRD SXT and a four-speed automatic on 3.7l V6 SXT and 3.7l V6 R/T.
Nitro is available with switchable four-wheel-drive
Dodge Nitro was designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System (CDS), the comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new products
The Dodge Nitro features a part-time four-wheel drive system, ideal for inclement weather or unpaved roads.
Choice of Three Transmissions
Three transmissions are offered on the Dodge Nitro: a six-speed manual, a four-speed automatic and a five-speed automatic transmission.
The six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Dodge Nitro SXT with the 2.8l CRD engine. It provides optimal shift ability, improved quietness and high quality. The new first-gear ratios combined with six-speed step spread allows optimization of axle ratios for fuel economy and performance.
The four-speed automatic transmission is standard on the Dodge Nitro SXT and the Nitro R/T.
The five-speed automatic transmission is mated to the 2.8l CRD engine in the Dodge Nitro SXT. The five-speed transmission features Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver interactive shift control. The shifter provides fully-automated shifting when in the Drive position, or the driver can manually select each gear by simply moving the shifter left and right from the Drive position. This gives the driver control to precisely match any on-road driving requirement.
All-New Suspension Systems
The Dodge Nitro features an all-new coil-spring independent front suspension and an all-new five-link, coil-spring rear suspension. The independent front suspension gives the driver an optimum combination of ride, handling and steering, providing a greater sense of control and precision. The solid five-link rear suspension, including upper and lower trailing links and track bar, provides higher lateral stiffness for vehicle responsiveness and outstanding handling. Ample suspension wheel travel is provided to maintain consistent ride quality, especially when the vehicle is loaded or towing a trailer.
Performance-oriented drivers will revel in the all-new performance suspension packaged with 20-inch tyres and wheels on the Dodge Nitro R/T. Here the emphasis is on responsive, fun-to-drive handling accompanied by a firm ride. This system features a revised sway bar, springs, shocks and bushings.
Dodge Nitro SXT features a sport suspension that delivers responsive handling with a comfortable ride. This tuning offers a strong balance between ride comfort and nimble, confidence-inspiring handling. The sport suspension will appeal to a cross-section of buyers looking for comfort and solid on-road performance.
Effort, feel and response on the Nitro’s rack-and-pinion steering system are tuned for each available suspension and give the driver precise control and positive feedback from the steering force exerted by the tyres. The steering linkage design also allows for a tighter turning circle.
Safety and Security Features
Dodge Nitro has a full range of active and passive safety systems. Among the vehicle’s standard equipment are:
Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Advanced multi-stage air bags
All-speed Traction Control
Auto-reverse sun roof
Child Seat Anchor System
Child-protection rear door locks
Constant Force Retractors (CFR)
Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
Energy-absorbing steering column
Enhanced Accident Response System (EARS)
Height-adjustable front seat belts
Interior head-impact protection
Occupant Classification System (OCS)
Remote keyless entry
Sentry key engine immobiliser
Side occupant protection system
Supplemental side-curtain air bags
Tyre-pressure Monitoring (TPM)
UConnect® Hands-free Communication (Optional)
Exceptional Braking Capability
Four-wheel-disc, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard on the Dodge Nitro. The vehicle’s larger rotors contribute to excellent stopping and handling capability. All-speed Traction Control is standard on the Dodge Nitro and is engineered to transfer torque from one wheel to another on the same axle when wheel slip conditions are detected.
Also standard on the Dodge Nitro is Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe maneuvers on any type of surface. Using signals from sensors throughout the vehicle, ESP determines the appropriate brake and throttle adjustments.
Audio and Navigation Systems
The Dodge Nitro is available with nnovative MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System that has a built-in navigation, audio, entertainment and communication system. MyGIG allows customers to use touch screen or voice commands to control all of the features, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored.
An integrated music jukebox supports Gracenote music-file management to add song, artist and album information to the music files automatically. There’s space reserved on the hard drive for approximately 1 600 songs; that’s over 100 hours of music. There also is a voice-memo recorder feature.
The voice dialogue system recognises more than 100 000 words and is capable of learning and growing. The navigation has both 2-D and 3-D bird’s-eye views of roads and multiple route calculation. Maps and guidance are displayed on a motorised, flip-down 6.5-inch thin-film-transistor (TFT) display. The TFT screen uses active matrix for viewing from angles up to 180 degrees — perfect for the centre of an instrument panel.
Chrysler Group is the only company in the market offering completely integrated audio, navigation, entertainment and hands-free communication in one system, controlled through voice commands and utilising touch screen, with the capability of downloading photos and music to a hard drive from CD, DVD or USB memory device.
All three radio head units available in the Nitro feature a 3.5mm audio input jack for easy connection to an MP3 player. The base audio system offers 276 watts of power and includes six speakers, AM/FM stereo and CD playback. The Infinity Premium Sound system offers a total of nine speakers, which include two, 6.5-inch subwoofers in the rear doors.
The head unit in this system features an integrated six-disc CD/DVD changer and can also play back CDs with MP3 and WMA files. Loading the changer with discs full of MP3-formatted music will provide thousands of miles worth of music. It also includes an eight-channel amplifier producing 368 watts of power.
Video Entertainment System (VES)
The VES enables the rear passengers to enjoy movies, music and external audio/video devices such as video games and MP3 players. The system consists of an overhead-mounted DVD player with a 7-inch LCD screen, a battery-powered remote control and two wireless, multi-channel headsets. The system will play DVDs, WMAs, MP3s and audio and video CDs. Additionally, there are auxiliary input jacks on the faceplate to show video directly from a video camera, to play games from a video-game console and to listen to music directly from a portable MP3 player.
The video screen displays information in a split screen format. The left side of the screen is referred to as channel 1; the right side is referred to as channel 2. All modes except video modes are displayed in split screen format. When a video mode is selected it is displayed on the full screen. The remote control is designed to control either channel by the use of a selector switch on the control.
The headphones are designed to allow the user to listen to either channel by use of the selection switch located on the right ear cup. Using the dual channel wireless headphones, the VES allows rear passengers to listen to two different sources simultaneously. The audio from the VES can be heard through the vehicle’s speaker system, through the wireless headphones or both.
UConnect Hands-free Communication System
UConnect uses Bluetooth® technology to provide wireless communication between the customer’s compatible mobile phone and the vehicle’s on-board receiver. The UConnect control buttons are now integrated into the vehicle’s radio head unit.
UConnect features include:
Voice dialing — Voice commands may be used to digit-dial the phone or access pre-stored voice tags
Audio address book — Enables customers to store up to 32 names, four numbers per name, for a total of 128 phone numbers
Emergency calls and towing assistance — Dials emergency or towing assistance at customer voice command
Audio-system mute — With a press of the button, the microphone is muted for privacy
Call transfer — Allows the customer to transfer a call from the vehicle’s system to the mobile phone
Three language options — English, French and Spanish
Multi-phone recognition — Up to seven phones can be used within one vehicle’s system
Electronic Vehicle Information Control
An interactive digital display located in the instrument panel conveniently displays information and can be controlled by switches mounted on the steering column. The system allows the driver to select from a menu of useful information. Settings can be personalised for various functions, such as having the lights flash and hooter sound when locking and unlocking the vehicle using Remote Keyless Entry. There also is the ability to scroll through the compass/outside temperature, average fuel economy, distance to empty, trip elapsed time and tyre-pressure displays.
Dodge Nitro is built at the Toledo North Assembly Plant alongside the new Jeep Cherokee.
Aggressive car, aggressive pricing
Dodge Nitro in South African showrooms and is priced aggressively in this competitive market segment:
Dodge Nitro 3.7l SXT, four-speed automatic R324 900
Dodge Nitro 2.8l CRD SXT, six-speed manual R344 900
Dodge Nitro 2.8l CRD SXT, five-speed automatic R354 900
Dodge Nitro 3.7l R/T, four-speed automatic R354 900
Dodge Nitro 2.8l CRD, six-speed manual R304 900
All Chrysler group products come standard with a three year / 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan.