2007 Nitro New Car Test Drive
The 2007 Dodge Nitro is an all new mid-size SUV. Dodge redesigned the full-size Durango in 2004, and since then has been planning the Nitro, which is 22 inches shorter. There are many mid-size SUVs out there, and Dodge wanted the Nitro to be distinctive, in order to keep up its reputation for bold styling. The result is a very squared-off vehicle, with exaggerated fender flares.
The Nitro looks and feels larger than its size, with a high seating position that SUV owners like, and good cabin space. It features Load 'n' Go, a cargo storage system whereby the rear seats and front passenger seat fold totally flat in seconds; additionally, the cargo floor slides rearward out over the rear bumper, and can hold 400 pounds, making the loading of heavy objects much easier. It could prevent back injuries.
The Nitro comes in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, with a choice of V6 engines, one old and one new. The new 4.0-liter V6 is better than the old 3.7-liter, with 50 more horsepower and fuel economy that's only one or two miles per gallon less. However the 4.0-liter engine only comes in the top-of-the-line R/T model, which costs about $2700 more than the most popular SLT. But a five-speed automatic also comes with the R/T, and that transmission, too, is better than the standard four-speed in the SLT. The R/T has a more comfortable ride, as well.
There are three types of upholstery: basic cloth, a handsome stain-repellant cloth, and beautiful perforated leather. No matter which covering, the seats are very comfortable. The cabin is quiet thanks to heavy use of sound deadening material, and visibility out the rear and to the front corners of the Nitro is excellent.
For a base price of $19,225, a Nitro owner gets many safety features that are usually optional on other vehicles, such as front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, an electronic stability program with traction control and brake assist, electronic roll mitigation and a tire-pressure monitor.
The 2007 Dodge Nitro comes as three models, each with a choice of two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
re are three models of the new 2007 Dodge Nitro: the SXT in 2WD, $20,735 with part-time 4WD), SLT ($22,635 and $24,145) and R/T and with full-time 4WD); all prices plus $660 destination.
The SXT ($19,225) comes with a 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 and a choice of six-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic ($1000). The 4WD model ($20,735) uses a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Standard equipment includes cloth upholstery, air conditioning, remote entry with power windows and door locks, 115-volt power outlet, flat folding front passenger seat, 60/40 folding rear bench seat, AM/FM/CD with MP3 and six speakers, tilt steering column, traction control and brake assist, slate-colored molded front and rear fascias and fender flares, folding power mirrors, rear window washer/wiper, and 16-inch steel wheels.
The SLT ($22,635) and SLT 4WD ($24,145) come standard with the automatic. The SLT adds stain-resistant cloth seats, power six-way adjustable driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, Load 'n Go cargo storage system with tie-down rails, overhead console, cruise control, heated mirrors, compass, auto-dimming rearview mirror, vehicle information instrumentation, tinted windows, body-colored front and rear fascias and fender flares, and 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The R/T ($25,310) features a new 4.0-liter V6 making 260 horsepower, mated to a five-speed automatic. The R/T 4WD model ($26,970) has a full-time four-wheel-drive system. The R/T comes with a sports suspension with 20-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle tires. The R/T is equipped like the SLT, though it also has Sirius Satellite Radio.
Options for all three models include a power sunroof, foglamps, engine block heater, full-size spare tire, and trailer tow package. Full-time 4WD is an option on the part-time 4WD SXT and SLT models. Options for the SLT and R/T include leather upholstery, navigation system, remote start, hands-free phone, AM/FM/6CD/CD/DVD/MP3 sound system with eight speakers plus subwoofer. The optional MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System features navigation, audio, entertainment and communication wrapped into one, along with voice command and a 20-gigabyte hard drive to store music and photos.