Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $9,500 – $21,000*


2007 Dodge Nitro


2007 Dodge Nitro


2007 Dodge Nitro


2007 Dodge Nitro

Pros:
  • Acceleration (R/T)
  • Cargo room
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort (front)
Cons:
  • Acceleration
  • Fuel economy

Though small for a midsize SUV, Nitro’s boxy design provides acceptable space for four adults and an impressive amount of cargo. Relatively tidy exterior dimensions take the hassle out of negotiating traffic and tight quarters. In reality, though, Nitro works best as a style statement, trailing such crossover SUVs as the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander for power, drivetrain refinement, and rear-seat accommodations.

Overview

Dodge essentially stretched a Jeep Liberty to create this new-for-2007 five-passenger midsize sport-utility vehicle, with a decidedly upright profile. Smaller than Dodge’s Durango, Nitro measured 4 inches longer overall than the Liberty. Dodge emphasized the Nitro’s youthful appeal, but potential rivals ranged from the Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot to the Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-7.

Nitros came in SXT, SLT, and R/T trim levels. SXT and SLT models had a 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 engine. R/Ts used a 255-hp, 4.0-liter V6. A six-speed manual transmission was standard in the SXT. A four-speed automatic was standard in the SLT and optional for base models. R/Ts used a five-speed automatic.

Nitros had standard rear-wheel drive. Manual-transmission versions could have part-time four-wheel drive that should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Models with automatic were available with all-wheel drive. Neither drive system included low-range gearing.

Antilock four-wheel disc brakes, an antiskid system, and curtain side airbags were standard on all Nitros. SLT and R/T models had Dodge’s Load ‘n Go cargo floor, which slid rearward 18 inches to form a table surface that held up to 400 pounds. Options included a navigation system, DVD entertainment, and a wireless cell phone link.

Yearly Updates

2008 Nitro
Nitros gained a Trailer Sway Control System and rear parking assist joined the option list.
2009 Nitro
Nitro got a revised suspension and braking system, and the manual transmission was discontinued. Newly available was Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, which could include a wireless cell-phone link, 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music and picture files, and a navigation system.
2010 Nitro
Nitro’s trim levels were renamed for 2010 to become Heat, mid-level Detonator, and top-end Shock.
2011 Nitro
The 2011 Dodge Nitro is largely unchanged.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Two engines have been available in Nitros. The 3.7-liter V6 mates with either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. R/T models hold a 4.0-liter V6 that generates 255 horsepower, teamed with a five-speed automatic. Manual-shift Nitros could have part-time four-wheel drive rather than the standard rear-drive. Automatic-transmission models may be equipped with all-wheel drive.

ohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/225
Engine HP 210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic
16/22
15/21
ohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/241
Engine HP 255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 275
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

15/20

17.0

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models with 4WD. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Only automatic-transmission Nitros have been tested. An SLT with automatic starts off capably, but labors in highway merging or passing, and it takes a deep stab at the throttle to coax a downshift. The R/T is stronger in every situation, possessing sufficient passing punch. A test 2WD R/T accelerated to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. Maximum towing capacity is 5000 pounds.

Fuel economy takes no prizes, though we’ve had no opportunity to measure with the 3.7-liter V6. A test 2WD R/T averaged 18.4 mpg in mostly highway driving. An AWD R/T averaged 17.0 mpg with more city work. The 3.7-liter V6 uses regular-grade gasoline. Chrysler recommends 89-octane for the 4.0 V6.

Test-drives have been limited to models with 17- or 20-inch tires, whereas the SXT rolls on 16-inch rubber. SLT models have 17-inch tires; R/T, 20s. Road imperfections are well absorbed in models tested, though the R/T is more prone to pattering over rough surfaces.

Responsive, nicely weighted steering gives Nitros a nimble feel. Well-controlled cornering lean enhances their sporty demeanor. The R/T’s sport suspension and 20-inch tires deliver appreciably sharper feel. Good overall brake feel was compromised on one test Nitro, which suffered inconsistent stopping action.

Wind noise is muted, even at highway speeds, despite the Nitro’s boxy profile. Tire ruckus is generally kept in check, but elevates markedly on unpaved surfaces-especially in the R/T. The 3.7 V6 is unobtrusive, but the 4.0-liter emits a ragged note under even gentle throttle applications.

Gauges are large and easy to read. Controls are simple, clearly marked, and logically positioned. Nitro cabins are finished in hard plastic. Unconvincing faux metal and most other trim cause Nitro to lag well behind class competitors.

Front riders enjoy fine legroom, but headspace is limited for taller occupants. High-set seats provide a commanding view of the road, though visibility is hindered somewhat by rather thick center and rear roof pillars.

Rear headroom and knee space are adequate for 6-footers. Underseat foot space also suffices. The split bench backseat is comfortable and fairly supportive, though the narrow cabin means three-abreast seating is best reserved for short jaunts.

Nitro’s large hatch opening and cubic shape make the most of available cargo space. The Load ‘n Go floor yields mixed results: it raises liftover height and has little effect on general loading and unloading, but does make a handy temporary table or tailgate seating surface. Cabin storage is limited to the narrow center console and modest-sized glovebox.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Nitro SLT w/4WD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 54

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.8 178.9 73.1 69.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
65.2 19.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.6 40.8 40.8 37.7
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 Dodge Nitro 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Door handles
Description: The rear door handles may not work on the outside or inside as the latch goes out of adjustment. (2007-08)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote start feature may not work intermittently and commands from the remote keyless entry may work intermittently on vehicles fitted with a remote start kit at the dealership. (2007)
Keyless entry
Description: The engine may not crank (nor start) and the remote keyless entry may not work due to a damaged wireless control module in the vehicle caused by static electricity discharge when the key is inserted into the ignition. (2007-08)
Manual transmission
Description: Manual transmission may pop out of gear and, if the boot is not causing the problem, the transmission’s first gear and synchronizers must be replaced. (2007-10)
Starter
Description: In dry conditions (winter) static discharge can damage the wireless control module causing intermittent no-crank or no-start. (2007-08)
Steering problems
Description: Steering may feel loose, not smooth enough or wander when changing lanes at highway speeds requiring numerous suspension parts be loosened and retightened. (2007)
Wheels
Description: Chrome clad wheels may make noise requiring the chrome parts to be glued to the wheels using silicone sealant. (2007)
Electrical problem
Description: The Hard Drive radio may lock up with only volume control function requiring reflash. (2007-10)
Transmission problems
Description: A metallic popping or clicking sound may be heard when shifting from drive to reverse, or reverse to drive and/or when the brakes are released due to a problem with the transmission output flange. (2007)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate when the temperature drops below 32-degrees F requiring installation of an improved throttle body. (2007-09)
Fueling problems
Description: The vehicle may be hard to fill because the nozzle shuts off repeatedly unless an improved fuel vapor tube is installed. (2007-09)

Recall History

2007 Nitro
Description: ABS control module software on some vehicles may cause rear brakes to lock up during certain braking conditions.
2007 Nitro
Description: Software for Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) on some vehicles may allow engine to stall under certain operating conditions.
2007 Nitro
Description: The software in the ABS electronic control module may allow a momentary delay in braking when coasting uphill during certain conditions, which may result in a crash without warning. Dealers will reprogram the ABS electronic control module with new software that prevents this condition.
2007 Nitro
Description: The windshield wiper system may experience a condition over time where high usage of the variable pause wiper function (“delay” mode) may eventually affect primary wiper function, rendering the wiper system inoperable. Inoperative wipers under inclement weather conditions could cause impaired visibility increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect and add external relays and update the totally integrated power module software to control the wiper functions.
2007-08 Nitro with manual transmission
Description: The park brake lever clutch drum may distort and reduce the effectiveness of the park brake system, which could allow the vehicle to roll unexpectedly and cause a crash.
2007-2008 Nitro
Description: Transfer case heat shield may rub and weaken the drive shaft, potentially causing it to break and fail. If the drive shaft breaks, it could strike the transfer case tunnel hard enough to deploy the airbags.
2010 Nitro
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an improperly formed or missing brake booster input rod retaining clip. This could result in brake failure without warning, which could cause a crash. Chrysler will replace the brake booster input rod retaining clip free of charge.
2010 Nitro
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an improperly formed master cylinder to hydraulic control unit (HCU) brake tube assembly end flare. This could lead to loss of brake fluid and reduced braking performance increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the brake tubes free of charge.
2011 Nitro
Description: Vehicles may have been built with a missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet. This could compromise the ability of the steering column to support the occupant loads in the event of a frontal crash, decreasing the effectiveness of the frontal impact safety system. As a result, the condition may increase the potential for injury in a frontal crash. Dealers will inspect for rivet presence and alignment and repair the steering column pivot as required, free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.