Review continues below
Handling could use
another turn of the ratchet.
don't put out enough thrust.
The new Dodge Nitro is
only the latest work of a company famous for producing 4x4s, but it will still
take its place in the firm’s history books. It’s the firm’s first ever mid-size
SUV, and the first Dodge SUV of any size destined for beyond the borders of theUSA and Canada.
entirely a clean-sheet design, but
a distant relative of the current Jeep Liberty. However the Nitro has grown
in some essential ways — it’s longer than the current
example — in which the new
Liberty will also grow
when it’s revamped after the 2007 model year. The next
Liberty will get a
low-range ratio and a tougher suspension befitting its badge, but this Nitro is
designed more for the on-road SUV crowd.
The Nitro goes on sale in the
U.S. later this year. As the
Liberty is, the
Nitro is aimed at domestic offerings such as the Ford Escape, Kia Sorento, and
Hyundai Santa Fe.
Three models make up the range. The SXT is the base vehicle
and comes with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission and a
210-hp V-6. The SLT adds trim but only comes with the four-speed automatic.
Rear-drive is standard, while four-wheel drive is optional on these. The
higher-performance R/T gets a 260-hp V-6 and a five-speed automatic, as well as
standard four-wheel drive.