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The Nitro is a strange beast; from a purely objective standpoint, it's a rebadged, somewhat reskinned version of the 2010 Jeep Liberty. From a practical standpoint, it's an old-style utility vehicle that aspires to be a car.
The Liberty is not known for terrific on-road prowess, and neither is the Nitro. The Nitro's ride is stiff, but its steering and handling doesn't deliver. The boxy packaging affords some good cargo configurations, and the Nitro is small and maneuverable enough for the city, yet performance is unremarkable. Acceleration isn't as quick as you'd expect from the standard 210-hp, 3.7-liter V-6; the 260-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 is adequate, though fuel economy is unimpressive in either case. What's more, with no low range and more vulnerable body cladding, this model isn't intended for off-roading.
The story doesn't get much better, as the Nitro's interior lacks refinement and the ride gets choppy at highway speeds while the steering requires constant corrections. Features are the only bright spot; a MyGIG entertainment system includes real-time traffic and music storage, while remote start, rear park assist, and a Bluetooth interface are available.
For more on the 2010 Dodge Nitro, visit our 2009 Dodge Nitro review, where you'll find photos, specs, and other related news.