Don’t Dodge the Nitro
The second instalment to the Dodge family in Australia is the Nitro, a mid-sized SUV with fresh and distinctive styling, which will definitely be turning heads on Australian roads.
Dodge have done well to produce a vehicle that oozes macho individuality that I’m sure will appeal to a broad range of buyers. Chrysler Group’s Australian managing director Gerry Jenkins agrees: “The Dodge Nitro has a wide range of potential customers ranging from mid-sized SUV buyers through to Falcon and Commodore owners looking for something different.”
To add to your purchasing experience, all Dodges, Nitro included, now come with 2 years full comprehensive insurance, courtesy of Daimler Chrysler financial services. Dodge is the first car maker in Australia to include this across their range of new vehicles.
The base model SX has a recommended retail of $36,990 and the SXT $39,990. SXT includes such upgrades as the 20 inch wheels, colour coded bumpers and the Chryslers YES Essentials® seat fabric. For another $2500 you can get a package which includes leather, seat heating, sunroof and an upgraded security system.
The tough look of the Nitro is courtesy of the bold crosshair grille, emblazoned with a three dimensional ram’s head and the rectangular headlamps which ramp themselves around the corners of Nitro. The flared wheel arches give the vehicle that confident looking stance, and in the range topper SXT model, cover the 20 inch platinum aluminium wheels and 16 inch on the SX.
Both the SX and SXT come standard with a 3.7 – litre SOHC V6 petrol engine with a four speed automatic transmission. Even though this engine is a little noisy at low speed, at cruising, you would have no idea you were driving an oiler. Fuel economy has a very respectable combined cycle of 9.4L/100kms.
Emblazoned on the back of Nitro is a 4 X 4 badge. The part-time 4 X 4 is only recommend to be used on really slippery surfaces, but even on loose gravel and pot-holed roads Nitro in 2 wheel mode copes with surprising ease.
Safety is looked after well with ABS, ESP and traction control, dual front and side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors and tyre pressure monitoring standard on both models.
Nitro has plenty of load space; the front passenger seat folds flat, which, coupled with the rear seat folded flat, means you can easily fit a 3 metre ladder in with ease. On the SXT model Dodge has what they call the “load n go cargo floor”, an ingenious sliding floor which slides 45cm rearward, allowing more convenient loading and unloading of packages which do not weigh any more than 181kgs. The SX comes standard with an easy to clean plastic reversible load floor, the reverse of which has a raised four sided tub, handy for transporting goods prone to spillage, i.e all those pot plants from Bunnings.
The dash of the Nitro, though better than the Caliber still has that plastic look with panels that do not quite align with each other. Get past this and you find a very well-appointed cabin. The audio system is compatible with MP3, CD, DVD and USB with the option of MyGIG™ Multimedia Infotainment System, which allows you to use touch screen or voice commands to control Nitro’s entertainment and communication technologies and includes a 20gig hard drive.
Good – great ride and looks
Bad – that plastic dash
Engine – 3.7-litre SOHC V6 petrol, 2.8-litre CRD Turbo diesel, Max power – 151kW@5200, 130kW@3800, Transmission – 4-speed auto, 5-speed auto, Fuel consumption – 12.1L/100kms, 9,4L/100kms.