Dodge Nitro
Dodge Nitro

Supercar fans maybe lucky enough to see the odd Dodge Viper (SRT-10) fly by but until recently Dodge is a name that for most UK motorists is synonymous with US movies and television shows. With a US market share of 6 per cent, Dodge is Chrysler Group’s best-selling brand and the fifth best-selling brand in the US automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million (1,345,517) vehicles worldwide. The Dodge global portfolio includes a range of cars, trucks, minivans and sport-utility vehicles.

Introduced in September 2007 the Dodge Nitro is available in the UK in right-hand drive with petrol and diesel engines and in two trim levels: SE and SXT. Prices start at £18,995 for the base model through to £23,590 for the top the range 2.8 litre Diesel SXT and the 3.7 litre petrol SXT.

Jeep aficionados will be familiar with the engines as they are used throughout the Chrysler group.  The 3.7-litre SOHC V-6 petrol engine available in the range-topping Dodge Nitro SXT model produces 203 bhp (151 kW) at 5200 rpm and 314 Nm (232 lb.-ft.) of torque at 4000 rpm.  This engine is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission which is claimed to deliver class-competitive fuel economy. Acceleration to 62.5 mph takes 10.3 seconds and fuel consumption on the combined cycle is 23.3 mpg with the urban figure being quoted as 16.1 mpg.

The 3.7 litre petrol head inspired engine probably won’t be a popular choice in the UK, with most owners opting for the more frugal diesel power plant. The all-new 2.8-litre (2777cc four-cylinder) common-rail turbo diesel engine is the second-generation “Panther” CRD engine. It provides the entry-level Nitro 2.8 CRD SE manual with the best power, torque and acceleration (0-62 mph in 11.5 sec) among its key competitors.

The 2.8-litre CRD engine is available with a choice of six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic transmission. Maximum power is 174 bhp (130 KW) at 3800 rpm, and peak torque is 460 Nm (339 lb.-ft.) at 2000 rpm when mated to the automatic transmission. With the manual gearbox, this engine is tuned to produce 302 lb.-ft between 2000 and 2800 rpm. The quoted fuel economy is 32.8 mpg on the combined cycle (depending on model).

We drove the 2.8-litre diesel powered Dodge Nitro SXT coupled to the 5-speed automatic gearbox which takes 10.5 seconds to reach 62.5 mph and has a top speed of 113 mph.

We found the 2.8-litre CRD engine to be a little agricultural, noisy and intrusive especially from a cold start. The tiptronic style 5-speed automatic gearbox was easy to use, we would not describe the gear changes as seamless but it coped well and it was helpful to be able to manually change gear. Fuel consumption on the motorway was 30 mpg with urban use lowering this to the mid 25 mpg.

Published : 15/01/08 Author : Melanie Carter

Dodge Nitro News

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