Tough-guy looks clothe a strong value package, but in V6 spec it’s no fun to drive
20 October 2006
Dodge Nitro 3.7 V6
What is it?
The new Dodge Nitro. But let’s get one thing clear: the Nitro we have here isn’t the one UK customers will be buying. Few people will choose a petrol V6 with a four-speed automatic when there’s a four-cylinder turbodiesel with a six-speed manual in the offing.

But the diesel – the latest incarnation of the four-pot 2.8 the Chrysler Group buys from VM Motori in Italy – won’t be around until next summer, so for now it’s the V6 only.

What's it like?
The engine - a 3.7-litre unit from the Jeep Cherokee – is anything but impressive. It sounds gritty and coarse whenever you rev it, and rev it you must, for despite some reasonable figures – 210bhp and 235lb ft of twist – it’s feeble and inflexible. The optional auto ’box (a six-speed manual will be standard) further exaggerates the problem, never quite making up its mind which gear to use.

Nor are there saving graces in the chassis. US-spec cars manage to have a ride that’s both bouncy and lumpy. Throw in vague steering and you’re disinclined to get bold in bends. The optional perfomance suspension kit cures things a bit, and is closer to the set-up that will be offered on European models, so there’s hope yet.

The Nitro is based on the next Jeep Cherokee, though its four-wheel-drive hardware is much less hardcore. On the road, drive goes to the rear wheels only, and it’s probably best to curtail your adventurous streak off-road.


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Should I buy one?
At just over 4.5 metres long, the Nitro provides plenty of room for five people and a decent boot. You’ll also get it all for a bargain price of less than £20,000, though the quality of fixtures and fittings does reflect this. If the chunky looks take your fancy, it's worth closer inspection – but only once the diesel version arrives.

Roger Stansfield

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week