The Dodge Nitro concept car (2005)
Based on the Jeep Liberty but with substantially different looks, the Dodge Nitro concept would be the first mid-size SUV for Dodge (according to their press materials; but they used to call the Durango a mid-sized SUV). The Nitro's face features the chrome Dodge crosshair grille flanked by jewel-like rectangular headlamps. The hood carries distinctive character lines that relate directly to the front-end features. Eye-catching 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels convey a no-nonsense functional statement. Brushed silver vents positioned on each front fender and generously proportioned door handles add to the design.
The rear of the vehicle features an integrated trailer tow hitch, chrome dual exhaust tail pipes, and a brushed silver license plate visor. The roof is garnished with a satin silver and black-trimmed roof rack and crossbars that nest between integrated side rails.
The Dodge Nitro concept's spacious interior is both functional and flexible for people and cargo. Upon entry into the vehicle, chrome, silver and red accents have a dynamic presence throughout the interior. A three-pod, four-gauge instrument cluster with electroluminescent lighting featuring white gauges with red pointers is accented by silver bands, giving the interior a sense of technical precision. The vehicle's satin silver center console houses a DVD-based navigation radio with a seven-inch fixed LED screen. Control buttons, shifter knob, door handles, gauges, speakers and assist handles are also satin silver. The pedals are made of brushed aluminum with black rubber anti-slip inserts.
The seats are black leather with rugged bright red inserts. Black netting placed in the center of the head rests gives the vehicle a built-for-fun appeal. Assist handles are located in the back of the front driver and passenger seats to enable easy entry and exit. Front passenger and rear seats fold flat, allowing for ample cargo capacity.
The rear cargo floor is made of rugged-textured vinyl and is easy to clean. With the rear hatch open, the cargo floor slides rearward for easy and convenient loading and unloading of packages. Modular storage bins and a first-aid kit are located in the rear quarters of the vehicle.
The Dodge Nitro concept's estimated performance figures include a top speed of 108 mph, standing 1/4 mile at 16.9 seconds, and can go from 060 mph in 9.6 seconds (similar to the Chrysler PT Cruiser with stick-shift, or the Honda Civic EX). The engine is the same 3.7 liter V6 used by the Liberty, with 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. It also shares the 42RLE four-speed automatic and independent short-long arm front suspension and five link rear suspension system. At 4,115 pounds, the Nitro is a bit of a porker, partly due to its full time four wheel drive. Presumably the Nitro will be able to go offroad, as the Liberty can.
We hope you enjoy the following photos, which were provided by Dodge. Unfortunately, the production version lost much of the chrome surface, and carries the gray theme throughout.
Concept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.