2007-2011 Dodge Nitro SUV
The "Dodge Liberty" was a heavy rear-drive SUV closely based on the 2008 Jeep Liberty
, differing mainly in suspension tuning (with fewer concessions to off-roading), comfort, and the availability of factory skid plates for the Liberty.
The Nitro was a bit more comfortable than the off-road-ready Liberty; the 2011 Nitro also gained some changes for better handling. The Dodge Nitro SUV was also longer than the Liberty, could tow 5,000 pounds, and had an optional sports suspension package (standard on the Nitro R/T and optional on the SLT). A sliding cargo floor, not sold on the Jeep, let owners slide out the cargo bay floor 18 inches for easier loading; it held up to 400 pounds. The Nitro also had a fold-flat front-row passenger seat.
The Nitro came with the same 3.7 liter V6
as the Liberty, but with an optional 4.0 liter V6
. Transmissions were a six-speed manual or an automatic (four speeds for the 3.7, five speeds for the 4.0).
The Nitro and 2008 Liberty were created at the same time, according to engineer Bob Sheaves; the Nitro came before the refreshed Liberty because a new tire-chain requirement for the Liberty caused some changes to its architecture (though the inner wheelhouse opening is the same on both SUVs. See the Nitro and Liberty being built in Toledo, Ohio.
The Dodge Nitro had an independent front suspension and a five-link rear suspension which had upper and lower trailing links and a track bar, for higher lateral stiffness. The performance suspension used a heavier sway bar, with different springs, shocks, and bushings, capped off by 20-inch wheels. Steering was rack-and-pinion.
Engines and transmissions
The standard 3.7-liter SOHC V-6
engine was good for 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque; compared with the prior year, it had an updated valve train and combustion chamber for better low-speed torque, idle smoothness, and noise control. Electronic Throttle Control (by-wire gas pedal) was used to work with the stability and traction control.
The optional 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 engine
delivered 255 hp and 265 lb.-ft. torque; in the 2010-11 Nitro, output rose to 260 hp at 6,000 rpm, while torque stayed constant.
The six-speed NSG (the former New Venture Gear) 370 manual transmission was standard with the 3.7; first and second gears had triple-cone synchronization, with dual-cone synch on the third and fourth gears and one cone on fifth and sixth gears. Gears were hard-finished; the shift system was a multi-rail unit. The two-piece aluminum case had an integrated clutch housing for better stiffness and lower weight. New first-gear ratios and a wider spread helped both economy and performance; the new ratios were 4.46, 2.61, 1.72, 1.25, 1.0, and 0.84 (reverse, 4.06). The axle ratio was 3.73:1 with this choice.
A four-speed 42RLE variable line pressure automatic transmission
was optional (standard on the SLT) with the 3.7 liter engine. Ratios were 2.84, 1.57, 1.0, and 0.69, with a reverse of 2.21. The axle ratio was again 3.73:1.
The Mercedes WA580 five-speed automatic transmission
was used with the 4-liter engine, and provided range selection (AutoStick). Its ratios were 3.59, 2.19, 1.41, 1.0, 0.83, and Reverse 3.16. The axle ratio with this one was 3.55:1.
The 4x4 system was part-time (MP143 GII case) with the manual transmission and full-time with automatics, controlled by a switch in the console. The torque split was 50/50 on the part-time system and 48/52 on the automatic, which had a planetary center differential.
Don Wagner wrote that the CRD Nitro (for Europe) centered the backup lights in the cluster instead of at the bottom; the front bumper was smoother. presumably to conform to pedestrian impact standards. There were side marker turn signal repeaters just aft of the front fender flares; and the VIN had an 8 in the year position.
Filip Norrgård provided the following figures and information for the Nitro diesel in Finland:
| ||Highway||EU Combined||City|| ||kW (hp)||Nm (lb-ft)|| ||0-100 km/h (62 mph)|
|130 @ 3800|