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The 2005 Dodge Nitro concept car

Based on the Jeep Liberty but with substantially different looks, the Dodge Nitro concept was called the first mid-size SUV for Dodge, ignoring the Dodge Durango. The concept ended up looking very similar to the production car on the outside; mildly similar on the inside.

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The rear of the vehicle had dual tail pipes and a brushed silver license plate visor; the roof had a silver and black roof rack and crossbars between integrated side rails.

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The interior relied on chrome, silver, and red accents to break up the black plastic and leather. The instrument cluster used even electroluminescent lighting, and was alongside a DVD-based navigation radio with a seven-inch screen. Black netting was placed in the center of the head rests; front passenger and rear seats folded flat.

The rear cargo floor was made of rugged-textured vinyl. With the rear hatch open, the cargo floor slid rearward for easy and convenient loading and unloading of packages. Modular storage bins and a first-aid kit were placed in the rear quarters of the vehicle.

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The Dodge Nitro concept came with performance estimates - a top speed of 108 mph, standing 1/4 mile at 16.9 seconds, and 0—60 mph in 9.6 seconds (similar to the Chrysler PT Cruiser with stick-shift, or the Honda Civic EX).

The engine was the 3.7 liter V6 used by the Liberty, with 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. It shared the Liberty's 42RLE four-speed automatic and independent short-long arm front suspension and five link rear suspension system; the production car was retuned for better pavement performance. At 4,115 pounds, the Nitro was a bit of a porker.

The actual production Dodge NitroMain concept cars page.

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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.

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