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2008 Dodge Nitro

Overview
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2008 Dodge Nitro Review

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According to Dodge, the Nitro is the automaker's first midsize SUV. Just like its Durango big brother, however, the 2008 Dodge Nitro straddles a line between two segments, competing on some levels with vehicles from both the compact and midsize SUV categories. The Nitro's niche in the marketplace isn't defined by its measurements, though, but by its bold, unique styling.

You'll Like This Car If...

While the 2008 Dodge Nitro derives much of its appeal from its bold exterior styling, it still offers all the versatility of a typical compact/midsize SUV. Generous rear-seat legroom and a handy slide-out cargo floor help sweeten the deal.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Compared to its car-based crossover competitors, the Nitro's more truck-like roots involve ride and handling compromises. There is no four-cylinder or diesel engine in the lineup and fuel economy with the two available V6 engines is only marginal.

What's Significant About This Car?

New features for 2008 include an optional Trailer Sway Control System and Dodge's ParkSense Rear Park Assist.

Driving the Nitro

Driving Impressions Because the 2008 Dodge Nitro looks so good, is versatile and offers a compelling array of interior features, we found ourselves wishing it had been built from scratch. As it...

is, the Nitro's Jeep Liberty-derived architecture brings compromises that result in sacrifices in ride and handling. Opt for the 260-horsepower V6, five-speed automatic transmission and tighter suspension of the R/T model, though, and it's easier to overlook those shortcomings. In models equipped with the smaller V6 and four-speed automatic, we often found ourselves wishing for either more power or another gear or two.

MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment
This optional hard drive-based system includes navigation with real-time traffic information, MP3/WMA music and JPEG image uploading, a high-speed USB 2.0 port, auxiliary audio input, voice recognition, voice message recording and playback and Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone connectivity.

LOAD 'N GO Cargo Floor
For easier loading and unloading, the Nitro is available with a cargo floor that slides out 18 inches over the rear bumper and can hold up to 400 pounds. Beneath it is a four-inch deep storage bin good for storing jumper cables or hiding a laptop.

2008 Dodge Nitro Details
Interior

The Nitro's most novel interior feature is the available LOAD 'N GO cargo floor that slides out over the bumper for easier loading and unloading. Other features include reclining rear seatbacks and an available fold-flat passenger seat that makes it easier to haul longer cargo or work on a laptop computer (while parked, of course). In between the base cloth and available leather seating, Nitro offers an exceptionally durable and stain-resistant seat fabric dubbed YES Essentials. The interior styling is in line with that of recent Dodge vehicles and includes a perceptible amount of average-grade plastics.

Exterior

Without question, the 2008 Dodge Nitro's calling card is its distinctive, squared-off exterior styling. Included in the design is the familiar Dodge crosshair grille, a clamshell-style hood and decorative side vents. The top-level R/T model is distinguished in part by a body-color grille and standard 20-inch chrome wheels, while base SXT models get dark, unpainted bumper fascias, moldings and fender flares.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A base Dodge Nitro comes equipped with a 3.7-liter V6, six-speed manual transmission, AM/FM/CD sound system with an auxiliary input jack, air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, 115-volt power outlet, rear-window wiper/washer, cloth seats and 16-inch styled-steel wheels. Standard safety equipment includes front and front-side airbags, plus an electronic stability control system that includes rollover mitigation.

Optional Equipment

The highlight of the Nitro's optional equipment list is the comprehensive MyGIG navigation, entertainment and communication system (see Favorite Features). Other key options include a six-disc CD/DVD-Audio sound system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, premium speakers, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, ParkSense Rear Park Assist, sunroof, heated leather seating, 20-inch chrome wheels, premium cloth seating and an outward-sliding cargo floor.

Under the Hood

Under the hood]
{While most Nitros feature a 3.7-liter V6 matched with either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, the R/T gets an exclusive powertrain consisting of a 4.0-liter V6 and five-speed Auto Stick transmission. Each combination is available in rear- or four-wheel drive, with automatic-equipped vehicles featuring a full-time four-wheel-drive system and manual models getting a part-time four-wheel-drive system. While its nature-loving Jeep Liberty cousin offers a low-range transfer case, the Nitro features an available "performance" suspension. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.

3.7-liter V6
210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (RWD, manual), 16/22 (4WD, manual), 16/22 (RWD, automatic), 15/21 (4WD, automatic)

4.0-liter V6
260 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
265 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 (RWD), 15/20 (4WD)

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2008 Dodge Nitro Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 367 Ratings for the 2007 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.1/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    8.0/10
  • Comfort
    8.1/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Drives smooth, very dependable, great on ice/snow

By on Monday, August 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "drives smooth, great in bad weather"

Cons: "18 mpg"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Nitro as a program vehicle from a dealer. It had 16K miles in 2008. I have had no problems at all other than the heater core going out a couple months ago. It is great on ice & snow. I have received many compliments on the exterior & how smoothly it rides. I now have 95K miles & still going great!"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Very well built - great vehicle

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"May be the best vehicle I have every purchased. Great in snow and ice. Very solid. Get a lot of positive comments."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

One of a kind Custom Conversion and paint

By on Sunday, July 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Beautiful $9000 Custom paint and conversion. Base color is white with various shades of blue in custom paint."

Seriously the best car ever!

By on Monday, June 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this vehicle!!!!! I have never had any problems with it, it does amazing in the snow, the 4X4 works great. It is a very comfortable and quiet ride. It tows my 4 wheelers perfectly. I feel very safe in it. I like how I feel higher up than a sedan. It handles very well. I get about 19-20 mpg on the freeway and 16-17 mpg in the city. I do have a lead foot but, it is a V6 and a bigger car so don't expect to get 30 mpg. Overall I will keep this car forever. I would have a very hard time trading it in if I had too. I would recommend this to anyone!"

Just OK

By on Saturday, June 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 147,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Looks good"

Cons: "uncomfortable & cheaply made"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Wish I still had my PT Cruiser with 320000 miles but engine died & needed something fast with the same kind of hauling capabilities. The interior has plenty of room to haul all the big stuff like the PT (8ft 2x4's & trim), but the comfort sucks. The seats are really uncomfortable mostly because the head rests tilt so far forward my neck hurts driving it, also straining my back. As others have stated, all the plastic is cheap & keeps breaking, but they want a good bit of $$for replacements. Pass window works when it feels like it so stopped using it, roof rails broke and flop in the breeze making all sorts of noise, when traction control kicks in the radio shuts off/on. The power converter is nice, but wish it had a 3 prong for my laptop so I leave an adapter in the car & hope I don't fry it. I do all my own mechanics & should have looked at it more closely before I bought it, but on the 3.7L you need to be some kind of contortionist to change the oil filter. When I asked at the dealership how they do it, they told me to let them know when I figure it out. Other than that the engine is fairly easy to work on if you can get around the coolant reservoir."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

2008 Nitro

By on Thursday, May 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good on gas, remote start, power everything,sporty"

Cons: "Back gate is manual and there is no keyhole"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We bought the 5 passanger 2008 SLT Nitro brand new off the lot. It is a very dependable car, roomy and wide trunk space,it mostly sits in the garage now since its my weekend car. It tells me what it needs except for windshield wipers or lights are out. There are controls that are on steering wheel for volume or radio/cd control, personal setings inwhich you can select a multitude of settings & languages, lets you know mileage also how many miles intil you need to refuel etc also has satellite radio and multi cd player, has various buttons and notifications such as traction or tire pressure gauges (along with digital picture of the car where the issue is located), door ajar etc. I linked up 2 cell phones so its hands free blue tooth- the whole vehicle is easy to use,not leather which is what we wanted its so easy to wipe clean it still looks brand new, privacy tinted glass. Push start remote, power everything has sensors on the rear. I have had installed a new battery for the remote and for my Nitro,a brake light,new brakes and new tires installed and alignment but thats due to wear and tear. The gas is decent for a V6 it holds 17 gal we only use premium and 50 a week lasts plus a week, if we travel an hour out its uses roughly about a 1/4 tank at the 60-65 mph range. When using it to drive work day in and day out 5 days a week a little less than 1 hr a day with alot of stopping and going(due mostly to interstate driving on 85/385) according to gas prices about $3 a gal topped at $50-$55. The negative is the back gate it is manual so opening closing the gate is not electronic, it also has now worn there is no unlocking with a key or even a keyhole however just waiting for the parts to come in to the dealership so it can be fixed. Also there is no place for sunglasses other than console( which is deep and roomy)or the dash board. Its been at the beach, lake, downtown, updtown and in the burbs. The funny thing Several Young & other adults have asked me to sell it to them since its "cool or sporty", they would want to put rims and cruise or just use as is."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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