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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 379 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
    8.4/10

Not worth it

By on Friday, January 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 183,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

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

"I've had my 2007 nitro for 3 years now and the extent of repairs is mind blowing. Here is a list of things I've had to get fixed, or are still currently needing attention. Keep in mind, I'm ONLY listing items I've fixed in the last 3 months. 1. Water Pump 2. Rack n Pinion Steering 3. Windshield Wiper Fluid Holder 4. Passenger side automatic windows motor 5. I can't fill my vehicle up unless I'm holding the nozzle prepared to pull it out, something is wrong that causes the pump not to recognize it's full so gas goes everywhere! (This has happened at every gas station so it's not just the pump I'm using, it's something to do with the vehicle.) 6. AC/Heat decides when it wants to work & when it doesn't. I've had it checked several times, no solution. If it's below 35degrees, the heat won't work, if it's above 98 or so the AC won't work. 7. Transmission kicks constantly 8. BUMPY RIDE! Definitely not a vehicle any pregnant woman wants to ride in, I've had trucks that handle better. Yes, I've gotten new shocks, didn't help."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

my first suv and I liked it a lot

By on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 112,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Other then one tire continuously going low on pressure I like this car I felt safe in it. I did change the wide truck tires and a smaller touring car type tire and found the handling and the ride became much better"

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Feels like a jeep - love it!

By on Sunday, January 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "See review"

Cons: "See review"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Immediately loved driving this Nitro. Strong engine, handles excellent in the snow or ice, ride high (which I like). I get compliments on it everywhere I go. I've probably sold several just by the way I brag on it! Negatives I've noted: Bad visibility with outside mirrors - close to the window frame, so you don't see cars coming at some angles.Only gets 12-15 miles per gallon. Gas pedal is right next to engine "hump". On long trip, having my ankle at a bent angle begins to add strain to that right ankle. Gas pedal should be a few more inches away from the hump. Seems like a small item, but if you're behind the wheel for any length of time, it gets very uncomfortable."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

love my nitro

By on Sunday, December 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

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: "very sporty looks"

Cons: "none"

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

"Searched for awhile for my 2007 Nitro R/T i only wanted a orange one . i found one with 49k miles i love everything about this car . 4.0 engine and auto trans has plenty of power for colorado mountains."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

DON'T BUY!!!

By on Monday, November 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "Good looks"

Cons: "Seriously underpowered & awful gas mileage"

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

"Nice looking & good in snow (only whilst in 4WD)...underpowered, horrible gas mileage, tiny interior, heat is touch and go, windows leak"

11 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Good Road Trip

By on Thursday, November 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,188

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Spacious, Comfortable, Visible, Good visibility"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"We drove from south Texas to central PA and back in this vehicle with 5 people in it and all of our stuff. It was very comfortable, drove nicely and safely."

5 people out of 9 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

Buying this car?