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Dodge Nitro 2007 review

What's wrong with the compliment: “Nice car, mate”? I know too well that the youth of today would be acutely unaware of such delights as the music of Dire Straits, ice-cold Snips and the Dodge brand of motor car, the latter resurfacing in Australia last year after an absence of more than 30 years.

I know that beanies have evolved to be more than apparel to keep your head warm, that it is “cool” to have your jeans five sizes too big, and bling is for boys as much as it is for girls.

But am I expected to be so up with the times, so down with it, to appreciate the comment thrown to me from some young homeboys while I cruised Adelaide in a new Dodge Nitro?

“PHAT . . . that car is fully phat, mate . . . sick.”

It was followed by a mix of phrases from the wanna-be, pale-looking rappers, which included various combinations of the words; “fully-sick,” “smoke it up,” and “filth.”

While there was little chance of actually “smokin up” the 2.8-litre, common-rail-diesel, five-speed auto medium SUV, I did think the term “PHAT” suited the robust truck. Its flat-faced, crosshair grille-endowed nose says you mean business, and the square body sitting on 20-inch alloy wheels gives drivers and occupants a sense of presence.

But the rappers clearly were only appreciative of the look and knew little about the Nitro's performance and the points the Chrysler Group believes will help drive the Dodge brand forward with gusto.

Aesthetics of the Nitro appreciated by the cool set, I was somewhat surprised when a man of the cloth, a very car-clued Barossa minister, later stopped me in the street to discuss its performance values.

He was particularly keen on the towing capacity and tow ball weight limit of the diesel Nitro. A quick check of the specifications confirmed it to be 2270kg, (braked towing capacity) and adequate for his caravan towing needs.

The soft-roader will make a big impression on the city streets, there is no mistaking it for anything other than a Dodge.

It feels good on the road and is surprisingly more nimble than its imposing body suggests. Particularly impressive is its performance on dirt roads, although the eagerness of the ESP to kick in is a little annoying.

A sliding Load and Go boot top is practical, as is the hard plastic underfloor rear cargo bin.

The Nitro is nothing outstanding on the road, but it is a genuine, solid vehicle with its greatest asset being its distinctive looks.


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SX 3.7L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $7,499 – 9,950 2007 Dodge Nitro 2007 SX Pricing and Specs
SXT 3.7L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,995 – 10,990 2007 Dodge Nitro 2007 SXT Pricing and Specs
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