Surprising ride and handling
On the road, you can't expect the rear axle to soak up every road imperfection like a fully-independent suspension would. That's okay, you can live with that, especially since the ride is so predictable. That's where the Liberty DNA kicks in: the Nitro is so stable in corners you almost forget about the rear axle. While you have to keep in mind the vehicle's high center of gravity, the Nitro behaved like a civilized performer throughout my entire test week, even on some of the nastiest roads.
Yet, all is not perfect: the heavy weight of the vehicle is felt through the steering on winding roads and during emergency braking maneuvers. Of course, the Nitro remains a truck -- a real truck. Its 2,268-kg maximum towing capacity (nearly 300 kilos more than its own weight) says a lot about its rugged capability. This SUV can tow a trailer with disconcerting ease while never leaving doubts about its stability.
Whenever an automaker is set to introduce a new vehcile in an ultra-crowded segment, styling plays an instrumental part in the model's success. Dodge knew it; that's why designers borrowed a lot of aggressive design cues from the brand's other products. Save for the rear end treatment, which appears hastily executed, the Nitro boasts a striking retro-inspired look, especially the R/T model with body-colored grille, fascias, fender flares, front air dams and side mouldings.
Overall, the 2008 Dodge Nitro is a pleasant surprise. It will reward consumers looking for a distinctive, versatile, rugged, 4WD SUV with above-average towing capacity.
Load'n Go system
Autobox is eager to upshift
Tire size not recommended for winter driving
Auto journalist & Consumer Ratings
2008 Dodge Nitro 4WD Specifications
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