2009 Dodge Nitro

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15 CITY / 21 HWY
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What Changed for 2009:
  • Automatic transmission standard on all models
  • Stiffer rear axle shafts and revised suspension tuning for better handling
  • Retuned steering gear for improved steering
  • Reworked brakes for improved brake pedal feel
  • MyGIG hard-drive radio becomes UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS with navigation system
  • SXT model becomes SE
  • Minor package shuffling
Dodge introduced the Nitro, a midsize SUV, as a 2007 model. The Nitro shares its truck-like body-on-frame architecture with the Jeep Liberty. It has seating for 5 with two rows of seats, and offers two V-6 engines. With the rear seats folded, the Nitro has 65.2 cubic feet of cargo volume. The standard fold-flat front passenger seat allows for loading longer items. Nitro is also available with what Dodge calls its Load 'n Go floor. This sliding cargo floor extends over the rear bumper so you don't have to lean into the vehicle to place heavy objects inside. It is capable of holding up to 400 pounds.

For 2009, Dodge has given the Nitro stiffer rear axle shafts that the company says provide more precise, linear handling. Dodge says these axles team with retuned springs, shocks and anti-roll bars to improve handling, while a retuned steering valve gear improves steering. The brakes are also reworked with a retuned booster, low rollback calipers and a revised pedal ratio to improve feel, the company claims.

Model Lineup
The 2009 Dodge Nitro is offered in SE, SLT and R/T trim, each with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4-wheel drive (4WD). The 4WD system works part time and should not be driven on dry pavement, according to Dodge. Standard equipment on the SE includes cloth upholstery; fold-flat front passenger seat; air conditioning; tilt steering wheel; split-folding, reclining rear seat; power mirrors, windows and locks; remote keyless entry; AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; Sirius satellite radio; theft-deterrent system; roof rails; and P225/75R16 tires on steel wheels with wheel covers. The SLT adds stain-resistant 2-tone seat fabric; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; cruise control; 6-way power-adjustable driver's seat; heated exterior mirrors; chrome interior accents; Dodge's Load 'n Go cargo floor; electronic vehicle information center; auto-dimming rearview mirror; universal garage door opener; fog lights; and P235/65R17 tires on aluminum wheels. The top-line R/T has a firmer suspension, body-color exterior trim, and P245/50R20 tires on chromed aluminum wheels. Options include a sunroof; rear DVD entertainment system; leather upholstery; remote engine starting; trailer towing package; Dodge's UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link; premium audio; UConnect Tunes hard-drive radio; and UConnect GPS hard-drive radio with navigation system.

Two engine choices are offered in the 2009 Dodge Nitro. SE and SLT models have a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that makes 210 hp at 5200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. It comes with a 4-speed automatic transmission; the 6-speed manual transmission is dropped for 2009. The R/T model has a 4.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 260 hp at 6000 rpm and 265 lb.-ft. of torque at 4200 rpm. The 4.0-liter V-6 engine is paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine and 2WD; 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine and 4WD; 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway with the 4.0-liter V-6 engine and RWD; and 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway with the 4.0-liter engine and 4WD. Properly equipped, the Nitro can tow up to 5000 pounds, Dodge says.

The 2009 Dodge Nitro's standard safety equipment includes dual front air bags; head-protecting curtain side air bags; tire-pressure monitor; anti-lock brakes with brake assist; traction control; and electronic stability control with Trailer Sway Control. Rear park assist is optional.

The Dodge Nitro has earned 5-star ratings for the driver and front passenger in front-impact tests, as well as 5-star ratings for the driver and rear passenger in side-impact tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Nitro has also received a 3-star rollover resistance rating from the NHTSA. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Nitro earned a \"Good\" rating (the Institute's highest) for frontal offset crash protection, a \"Marginal\" rating for side-impact protection, and a \"Poor\" rating for rear crash protection.

On the 2009 Dodge Nitro, Trailer Sway Control monitors the vehicle's intended path. In adverse conditions, the system applies the brakes to slow the vehicle then uses the anti-lock brake system to apply braking power to one front wheel and get the vehicle back on course.

Dodge's MyGIG hard-drive radio changes its name to UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS for 2009. Both have a 6.5-inch touch screen and a 30-gigabyte hard drive (up from 20 gigs) to hold song and picture files. UConnect GPS adds Dodge's UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link, as well as a navigation system with voice control and real-time traffic information. Songs can be ripped to the hard drive directly from CDs or from a thumb drive plugged into a USB port.


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