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2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

2WD 4dr SE

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 22 MPG Highway

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  • $22,240 original MSRP
Printable Version

2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

Benefits of Driving a 2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

The Dodge Nitro is categorized as a mid-sized SUV and not as a crossover (sedan/SUV), yet its bold look and style is comparable to a Hummer and other truck-based vehicles. For buyers looking for an SUV that's an affordable workhorse, the Dodge Nitro has the overall strength and cargo room of larger vehicles yet has a price comparable to a small or midsize sedan.

What's new for 2009?

In its third model year, the 2009 Dodge Nitro remains basically the same as the 2008 models. A minor change, the Nitro is available in only two models: SE (replacing 2008's SXT model) and SLT. The sporty R/T is now considered an upgrade package for the SLT. A four-speed automatic transmission is now standard for the SE and SLT models and a five-speed automatic is standard with the R/T; no manual transmissions will be available for 2009. All models have revised suspension tuning and improved braking systems.

Model Strengths

  • Strong, aggressive exterior design
  • functional interior cargo space
  • lifetime warranty on improved powertrain
  • high safety ratings

Model Review

The most noticed feature of the Dodge Nitro is its strong, aggressive exterior design, one that suggests power and commands attention because of its sharp, square corners, prominent in-your-face grill and stylish yet confident use of steel, aluminum, simple colors and sharp geometric design. The Dodge Nitro has a unibody construction based on a platform it shares with the Jeep Liberty. Chrome tubular side steps and chrome fascia accents give the Nitro a very dominating look. Despite its size, the Dodge Nitro appears like a full-sized SUV, making it appear larger and more prominent than similar vehicles, like the Saturn VUE. Image-conscious buyers will appreciate the powerful look and style of the 2009 Dodge Nitro.

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2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

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2009 Dodge Nitro SE

Source: Carlist.com

Dodge's Nitro, the brand's first midsized SUV, features a macho, sharp-edged design. Since its debut in 2007, I have always wondered who would buy one. A Sunburst Orange Pearl Coat Nitro came my way from the press fleet, so I got a chance to find out. Well, as Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, surprise." I liked it.

Was it my need for a public demonstration of my manliness? Well, no. It was more about how the car drove and performed on a day-to-day basis. Essentially a Jeep Liberty in Dodge clothing, the Nitro, built in Toledo, Ohio, has a chunky, solid quality. This is what people bought SUVs for in the first place�off-road capability, a tall command-of-the-road driving position, and lots of cargo capacity. The Nitro's part-time four-wheel-drive system I can't say much about because I didn't need it. You select it with a center console switch. I sampled it once in a dirt area and it felt locked into place.

With its flat, upright windshield, shallow instrument panel, and tall, chair height seats, there's an old-fashioned feeling to the Nitro. It reminds me of the beloved original Jeep Cherokee, but there's nothing out-of-date in the way it actually works. The seats wore a sturdy, stain-repellent, odor-resistant orange cloth that matched the cheerful exterior. I regretted the lack of a left foot dead pedal (footrest), but quickly realized that sitting tall eliminated the need for it.

From that spot, I surveyed a carefully styled interior of modest materials�lots of slate gray plastic relieved by shiny trim sections. A three-pod gauge cluster pops up out of the horizontal, hard-edged instrument panel. A circle motif shows up in those gauges, and also the interior door handles and speakers, among other places. After a couple of days, everything felt right inside the Nitro�comfortable, familiar and easy to find, and I developed a fondness that I didn't see coming.

Two special features enhance cargo capacity. The front passenger seat folds down flat, so carrying long objects completely inside the car is easy. Out back, the Load �N Go cargo floor slides out 18 inches to accommodate up to 400 pounds of gear. This is a lifesaver for your back. The Nitro comes in three flavors�SE, SLT, and R/T. All wear the familiar Dodge crosshair grille with bold chrome ram's head logo. The entry-level SE gets 16-inch steel wheels, power folding mirrors, and some things you might not expect in the entry-level model, such as traction control, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The SLT gives you 17-inch wheels, a six-way power driver's seat, power and heated mirrors, chrome interior accents and some other goodies. The R/T adds a performance suspension, massive 20-inch wheels and tires and numerous exterior enhancements for maximum appeal. All models come with a 3.7-liter V6. This engine puts out a respectable 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque through a four-speed automatic transmission. The R/T offers an optional 4.0-liter, 260-horsepower V6 with 265 lb.-ft. of torque running through five gears. My tester had it, and there was no problem moving the 4,200-pound Nitro along briskly with it.

The EPA gives the Nitro mileage ratings of 16 City, 20 Highway with four-wheel drive, 16/21 with two-wheel drive. The car gets a decent 6 for Air Pollution in the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide, but a disappointing 3 (4wd) or 4 (2wd) for Greenhouse Gases. The Nitro is not the Sierra Club's fleet vehicle of choice. I loved the Nitro's navigation system. One day I entered a destination and was driving along when on the screen appeared this message: ROUTE IS BEING RECALCULATED DUE TO TRAFFIC INFORMATION.

This sophisticated feature helped me make better time by routing me a back way I hadn't considered using before, based on congestion on the usual route. A couple of days later, on a different road, the system again indicated an unexpected way to go. I was very tempted to ignore the directions, but decided that it had earned my respect. Once again, I saved a significant amount of time and aggravation. I just followed the directions, which appeared graphically and were spoken clearly by a pleasant female voice.

Nitros start at $22,985 for the SE, including destination charges. The SLT starts at $25,505 and the R/T at $28,480. My test vehicle, with a raft of extras, came to $33,355. There are concerns about Chrysler's viability now. Despite some historical quality lapses and two changes of ownership in recent years, the 85-year-old company is still building a lot of vehicles, and I'd hate to see it disappear. Chrysler is offering serious deals now, so you should be able to drive home a Nitro for much less than the prices in the previous paragraph.

Printable Version

2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Dodge Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2009 Dodge Nitro Sport Utility Crossover

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