Jude Morte / Brent Co, Dodge Press Service | July 22, 2008 00:00
Brashness personifiedDodge's return to Philippine prominence came with the arrival of the Durango in 2005-2006. Sporting a large grill (with black slats and chrome outline), hulking exterior dimensions, a cavernous interior and grunt that can tow even a small car, the Durango served notice that the brand with the ram logo is back. But in order to sustain brand awareness – and make loud claims to it – a vehicle that REALLY shows the brand's unique selling points are needed.
Enter the Dodge Nitro.
Recently launched at the Chrysler Makati showroom along Chino Roces Avenue, the Nitro makes no bones about proclaiming that it's a Dodge. Yes, exterior styling is a key ingredient in every 21st-century Dodge, but the Nitro is especially showy about it. Whereas most compact and midsize SUVs are defined by soft, rounded forms, the Nitro has such a square jawline, a crosshair chrome grille and such exaggerated wheel flares you can't take your eyes off it, a major component of the Nitro's appeal.
A roomy interior is another reason you might consider this five-passenger SUV, and the Nitro's fold-flat seating and a 400lb. capable slide-out cargo floor (dubbed "Load 'n Go") make it particularly user-friendly as a light-duty hauler. For added cargo loading, fold-flat seats (including the front row) help accommodate bigger cargo. The Dodge's spaciousness is a product of its long 108.8-inch wheelbase, sharing a platform with the current Jeep Liberty but slightly larger overall. Toss in reclining second row backrests - plus Infinity audio entertainment that can rival the Bose audio pleasures in its Chrysler 300C 3.5L V6 relative, a flat dark grey-light gray interior color scheme and snug leather seats - and you have an inside ambience that screams urban relaxation.
Like the Liberty, the Nitro uses unibody construction, but has a live-axle rear suspension, dual-range four-wheel drive and a potent 3.7-liter that delivers 205 hp and 319 NM of torque. Fuel conscious yuppies also will be happy to know that there's an exhaust gas recirculation valve that increases fuel economy. Also, none of these attributes would be surprising if the Nitro were a focused off-roader, but in actuality, Dodge has tuned it for street duty. The availability of 20-inch chrome wheels (wrapped around fat Goodyear Eagle RS-A P245/50 102V series rubber) attests to this fact. The Nitro retails for a 1,980,000 pricetag.
If your priorities for a five-passenger SUV are simply one-of-a-kind style, decent interior room and a quiet ride with obvious flair, the Dodge Nitro would undoubtedly do the trick. "The Dodge Nitro increasingly personifies the bold, powerful, and street-smart attitude of the Dodge brand. We're very confident our customers will be awesomely delighted with the bold and daring Dodge Nitro experience," said Chrsyler South East Asia Pte. Ltd. managing director Peter MacKenzie during the Nitro launch.