I bought a 2011 Dodge Nitro Heat 3.7 4x4 in January of 2011, and traded it in for a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in March of 2014. Over that time, I put $65,000 miles on the Nitro as I drove it extensively for work. I never had a single problem with the vehicle and never had it in the shop other than routine maintenance.
The Nitro was a cool SUV, but it was from a past decade. It just felt like a vehicle designed in the 90's that they had stored away and rolled out in the 2000's. The shifting was horrendously rough to the point where it felt like I ran something over when it would shift during acceleration. There was no 4 wheel low, and the 20" rims on a 4x4 SUV was a joke.
The Nitro has good looks, a great upright, high driving position, and is easy to see out of. For a clunky SUV it handled pretty good in tight spaces and had decent pickup on the highway.
Since they no longer make this vehicle, I cannot suggest improvements. If you're buying one used, look for the 4.0L engine as I understand it is more reliable than the 3.7. Also, try finding one with smaller rims. The original Goodyear Wrangler HP's where awful in wet conditions and snow. When I upgraded to Pirelli Scorpions, it was like a completely new vehicle (in a good way). I was, however, limited in tire choices due to the odd size wheels. You cannot go bigger as they won't fit in the wheel wells, so you're pretty much stuck with low profile street tires on a 4x4 SUV - makes zero sense. What also makes zero sense is no 4 wheel low, but what can you do ... still a fun little SUV.
I bought my Nitro late in the year (Nov).
Enjoyed the ride and handling.
Reminded me of my 2000 Pathfinder that I miss tremendously.
I put over 200k miles on that car in 7 years and never had any issues at all.
So far with the Nitro I have 43k in 16 months (I drive 30k a year) and the check engine light comes on occassionally.
Not sure why.
A/C blower went out right at 36,500 when the warranty ran out.
Fortunately the dealership I bought it at fixed it w/o question.
At 14k the head gasket blew and was leaking oil like a faucet.
Still under warranty the dealership fixed it.
I'm still undecided whether I like the car or not.
Of course, the engine light is on again.
the ride, the handling.
The seats are fairly comfortable.
I like the looks.
There needs to be an air vent for the back seat.
You have to turn the a/c on high and the people in the front seat freeze while the passangers in the back are sweating.
Changing the spark plugs is not an easy task.
I like doing some of the minor maintenance, but the plugs are covered with a plastic piece that has to be unscrewed to access the plugs.
I'm sure that was designed to make a trip to the shop more desireable than doing it yourself.
Could have added an additional power outlet for the rear passangers.
we have been with the nitro since our new 2008 sxt that we recently lost in a house fire.This was my wifes baby. I didnt think we could find a replacement and after looking at other suvs nothing filled the void like a 2011 nitro heat.we love the vehicle.When I get the chance to drive it I enjoy the way it handles and rides.For us the 3.7 has plenty of power.And living in MN the 4wd is awesome in the winter.My wife loves to shop so the cargo space is great.With the rebates and incentives dodge was offering in november we got into the nitro under 20,000. A great deal for a 4wd suv
The one of a kind exterior.the 4wd and the 20 inch tires.The ride comfort is nice.And the new mineral grey color
This review is for my 2011 Nitro Heat 4.0 (a model that wasn't listed in your roll-down).
The Heat version is Chrysler's former "SXT" trim:
decent exterior trim but inexpensive (cloth) interior seating.
At model year's end, it was tough to locate a Heat with the rare 4.0 engine option (same engine that the old RT's had).
Apparently that's a little-known option on the Heats--even the salesperson was unaware of it.
You HAVE to get the 4.0 engine if you want great performance and gas mileage (better than the std. 3.7).
I just completed a 300 mile trip (with 400 miles on the odometer) and got over 22mpg at an avg 75mph.
The engine's quick off the line, the build quality is great, etc.
Great performance for an SUV
Excellent gas mileage (for an SUV)
Great seating and visibility
Excellent build quality
Move the cruise control area
Put a compass in the speedo area!
Power driver seat should be STANDARD!
Have same-color rocker panels and roof trim--not that flat black stuff!
This is the first Dodge I've owned since having a Dodge Daytona Shelby Z back in 1992. After experiencing all the problems with that car, I said I wouldn't own another Dodge. Well, I bought my 2011 Nitro Heat 4.0 on Aug 31st and so far, I'm very happy. I had been in the market for a 5 passenger SUV, and after growing tired of looking at all others with no real style or excitement, the Nitro, with it's large grill and huge 20" chrome wheels hit me like a breath of fresh air. I have to thank my wife for helping me find a car that makes me smile again.
Everything in the Nitro does what it's supposed to do. All of the instruments and controls are simple and easy to use. The sound system is great! I actually enjoy listening to music LOUD again. The power windows are fast. The mirrors are big. The visibility is excellent. The seats are comfortable. I've always preferred driving a standard over an automatic. The autostick is alot of fun and gives me some of that same enjoyment.
Unfortunately, the hard plastic interior parts give the inside of the vehicle a cheap feel. There's some squeaking when pushing various door-mounted and center console buttons. The vents require 2 separate controls to move them up and down and to the sides. The ride is a bit bumpy and the gas mileage is lower than I'd like.