Used 2011 Dodge Nitro
Pros & Cons
- Considerable towing capacity, brawny image.
- Subpar gas mileage
- lackluster acceleration with either engine
- chintzy interior
- vague steering and trucklike handling.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2011 Dodge Nitro has a macho name and styling, but that's about where its appeal ends. Just about any other compact/midsize crossover SUV would be a wiser purchase.
When you've got the nerve to call yourself Nitro, you'd best be able to back it up. Though it shares its model name with a star from American Gladiators -- that TV show of the 1990s -- the 2011 Dodge Nitro sadly doesn't have what it takes to beat down its rivals among compact/midsize crossovers. Sure, the macho Nitro looks the part with its muscled-up styling, and it can be had with a powerful V6. But when put to the test, it falls short in several key areas.
Underneath the buff bod, the Nitro shares its platform with the Jeep Liberty. The Dodge is tuned more for on-road use and also offers a larger available V6 engine, but otherwise it differs little under the skin. The upsides of this shared DNA are a rugged part-time four-wheel-drive system and a hefty towing capacity. But the downsides are likely more significant for consumers shopping this segment, as they include poor fuel mileage, an unwelcoming interior and unimpressive handling dynamics. Although cargo space is generous and the controls are simple to operate, the cabin's subpar materials and build quality can't hold a pugil stick to what's seen in rivals such as the 2011 GMC Terrain, 2011 Mazda CX-7 and 2011 Subaru Forester. Furthermore, the Nitro's backseat is located very low, which makes for easy ingress and egress but negates the comfort otherwise provided by the ample legroom and reclining seatback.
If the 2011 Dodge Nitro were to compete in the Eliminator obstacle course from American Gladiators, it would probably get caught up in the cargo net and fall off the spinning cylinder. The competition actually provides the sort of performance that the Nitro's styling promises. And should serious off-road prowess be your priority, other macho SUVs such as the 2011 Nissan Xterra and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser are worth serious consideration. Despite its name, the Nitro fails to blow us away in any significant way.
Dodge Nitro models
The 2011 Dodge Nitro is a five-passenger SUV available in Heat, Detonator and Shock trim levels.
The Heat includes 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, foglamps, roof rails, deep tinted windows, keyless entry, full power accessories, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding and reclining rear seat and a six-speaker stereo with a CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The Popular Equipment Group adds cruise control, an outside-temperature gauge and a compass. A sunroof is a stand-alone option. There is also the available Heat 4.0 package that includes a bigger V6 engine, an upgraded nine-speaker audio system and Bluetooth connectivity.
The Detonator includes the stuff from the Popular Equipment Group and also has the more powerful engine, different 20-inch wheels, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, flashier exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel (includes audio controls), a six-way power driver seat, an upgraded instrument panel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and a nine-speaker stereo (with a subwoofer and a six-CD/DVD changer). The Nitro Shock trim adds different 20-inch wheels, a sunroof, leather upholstery and heated seats.
The Media Center upgrade package adds to the Detonator and Shock trim levels navigation, real-time traffic, a touchscreen interface and digital music storage. There is a Towing package available on all trims.
Performance & mpg
The Dodge Nitro Heat comes with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produces 210 horsepower and 237 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard. Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available, with the latter being a part-time system with high- and low-range gearing. EPA estimates are an underwhelming 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive and 16/20/17 with four-wheel drive. In performance testing, the virtually identical Jeep Liberty 4x4 went from zero to 60 mph in a lazy 9.5 seconds.
The Heat 4.0, Nitro Detonator and Shock come with a 4.0-liter V6 good for 260 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard and, again, one may choose between rear- and four-wheel drive. EPA estimates are a similarly poor 16/21/18 with rear-wheel drive and 15/21/17 with 4WD. In performance testing, a rear-drive Nitro with the 4.0-liter engine went from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds while a 4x4 model hit the target speed in 8.2 seconds.
Standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control and side curtain airbags. The stability control includes a trailer sway control feature. Rear parking sensors are standard on the Detonator and Shock.
The 2011 Dodge Nitro has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to new 2011 tests) were a top five-star rating in all frontal and side crash categories. Testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Nitro its top score of "Good" in the frontal-offset test and a second-worst "Marginal" in the side test.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Nitro with the optional 20-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet -- good performance for this type of vehicle.
With its aggressive styling and macho name, you'd think that the 2011 Dodge Nitro offered vigorous power and acceleration. Alas, even with the 4.0-liter V6, the Nitro is slower than a Toyota RAV4 V6. At highway speeds, the cabin is surprisingly quiet and the ride is comfortable for the most part, too. Handling has never been a Nitro strong suit compared to other small SUVs, and the steering is notably vague. Most competitors are better to drive and instill more confidence.
Inside, the Nitro has a somewhat industrial feel, though faux aluminum accents brighten the place up a bit. Materials quality is below average for this class, with several plastics standing out as unacceptably low-grade. An upright seating position provides a good view out the front, and liberal use of soft cushioning makes it easy to get comfortable. Legroom is ample for adults in the reclining backseat, though the bench is mounted too low for optimal comfort.
There are 32 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat, but the lift-over height is high for a compact/midsize SUV. With the rear seats folded, there are 65 cubic feet of cargo space available, about average for this class. The front passenger seat can also fold forward to aid in carrying long items.
|Overall||undefined / 5|
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Most helpful consumer reviews
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.
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.
I got my wife a 2011 nitro heat 3.7 with 55k miles about a year ago because we needed a little more room but didn't want to break the bank. She likes the smaller suv's and I've always liked the Tonka truck look of the nitro. My experience with dodge so far has been very good so decided to stick with it. The nitro is an old fashioned old school suv that feels like a truck, drives like a truck, and is tough like a truck. There's nothing fancy about this rig but it has it where it counts. We take it all over and have put on 20k miles in year without a single issue. What did surprise me was what the nitro could actually do. We're big out doors people and own a 4k+ pound 21+ ft travel trailer we take out a few times a year that we thought we were going to have to park for a while since I no longer have a truck to pull it with. Unbeknownst to me was the heavy duty 5 link suspension, heavy duty chasis, transmission cooler and 5k pound towing capacity of the nitro. Once I discovered that I quickly installed a hitch and brake controller ,due to our nitro not being equipped with the tow package, and we were ready for action. Well we recently took a week long trip where we towed our trailer from az to camp on beach in San diego and the nitro preformed flawlessly never even heating up anywhere, mountains include, along the way. We were looking for a small/mid affordable suv with unique looks and got a helluva lot more than we bargained for. It's not the suv for everyone as it has a stiff ride and modest mpg at best, but if you're looking for something that takes you back to the pick up truck feel of a few years ago, has unique styling and can tow mountains above its useless crossover counterparts, than the nitro might just be what you've been looking for.
Excellent value for mid-size SUV. I love my Bright Silver Nitro. It's stands out on the road. Comfortable vehicle. Plenty of room for my needs. Fun to drive.
Features & Specs
|Heat 4dr SUV 4WD|
3.7L 6cyl 4A
|MPG||15 city / 21 hwy|
|210 hp @ 5200 rpm|
|Heat 4dr SUV|
3.7L 6cyl 4A
|MPG||16 city / 22 hwy|
|210 hp @ 5200 rpm|
|Shock 4dr SUV 4WD|
4.0L 6cyl 5A
|MPG||16 city / 21 hwy|
|5-speed shiftable automatic|
|260 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|Detonator 4dr SUV 4WD|
4.0L 6cyl 5A
|MPG||16 city / 21 hwy|
|5-speed shiftable automatic|
|260 hp @ 6000 rpm|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
|Side Impact Test|
|Roof Strength Test|
|Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint|
|IIHS Small Overlap Front Test||Not Tested|
|Moderate Overlap Front Test|
Is the Dodge Nitro a good car?
Is the Dodge Nitro reliable?
Is the 2011 Dodge Nitro a good car?
How much should I pay for a 2011 Dodge Nitro?
The least-expensive 2011 Dodge Nitro is the 2011 Dodge Nitro SE Fleet 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $21,590.
Other versions include:
- Heat 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $23,995
- Heat 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $22,245
- Shock 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $28,995
- Detonator 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $27,995
- Detonator 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $26,245
- Shock 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A) which starts at $27,245
- SE Fleet 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $23,340
- SE Fleet 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $21,590
- SXT Fleet 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $23,235
- SXT Fleet 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A) which starts at $24,985
What are the different models of Dodge Nitro?
More about the 2011 Dodge Nitro
Used 2011 Dodge Nitro Overview
The Used 2011 Dodge Nitro is offered in the following submodels: Nitro SUV. Available styles include Heat 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Heat 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Shock 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Detonator 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Detonator 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), Shock 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), SE Fleet 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SE Fleet 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SXT Fleet 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A), and SXT Fleet 4dr SUV 4WD (3.7L 6cyl 4A).
What do people think of the 2011 Dodge Nitro?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2011 Dodge Nitro and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2011 Nitro 3.9 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2011 Nitro.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2011 Dodge Nitro and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2011 Nitro featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
What's a good price for a New 2011 Dodge Nitro?
Which 2011 Dodge Nitros are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Dodge Nitro for sale near. There are currently 2 new 2011 Nitros listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,258 and mileage as low as 88968 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2011 Dodge Nitro.
Can't find a new 2011 Dodge Nitros you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a new Dodge Nitro for sale - 12 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,574.
Find a new Dodge for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $21,151.
Why trust Edmunds?
Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.
Should I lease or buy a 2011 Dodge Nitro?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.
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