I have owned my vehicle since 2011. I liked the sporty look with all chrome exterior and leather heated seats. The first winter I used the heat control for my seats the side of the leather seats cracked. That was not good. I have had it in the shop twice for check engine light on. This resulted in a new catalytic converter and oxygenator replacement. The struts on the front make the ride a bit rough and shocks on the back. After 6 years I have replaced struts and shocks. The ride is smoother and more gas efficient about 20 to 22 mpg. Now it's time for new tires which is normal. Over all I like my car.
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.
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.