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51 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everybody :)

Figured I'd might as well introduce myself and give a little story of why I'm here. Didn’t take a lot of pics of the truck itself, but this review says enough :)

My wife & I planned a trip to Ottawa/Montreal from Hamilton just before the holidays. I've known for awhile that the timing belt in our 2000 Neon needed to be replaced badly (about 30K past recommended change interval!) and that it needed an alignment badly. So I dropped it off at the dealer, who just happened to own a rental company as well. We originally wanted a Magnum R/T (we had a 300C last year, wanted to see how different the Magnum would be) but couldn't find a rental one any where. Ah well.

So my wife says "I'd like to try an SUV." Last year I did a quick search for an FX35 but quickly realized that was a lost cause for renting (although I found an FX45 for $1000 for 5 days....just a little steep for me right now). So this year we thought we'd try a Liberty. We both liked it in general and it was _much_ easier to find as the dealer-owned rental place had one.

So, dropped off the car, headed over the rental place. As we pulled in, I saw a black Nitro SLT sitting there. I asked "Is that just being returned?" The guy said "Yup". "Can I switch to the Nitro?" "Let's find out."

10 mins later I had a Nitro to rack up 1600kms (almost 1000 miles). The standard allowance was only 200kms/day. I asked if they could do more? (I was going for 6 days and knew that Google Maps clocked Hamilton to Montreal in at 1056kms return....1200kms would not be enough). The girl made a call, then told me we could have 300kms/day. Yeah! Damn good thing!

Although, the guy returning the Nitro had some rather serious problems with it. It seems that he was on business and crossing the boarder (Niagara Falls) and the border guards pulled him over and drilled him. "Why have you cross the border 4 times this month? Where are you going? Why is our dog going crazy inside your vehicle after we torn it apart?!!" He just told him it was his first time driving the truck and it's a rental. Boy are they touchy... sheesh.

Good thing we were just going to Montreal.

So, back home, pack up the truck and head off to meet my wife.
This is what she saw:

We actually were going to Barrie to stay the night, then take all back roads to Ottawa. What an awesome trip!

We saw amazing views
(Orillia, approx 7:30 am)

Saw very weird things (like shoes hanging from wires across a road....???)

and strange stone structures (found out they were lime kilns from way back) .

(click here because the image keeps getting screwed up when I upload it...ugh. )

The roads were extremely dry so I was wondering if I ever was going to get to use the 4x4 switch. Then we hit a road that wasn't quite gravel, but certainly covered enough to potentially make it slippery. So, being the cautious guy I am (ok, so it was a cheap excuse....sue me<G>) I switched it to 4x4 Locked mode.

Between the 4x4 mode and the ESP, I am glad as there was one point where I hit an 's' in the road just a wee bit too fast and the truck started to slide. Then it caught and we kept on going. WHEW! I think the ESP just saved that Nitro and my insurance policy premiums! Oh yea, us maybe too but we we're going _that_ fast (I am serious about that....just a slippery road spot).

So, my heart did eventually calm down and we enjoyed the back roads trip to Ottawa.

Onto Montreal. That was relatively uneventful but the feeling of sitting up nice and high with a decidedly commanding view of the road, I had this strange feeling come over me. It was like pure joy. It was strange. I had the 300C last year, that was a blast. I test drove the Charger R/T and Magnum R/T last year, and even a few months ago was allowed to mildly abuse a Top Banana Daytona Charger R/T (the salesman actually told me that if I couldn't whip the backend around on the dead-end street, he'll show me! He was cool), all of those cars gave me a pure rush of power.....but this feeling was different. It was like....calm and exciting at the same time.

That was when I decided that next year, I am buying one.
While in Montreal, I felt big and powerful. Like, "Don't get in this truck's way!". Heck, I even washed the truck 3 times over the 6 days we had it. (Don't tell my Neon! It hasn't been washed in a month!).

When I priced it out online in Ottawa(yeah, I couldn't wait 6 days to do it at home...), I was stunned, literally stunned to see that the topped out, all options, with towing package, only came to $36K (CDN)!

On the way back, my wife wanted to try it. I was quite reluctant but since it was only on the highway, I let her try. She liked it, and almost caused an accident when I told her about the cruise control indicator. She looked down too long, the truck started to veer left into another lane, she jerked it back, the truck is now swaying. I reached over and just grabbed the steering wheel to keep it straight. Whew. Eventually my heart slowed down again and I resisted the urge to tell her to "pull over and I'm driving."

Oh yeah, then an OPP (provincial police) pulled us over 20 mins later. Aparently the license plate sticker was renewed but not put on the truck. Well, the cop smiled and let us go as it obviously was nothing we could do about it but tell the rental people.

My wife eventually got the hang of driving it and liked it. I personally liked taking corners just a little quickly, letting the tail wag a bit before the ESP kicks in. That's kinda cool :Racing: Oh, and yeah, the tires spin easily on wet roads without ESP.....well...umm...I was told that...yeah, that's it...someone told me that it could happen. I would never abuse a rental that way...ahem...err...:shy:

Just about home and cruising in the fast lane when I get behind this stupid cavalier. He's barely doing the speed limit in the fast lane. So I pull right up behind him and wait. He doesn't move. How annoying. So I flash my high-beams. Still not moving. Ok, this is getting to me. Flash my high beams longer...still no getting out of my way. I should point out that there was lots of room for him to move out of my way but not quite enough for me to go around yet. So I turn my high beams on. The driver's punk friend gives me the finger! What I wouldn't have give for a bushbar on the front end of that Nitro! Stupid kid. I eventually am able to pass him. Geeze, what is it with dumb people just not getting the signal...especially kids these days.

My wife said when gets her next vehicle, she says she wants something smaller, like a CRV.

Me, I'm getting a Nitro.

*** Decided to add in required info :)

I love long rides. Lately my Neon doesn't cut it. Mostly because I'd modified the suspension (99 Neon R/T springs, Koni Adjustable struts...). Makes for great handling but the struts need to be replaced (leaked one of them, I suspect another too) and long drives are rather jarring. Actually, Hamilton streets are rather jarring to begin with :)

The Nitro felt way awesome for the long drive. We drove for hours at a time and not once did my back complain. Normally 3-4 hours and I'd have to stop and get out yet in the Nitro SLT, it felt just fine. There was no fatigue and I felt that I could drive hours more before having to stretch.

Noise levels? Well, that's a toughie. To me I didn't noticing anything that distracted me while cruising. I heard nothing out of the ordinary when on gravel roads but definitely heard the exhaust when I stepped on it a few times (Ok, more than a few....but who's counting? :D ) The exhaust wasn't terribly loud, just enough to let me know that the truck was enjoying itself.

The ride quality was obviously better than my Neon. Despite that, I felt at no time that there was a lack of quality. It's a truck. I read in many other reviews how 'harsh or jarring' the ride was but I didn't get that at all. Perhaps they were expecting too much from a 'toned-down Jeep'?

Steering and handling. I think the Nitro proved itself just fine. As mention briefly above, there was one time where I hit a curve in a gravel road just a weee bit too fast and between the ESP and Anti-Lock brakes, the Nitro came out of that hairy scenario without a hitch. I'm sure it was much less concerned about what could have happened than we were! That ditch got just a little too close for me. I could just picture the Nitro saying something to the effect of "<snort>, amature." Of course I would have felt better in the same situation in my Neon because I know exactly how it handles and the Nitro gave me a good lesson.

I might as well mention the stereo. I thought it was fine. Nothing overly fantastic like the 300C we rented the year before, just adequate to do the job. When I order my Nitro, I will be getting Satellite radio (whatever ever it will be called after the merger) as I'm getting real sick of commercials and every radio station playing a lame song when I'm driving at times. Between MP3s and Satellite radio, I'll be much happier.

So, those who are sitting on the fence, get your but over to and buy one!

Also check out (Auto Blog) He's doing a contest on Nitro reviews

234 Posts
consumer report

Has anybody read the recent Consumer Report Magazine? They weren't too nice to the Nitro! I don't understand??

I'm still hoping my SLT with Mygig will come soon

:Racing: read consumer report, if you went by what they said you would never buy a nitro, they are all wet, im on a trip now that going to total about 2500 miles, its been great, handles well, rides well, gas mph 21.8,
so far so good les:ura1:

Join!Resistance is futile
15,638 Posts
My Review

It will be short I am not much on typing .:) Mine ride is a SXT sunset orange, (soon to be named the Great Pumpkin) Not my first color choice but its growing on me. Coming off a Honda Element , the ride is better on the highway , much better acceleration no wind noise and stable. the engine is a little noisy but not bad ( but then I'm getting old and the hearing ain't so good anymore) but I do like the little throatiness in the exhaust) The seats are firm but good support ,a little high (no power adjust.) 4wd is good, not a lot of use but did well in a little 8 inch snow storm, the stability control seems good too. Interior plastics seem ok fit and finish I would call good. Headlights are not bad, high beam is not as good (HIDs hmm) Gas mileage is ok for the package you want economy get a Honda or Toyota ( ok its more of a commentary I am biased) as far as I am concerned over all its got the others in its class beat and Consumer reports can kiss my Pumpkin. Disclaimer: I have to admit I was and still am a AMC fan (Hornet X, Pacer ( no comments) Concord 2 Eagles 4wd and 2 AMC Jeeps so I am a glutton for punishment.:kngt:

Dodge Nitro Forum
9,544 Posts
consumers report

FYI...Heard on a Cops TV episode that shoes hanging from power lines was a sign of drug trafficing.
i have a 2007 slt with 20000ks, i think consumers report ar very kind, most recent trip to calf and back, heater quit altogether, trans (4sd auto) eratic shifts,on slight grade on freeway shifts from od to 2nd, chatters in revers.
poor headlights highbeam indicator so bright had to cover with tape.fuel millage poor. same as 2000explorer with v8 on same rout. it is good in the snow but no fun when the heater quite. and ther is more. cliff

4,968 Posts
and who in there right mind do you think would buy it. plus why should i loose 10000 dollars or more because a manufacturer do not live up to ther responsability, posible you have something to gain by hideing the truth mad as well:mad:
I don't know how many times we have to tell you, just because you are having troubles with your particular vehicle, doesn't mean everyone is or the vehicle is crap! I have no major problems with mine and I love it. I have nothing to hide and I don't work for Chrysler or any of their affiliates. I'm sorry your Nitro makes you so angry.
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