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Avg. Price Paid:$9,997 - $12,537
Original MSRP: $20,320 - $25,320
MPG: 18 City / 24 Hwy
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2008 Dodge Nitro Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Dodge Nitro was new.

The 2008 Dodge Nitro's interior is viewed by most as just adequate. Though it has some well-thought-out features, it's also full of low-grade materials. Automobile Magazine concludes, "The Nitro's interior may mean well (clever packaging and a convenient layout are its strong points), but it also feels cheap enough that you find yourself wondering how long things will hold together."

Kelley Blue Book adds, "The interior styling is in line with that of recent Dodge vehicles and includes a perceptible amount of average-grade plastics." On the plus side, the front seats and driving position are surprisingly comfortable for most reviewers and Edmunds finds the cabin "well insulated from wind noise." However, rear seat space is tight, and the steering wheel tilts but does not telescope, and most competing vehicles offer a telescoping steering wheel. A particularly well-liked feature is the cargo area, which boasts a slide-out tray that supports up to 400 pounds.

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Seating

Though it's often classified as a compact SUV, the Nitro's size puts it in between both the compact and midsize SUV classes. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that it's "slightly larger than the others in the compact class, but not as big as the key players in the midsize crossover segment, including the Edge, Highlander, Honda Pilot, Acadia and Saturn Outlook." Consequently, while most of the Nitro's larger competitors offer three rows of seating, the Dodge offers only space for five passengers.

The Nitro's driver's seat is well-liked, though some reviewers have concerns about the small footwell. Edmunds reports that "the Nitro's front seats are comfortable (read: soft) and provide an upright driving position (which we like)." Cars.com likes the SUV's tall height, commenting, "The driver gets a commanding view of the road." But the Detroit News points out a drawback: "impeded leg room for the front passenger because of the location of the transmission tunnel."

Standard on the SLT and R/T are Chrysler's "YES Essentials" cloth seats, which feature fabric that repels most ordinary stains, helps control odors and eliminates static electricity. The optional leather seats impress some, with Cars.com commenting: "The leather-trimmed bucket seats are surprisingly soft; you sink into them rather than sit on top. The upper section of the backrests hit my shoulder blades uncomfortably, but otherwise the Nitro's front seats are easy to live with. More annoying are the impossibly small front footwells and the lack of a footrest for the driver's left foot."

Rear seat comfort is more of a concern for reviewers. "The second-row seat is a little uncomfortable on long hauls," complains the Detroit News, "and feels too much like a picnic bench." The Chicago Tribune elaborates: "What's a little surprising is that, despite 4 inches more than Liberty, Nitro's second-row seats don't have a lot of wiggle room. Good comfort up front, good stowage capacity in back, but none of those 4 inches was devoted to the comfort of those in the rear seat."

Interior Features

Car and Driver calls the base SXT "modestly equipped." Notable standard features include air conditioning, reclining cloth seats, black dash trim and an auxiliary audio jack for an iPod. The SLT and R/T models offer significantly more features, including a silver dash and door trim and more options such as heated leather seats and a moonroof. The R/T comes optional with a sport red-and-black cloth interior. New options for 2008 include the Bluetooth-base UConnect cell phone interface.

Stereo and Entertainment

The 2007 Dodge Nitro base model includes a standard four-speaker AM/FM/CD Stereo with MP3 input. SLT and R/T models add steering-wheel mounted audio controls. An optional upgrade, the MyGiG navigation/audio system, captured the attention of many reviewers. The system stores up to 1,600 songs on a 20-gigabyte hard drive, offers navigation through a 6.5-inch screen that can also display photos, and even includes a USB port to allow easy multimedia uploads. It also recognizes voice commands, stores voice recordings and offers Bluetooth connectivity. The Washington Post calls MyGIG "the neatest, most useful infotainment system I've experienced in any car or truck at any price."

Cargo

Dodge engineers put considerable thought into the Nitro's cargo area, and though it isn't unusually large, most reviewers are still impressed with its functionality. The SUV has 32.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats -- which is the same as the Ford Edge but smaller than both the RAV4 and Honda CR-V, according to Cars.com.

Folding the rear seats brings the total space to 65.2 cubic feet and most consider folding the seats an easy process because it doesn't require the two rear head restraints to be removed. But what most impresses reviewers is Dodge's "Load 'n' Go" unique sliding load floor. "The floor can roll 18 inches, extends over the rear bumper and holds up to 400 pounds," explains the Detroit News. "This makes it easier to haul heavy items, such as air conditioners. Beneath the panel is a storage area that is big enough to hold a laptop computer or smaller items." There is even a power outlet inside the storage compartment. The Washington Post also loves the load floor, noting: "Using it relieves the strain of lifting heavy packages and wrestling them into place behind the rear seats. Simply pull the tray forward, lift your goods, put them on the tray, and shove it and your packages neatly into place. Bingo!"

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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