DodgeNitro

2011 Dodge Nitro Try it on for Size>

Now that the auto marketplace is chock-full of crossovers and utility vehicles of all shapes and sizes, it’s fairly accurate to say that there is an SUV that fits just about everyone. The folks at Dodge hope the 2011 Nitro is right for your fun-loving, go anywhere, haul anything, shop ‘til you drop lifestyle.

Although it’s on smaller side of the mid-size SUV class, it looks and feels plenty big — chunky with a wide and stable stance. The Nitro isn’t a very long vehicle, yet it provides a surprisingly generous cargo area. With the second row seats folded flat, the Nitro can swallow up 75.6 cubic feet of whatever it is you happen to be hauling from Lowes, Sears or Macy’s!

That space is user-friendly too, because the boxy Nitro has a low load floor that makes it easy to insert big heavy objects, boxes and toys. Even with the second row seats upright, you can stow 32 cubic feet of goodies and groceries.

The Nitro we tested featured a 4.0-liter V6 with 260 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque; that’s plenty raw muscle to push around this 4,000-pound SUV. It’s available in either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The Nitro also has decent towing capacity (up to 5,000 pounds) to pull the family boat or travel trailer. But the fuel economy is less than impressive; it’s EPA rated at 15 mpg for city driving and 21 mpg on the highway.

You can shop for three types of upholstery for your versatile and smart looking Nitro SUV: There’s the basic cloth, a more attractive stain resistant fabric, or the plush, perforated leather. All three choices add comfort this SUV’s quiet interior. The lack of engine and wind noise is attributable to Dodge’s generous use of sound absorbing insulation. So you and the gals can gossip freely on your way to the movie theater or happy hour without having to raise your voices.

This mid-size SUV does provide plenty of safety equipment, including curtain airbags for first and second row passengers, traction control, park assist, anti-lock brakes and tire pressure warning sensors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2011 Nitro five stars for front and side-impact crashes.

In a nutshell, the Nitro is stylish and functional. It offers a lot of what you want out of an SUV, and the price tag is reasonable, starting at about $22,245. Take a look at all the different trim levels, options and their prices by clicking here.