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2009 Dodge Nitro

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$3,244 — $12,328 USED
15
Photos
Sport Utility
5 Seats
18-19 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Tonka-tough styling
  • Strong performance (4.0-liter)
  • Reclining rear seats
  • Competitive towing capacity

The Bad

  • Trucklike ride quality
  • Small front footwells
  • Rear seats can't slide forward and back
  • Uncomfortable front seatbacks (leather seats)
2009 Dodge Nitro exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2009 Dodge Nitro
  • Side curtain airbags
  • Standard stability system
  • No manual transmission option
  • Optional Load 'N Go sliding cargo floor
  • Optional 20-inch chrome wheels
  • Optional navigation system can reroute to avoid traffic

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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2009 Dodge Nitro. It competes with the Nissa Xterra and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

Vehicle Overview
The Nitro, which is related to the Jeep Liberty, features Dodge's distinctive crosshair grille and comes in base SE, midlevel SLT and high-performance R/T versions. Nitro competitors include the Nissa Xterra and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

New for 2009
The Doge Nitro no longer has a manual transmission option. The brakes and suspension have been retuned in an effort to improve ride and handling performance.

Exterior
Stylists apparently were aiming at a burly image for this SUV, as the wheels, grille, hood and even door handles appear almost one size too large for the rest of the body. Sharp, angular lines give the vehicle a muscular, chiseled look.

While the Liberty and Nitro share some common underpinnings, Chrysler made the Nitro longer and wider to distinguish the pair. The Nitro comes in at 178.9 inches long and 73.1 inches wide. This is about the same as the Xterra, while the Grand Vitara (176 inches long and 71.3 inches wide) is smaller.

  • 16-inch steel wheels (SE)
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels (optional on SE)
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels (SLT)
  • 20-inch aluminum chrome-clad wheels (R/T)
  • Standard body-colored bumpers, moldings and (optional on the SE) fenders
  • Standard power foldaway mirrors (standard heated mirrors on SLT and R/T)
  • Optional sunroof


Interior
The Nitro seats five in two rows, and brushed-metal-look accents are used on the gearshift, door handles, climate controls and center console. The fold-flat rear bench is accompanied by a standard fold-flat front passen...
Vehicle Overview
The Nitro, which is related to the Jeep Liberty, features Dodge's distinctive crosshair grille and comes in base SE, midlevel SLT and high-performance R/T versions. Nitro competitors include the Nissa Xterra and Suzuki Grand Vitara.

New for 2009
The Doge Nitro no longer has a manual transmission option. The brakes and suspension have been retuned in an effort to improve ride and handling performance.

Exterior
Stylists apparently were aiming at a burly image for this SUV, as the wheels, grille, hood and even door handles appear almost one size too large for the rest of the body. Sharp, angular lines give the vehicle a muscular, chiseled look.

While the Liberty and Nitro share some common underpinnings, Chrysler made the Nitro longer and wider to distinguish the pair. The Nitro comes in at 178.9 inches long and 73.1 inches wide. This is about the same as the Xterra, while the Grand Vitara (176 inches long and 71.3 inches wide) is smaller.

  • 16-inch steel wheels (SE)
  • 16-inch aluminum wheels (optional on SE)
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels (SLT)
  • 20-inch aluminum chrome-clad wheels (R/T)
  • Standard body-colored bumpers, moldings and (optional on the SE) fenders
  • Standard power foldaway mirrors (standard heated mirrors on SLT and R/T)
  • Optional sunroof


Interior
The Nitro seats five in two rows, and brushed-metal-look accents are used on the gearshift, door handles, climate controls and center console. The fold-flat rear bench is accompanied by a standard fold-flat front passenger seat. The second-row seats also recline for added passenger comfort. The Load N' Go cargo floor (standard on the SLT and R/T) slides out 18 inches to help load and unload packages. The sliding cargo floor can hold 400 pounds and is made of heavy-duty plastic for easy cleaning. A reversible load floor is standard on SE models, and a compact utility table is optional.

The Nitro has 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear. With the backseat folded down that space increases to 65.2 cubic feet; this is nearly equal to the Xterra, but smaller than the Grand Vitara (68.9 cubic feet).

  • Available cloth, stain-resistant cloth and leather upholstery
  • Standard floormats and 12-volt power outlet
  • Standard leather-wrapped steering wheel (standard on SLT and R/T)
  • Optional rear entertainment system with gaming system and wireless headphones
  • Optional hands-free communication system and remote start
  • Optional voice-activated navigation and audio system (including touch-screen, voice commands, 30GB hard drive and navigation radio)


Under the Hood
Dodge offers a choice of engines and transmissions on the Nitro. There are two V-6s and two automatic transmissions offered (a manual transmission is no longer available). The suspension has an independent design up front and a five-link, solid-axle rear arrangement. As a performance driver would expect, the R/T version features firmer springs, shocks and other items to improve its cornering and traction. The Nitro can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

For 2009, the Nitro's larger V-6 gets a retuned exhaust note, and all Nitros get a stiffer rear axle shaft. The shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and steering have all been retuned, offering (along with the stiffer axle) an improved ride, Dodge says.

  • 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 with 235 pounds-feet of torque (SE and SLT)
  • 260-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 with 265 pounds-feet of torque (R/T)
  • Four-speed automatic transmission (SE and SLT)
  • Five-speed automatic transmission (R/T)
  • Rear- or part-time four-wheel drive
  • Trailer tow package with heavy-duty engine cooling, power-steering cooler, receiver hitch and connector, and full-size spare tire


Safety
Safety features include:

  • Standard dual-stage front airbags
  • Standard side curtain airbags
  • Standard antilock braking system
  • Standard traction control
  • Standard electronic stability system with rollover mitigation
  • Standard smart key that immobilizes the engine in a theft attempt
  • Optional parking assist that consists of a sonar-based warning system with audible and visual alerts


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.4
14 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.4)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(3.9)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(3.0)

Car was just ok

by Justjohn110 from Colorado springs, co on November 29, 2018

Car handled good gas mileage wasn't as good as advertised. Vehicle seemed under powered for its size. The one issue I really had was two this. One- the doorway was too small. Now I am not a tall ... Read full review

(5.0)

Very fun suv

by Nitrofan from Evansville on July 26, 2018

This car met all my needs until I family grew, very reliable vehicle both on the road and off. Would recommend this car to anyone, wish Dodge still made them Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2009 Dodge Nitro currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2009 Dodge Nitro has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Dodge

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    unlimietd months / unlimited distance

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2009 Nitro Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Nitro received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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