A Buyer’s Guide to the 2011 Dodge Nitro

While the Nitro shares some typical crossover features with competitors like the Equinox and even Dodge’s own Journey and Jeep Liberty, what it doesn’t share is typical conservative styling. This boxy beauty (or beast, depending upon your point of view) is a visual class unto itself, and it’s not afraid to admit it with daring colors and bold exterior shaping. If you’re looking for something attention-grabbing and atypical, with the power and functionality of a regular crossover SUV, Nitro might be just the ticket.

Key Features

Remote keyless entry, power accessories, audio system with auxiliary input jack, and a unique slide-out cargo floor all come standard on this crossover utility vehicle. Optional trims Heat, Detonator, and Shock all add Bluetooth with streaming audio, a bigger engine, and an 8-speaker Infinity sound system.

Changes for 2011

20” wheels adorn the 2011 model year version and the Shock gets a sunroof and leather seating surfaces.

What We Like

The optional hard-drive based navigation and info system with voice operation is a big draw, as is the generously sized rear cabin. The sliding cargo floor holds 400 lbs. and adds significant convenience for loading and unloading. There are enough available tech toys to keep everyone happy, and the price tag won’t give you heart failure. Plus, let’s face it, it just plain feels cool to drive around in something that doesn’t blend in with every other kid – or car – on the block.

What Concerns Us

Because it’s built on the Jeep Liberty platform, the ride feels most like a truck. This makes for a nagging feeling that it could use a more powerful engine or a different transmission.

Available Models

  • Base model Heat gets a 3.7L V6 4-speed automatic with 235 lb.-ft. of torque, 210 HP, and 16/22 mpg for RWD, 15/21 mpg for 4WD.

  • Shock and Detonator variants are outfitted with a 4.0L V6 5-speed automatic with 265 lb.-ft. of torque, 260 HP, 16/21 mpg in both the RWD and 4WD versions.

Major Recalls

There were recalls issued in both July 2011 and November 2013, for an incorrectly installed steering column rivet and an electrical problem in the active head restraints. In both cases owners were notified and Dodge made a statement that they would fix the problems at no cost.

Common Issues

There have been several complaints of issues relating to the A/C blower motor, as well as battery and starting problems, and the engine light coming on (in some instances requiring an engine rebuild at low mileage).

Dodge Nitro 2011 Interior


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Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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