2011 Dodge Nitro Review

The 2011 Dodge Nitro offers little beyond its bold styling and high tow rating, and ranks near the bottom of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Good towing capacity for the class
  • Standard V6
  • Lackluster acceleration and handling
  • Low fuel economy for the class
  • Low-grade interior materials




Critics' Rating: 6.3
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 6.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 8.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Dodge Nitro Overview

When it was new, most reviewers agreed that other 2011 compact SUVs are better options than the Dodge Nitro. Though it has a good-for-the-class towing capacity, reviewers said the Nitro has a truck-like ride and sluggish acceleration, despite its two available V6 engines. They also said that the Nitro’s steering felt vague. The Nitro gets up to 16/22 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class.

When it was new, auto critics found that the Nitro had plenty of cargo space, but noted that the interior materials looked cheap. Still, test drivers liked the Nitro’s logically placed controls. The base Nitro comes with foglights, roof rails, keyless entry and a stereo with satellite radio and an auxiliary input. Optional equipment and higher trims include features like a sunroof, cruise control, Bluetooth, parking sensors, leather, heated seats, navigation and an upgraded stereo.

Auto critics said that the front seats offered plenty of legroom and comfort, but room in the back was cramped compared to the competition. Overall, reviewers recommended almost every other 2011 compact SUV more strongly than they recommended the Nitro.

See the full 2011 Dodge Nitro specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you’re drawn to the Nitro’s bold exterior styling, and want a more capable off-road SUV, consider the 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser. While the FJ Cruiser is pricier than the Nitro, its high safety scores make it well worth the additional money.

The redesigned 2011 Kia Sportage gets better fuel economy than the Nitro without sacrificing much performance, though it doesn’t have the Nitro’s V6 power. The Sportage also has outstanding safety scores.

Compare the Nitro to the FJ Cruiser and Sportage »

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