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2007 Dodge Nitro mid-size SUV
Engines, transmissions, suspension, steering and brakes

Dodge Nitro R/T midsize SUV - front view.

Grille: body color on Nitro R/T (photo) or chrome on the Nitro and SLT.

APN,
8th February 2006.

The 2007 Dodge Nitro will be available in three models:

- Nitro (base),
- Nitro SLT,
- Nitro R/T.

Two V6 engine options will be available at first, before the addition of a diesel option for some markets (especially Europe). Transmissions will be three: the base Nitro comes with a standard six-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic. Nitro SLT gets a standard four-speed automatic while the Nitro R/T features a standard five-speed automatic.

All three U.S. models offer 4x2 (rear-wheel-drive) and 4x4 capability. For sportier handling, a new performance suspension is standard on the Dodge Nitro R/T and is an available option on the Nitro SLT.

3.7-liter SOHC V-6 - Standard on the Nitro (base) and Nitro SLT models, the 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine (90°, cast iron block, aluminium head, 2-valve per cylinder) produces 210 hp (157 kW) @ 5,200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm) @ 4,000 rpm.

Bore and stroke are 93.0 and 90.8 mm respectively (3700 cc), with a 9.6:1 compression ratio.

Specific output is a modest 56.75 hp per litre, with a similarly modest specific torque figure of 86.2 Nm per litre.

Chrysler says that refinements in the valve train and combustion chamber enhance low-speed torque while providing a smooth idle and minimal engine noise. An Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) system tailors throttle response to pedal movement based on operating conditions, and maintains a consistent vehicle speed on rolling grades when cruise control is active.

Preliminary fuel consumption (manual) is estimated at 18 U.S. mpg city (13.07 litres / 100 km), which allows for a theoretical 351 miles / 566 km autonomy with the 19.5 U.S. gal / 74-litre fuel tank, and 23 mpg on highway (10.23 l/100 km) with 449 miles / 723 km autonomy.

4.0-liter SOHC V-6 - The 4.0-liter SOHC V-6 (60°, all-aluminium, 4-valve per cylinder) is standard on the Nitro R/T model. It delivers 255 hp (190 kW) @ 5,800 rpm and 275 lb.-ft. torque (360 Nm) @ 4,000 rpm. It is an enhanced version of the 3.5-liter engine used in prior Chrysler Group vehicles. The engine provides more power and torque than the prior 3.5-liter with emphasis on low- and mid-range operation to meet the needs of the day-to-day driver.

Dodge Nitro R/T midsize SUV - side, driving view.

Two V6 engines at first, before the diesel joins in some markets.

Bore and stroke are 96 and 91 mm respectively (3952 cc), with a 10.3:1 compression ratio.

Specific output is better here, with 64.52 hp per litre (or 1000 cc), and specific torque is at 91.1 Nm per litre.

Preliminary fuel consumption (automatic) is estimated at 17 U.S. mpg city (13.84 litres / 100 km), which allows for a theoretical 331 miles / 534 km autonomy with the 19.5 U.S. gal / 74-litre fuel tank, and 21 mpg on highway (11.20 l/100 km) with 410 miles / 660 km autonomy.

For key markets outside North America (mainly Europe), the Dodge Nitro will be offered next year with a diesel engine.

Suspension - The Dodge Nitro features all-new independent front and five-link rear suspension.

The independent front suspension comes with upper and lower "A" arms, coil springs, low pressure gas-charged shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

The five-link rear suspension, includes a live axle, upper and lower trailing arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers.

Dodge Nitro midsize SUV - steering wheel.

Dodge Nitro midsize SUV - console with navigation system.

Dodge Nitro midsize SUV - console with Electronic Range Select (ERS) 5-speed automatic transmission.

Nitro SLT with automatic transmission and (middle) navigation system.

Performance-oriented drivers can order the new optional performance suspension available for the Nitro R/T and SLT models. Emphasis becomes on responsive, fun-to-drive handling accompanied by a firm ride. This system features a revised sway bar, springs, shocks, bushings and 20-inch tires and wheels for improved cornering and increased traction.

Steering - Effort, feel and response on the Nitro’s power assisted rack-and-pinion steering system is tuned to give precise control and positive feedback from the steering force exerted by the tires. The steering linkage design allows for a tighter turning circle, with a turning diameter (curb-to-curb) of 11.1m. Overall ratio is 17.36:1 with 3.42 steering turns (lock-to-lock).

Transmissions - The six-speed manual transmission is standard on the Dodge Nitro 4x2 and 4x4 models with the 3.7-liter V-6 engine. For smooth operation, first and second gears have triple-cone synchronization, the third and fourth gears feature double-cone and the fifth and sixth gears single-cone synchronization. The two-piece aluminium case with integrated clutch housing assures powertrain stiffness and low weight. The new first-gear ratios combined with six-speed step spread allows optimization of axle ratios for fuel economy and performance.

Transmission ratios for the six-speed manual are:
- 1st: 4.46
- 2nd: 2.61
- 3rd: 1.72
- 4th: 1.25
- 5th: 1.0
- 6th: 0.84
- Reverse: 4.06

The four-speed automatic transmission is optional on the Dodge Nitro and standard on the Nitro SLT. Line pressure within the transmission is based on demand for improved fuel efficiency.

Transmission ratios for the four-speed automatic are:
- 1st: 2.84
- 2nd: 1.57
- 3rd: 1.0
- 4th: 0.69
- Reverse: 2.21

The five-speed automatic transmission is mated to the 4.0-liter V-6 engine. It features Electronic Range Select (ERS) driver interactive shift control. The shifter provides fully-automated shifting when in the Drive position, or the driver can manually select each gear by simply moving the shifter left and right from the Drive position.

Transmission ratios for the five-speed automatic are:
- 1st: 3.59
- 2nd: 2.19
- 3rd: 1.41
- 4th: 1.0
- 5th: 0.83
- Reverse: 3.16

Dodge Nitro midsize SUV - bevelled tail lamps.

Bevelled tail lamps.

Drive systems- Nitro 4x4 versions feature a:

- standard part-time four-wheel drive system with the manual transmission (50/50 torque split between front and rear axle), or
- a full-time all-wheel drive system with automatic transmissions (48/52 torque split between front and rear axle).

With the part-time four-wheel drive system (with the manual transmission), two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive modes are electronically controlled by a switch in the center console which can be selected at any time.

The full-time all-wheel drive system (with automatic transmissions) does not have a 2WD mode and has no console switch.

Brakes - Four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes 9ABS) are standard on all Nitro versions, with larger rotors for better stopping and handling capability.

Front rotors have inverted hat construction (vent openings are on the outboard side of the rotor) to improve cooling compared to conventional inboard venting. This also helps to minimize high-temperature deformation for long-term smooth operation.

A Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) is standard on the Nitro. BTCS transfers torque from one wheel to another on the same axle when wheel slip conditions are detected.

Also standard on the Dodge Nitro is the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) which aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability in severe driving manoeuvres on any type of surface. Using signals from sensors throughout the vehicle, ESP determines the appropriate brake and throttle adjustments for directional stability of the vehicle.

For more information: General, Dimensional

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