The Nitro Concept debuts at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 10, 2005, previewing a Dodge entry-level SUV to complement the larger Durango.
The Nitro went on sale in fall 2006 and was Dodge's first compact SUV since the Raider was dropped in 1990 and became the first modern Dodge vehicle to be sold in Europe.
Priced from $19,885, including shipping, it was offered in three trim levels, starting with the base SXT and up to the top-of-the-line R/T. Two engines — a 4.0-liter, 260-hp single-overhead-cam V-6 and a 3.7-liter, 210-hp V-6 — were available, along with three transmissions at launch: a six-speed manual and four- and five-speed automatics.
The Nitro shared a platform with the Jeep Liberty and was offered in both four-wheel and rear-wheel-drive. It was a rival to the Ford Escape, Nissan Xterra and Chevrolet Equinox.
Some notable features included Chrysler's MyGIG entertainment and navigation system — think an iPod in the instrument panel — and an available Load 'n Go cargo floor that slid in and out of the rear for easy loading and unloading of packages or tailgate parties.
With the introduction of the more fuel-efficient Journey crossover in 2007, the Nitro was dropped in 2011, ending a five-year model run, with U.S. sales of nearly 200,000 over time.