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CHICAGO -- The Dodge Nitro is labeled a concept, but it shows how an SUV would be styled if it were to be developed on a Jeep platform. Such a vehicle is expected for 2006, industry sources say.

To create the Nitro, the Chrysler group took the Liberty platform and stretched the wheelbase by 4.0 inches. The resulting vehicle is 4.1 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the Liberty. The Nitro is 22.0 inches shorter than the Dodge Durango.

Styling draws on cues first seen on the Dodge M80 pickup concept introduced in 2002 at the Detroit auto show. While the M80 performed poorly in consumer clinics, an SUV version, called the M81, "got a lot of people's attention," says Trevor Creed, Chrysler group senior vice president for design. "So we think this is an ideal vehicle for the lineup."

One significant styling change between the Nitro and the M80 and M81 is the headlight treatment: Those vehicles "had round headlamps, and a lot of people said they looked more like a Jeep than a Dodge. So we changed to the rectangular design," says Creed.

The Nitro concept uses Chrysler group components, including a 210-hp, 3.7-liter V-6, four-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. While the vehicle is engineered for off-road use, Creed says it "doesn't have the extreme approach and departure angles that we have on a Jeep."

On the inside, the cargo floor behind the second seat is made of textured rubber for easy cleaning. When the rear cargo hatch is open, the floor slides rearward to ease loading and unloading packages and camp gear, or it can serve as a picnic table.

Source: Auto week
Looks a lot nicer than the new Durango. Surprised they didn't shove in a Hemi into the concept, but since it is a sibling to the smaller Jeep Liberty, i can see why. It'll most likely see production.

Pics from auto deadline.


Retired *********
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the Liberty platform
My g/f had a Jeep Liberty Renegade.

In the 12 months she owned it, it was in the shop for 5 months. Heck, the 4wd system broke the first time she tried to use it.

everybody > Chrysler
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