Dodge Nitro SLT 4X4 Review

The top one is the Dodge Nitro. The bottom one is a storm trooper from the Star Wars movies.

I mention it because the resemblance is about the only entertainment involved here.

The Nitro is that rare vehicle that feels about a full class size bigger (and more ponderous) than it looks.

Basically, what we have here is a Jeep Liberty that's been restyled more than your typical badge-engineering job.

Somehow, though, the Liberty, which is a compact-to-midsize SUV, ends up feeling more like a Hummer as the Nitro. Maybe it's because it's tall and narrow...maybe it's the slab-sides...maybe...well, who knows...it just does.

The Nitro's likely to be axed sooner or later in the restructuring of Chrysler (even before the implosion, Mopar was saying that only one, the Liberty or the Nitro, would survive come 2012 and the smart money is always on Jeep).

Base Price: $25,920.

Price as tested (with leather, heated front seats, parking assist, remote start, sunroof, uconnect, navigation and delivery charge): $31,380.

Upside: Five-star crash ratings front and side.

Downside: Only three stars for rollover.

Bigger downside: EPA estimate 15 city/21 highway. Good luck with that. I didn't get close.

UPDATE: Had another one (a 2010 model). Base price is down to $24,895. Total as tested: $29,305. The rest of the above applies. Fiat can't kill it quick enough.