Tech Review: 2007 Dodge Nitro
This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2011.
By Doug Newcomb of MSN Autos
I value a vehicle's performance prowess and style, but covering cutting-edge technology is my gig. With a 260-horsepower V6, and sport-tuned suspension, I was impressed with the 2007 Dodge Nitro R/T 4X2 when driving it on the twisting canyon roads that surround Los Angeles. So were the jaded locals, thanks to the small SUV's Electric Blue paint and 20-inch chrome wheels. But my time in the vehicle was to focus on MyGIG.
Hard Drivin' Tunes
Interestingly, you can copy files from a CD to the HDD while the vehicle is in motion, but not from a USB drive. And while transferring files is fairly quick either way, it seems longer because music is paused during the process. Plus, in any mode when the screen is folded down to insert a disc, the music also ceases.
It all sounded superb on the Infinity Premium sound system, which has one of the best-sounding subwoofers I've heard in an SUV. Even though the sub is installed in the back of the vehicle, its output was a powerful and cohesive part of the sound from the driver's seat. My only complaint was the lack of steering-wheel controls for the audio system.
The headphones offer two channels on which to receive audio. One channel tunes in audio from the DVD player, while the other can receive alternate sources: music from the HDD, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, FM or AM. In addition, the VES comes with an auxiliary RCA-type input (red and white for audio and yellow for video) so that a separate A/V source, such as a videogame console, can be added. A 115-volt/150-watt AC plug adjacent to the input provides juice for portables.
Swift Nav System
There's a "Where Am I Now" button that let me quickly pinpoint my location, but I didn't want to scroll through hundreds of hotels between LAX and my destination using a Point of Interest search of the vicinity. Inputting the name of the hotel by city and name also took way too long, so in order to beat rush hour I just took the route I knew without relying on the nav system.
The Traffic Message Channel provided by SIRIUS came in handy while navigating LA's congested roadways. It provides alerts in more than 75 major metropolitan areas, on everything from accidents to construction, and it can be set up to either give all messages for an area or those specific to a chosen route. It will also automatically adjust your route based on traffic information, or give you the choice to manually change it for each incident.
MyGIG: Great Capabilities at a Cost
Doug Newcomb has been writing about car electronics since 1988, as editor of Car Audio and Electronics, Car Stereo Review, Mobile Entertainment, Road & Track Road Gear and as a freelance writer. His new book, Car Audio for Dummies, is available from Wiley Publications. He lives in Hood River, Oregon.