Adhering to a theme of explosive concept vehicle names initiated with Firepower, Dodge pulled the trigger on its latest show machine, the "Nitro." This anodized red concept reveals the Jeep Liberty-based Dodge sport/utility that launches in late 2006 as an '07 model. The exterior transformation brings flat surfaces and crisp lines to the Liberty profile, with the key distinguishing element being a downsized rendition of the macho Dodge crosshair grille. The Nitro's nose is much like the one on the youth-targeted 2002 M-80 pickup truck concept, including its Mercedes/Land Rover-like side vents in the upper fenders, below the A-pillar.
Conceived as a midsize alternative to the Durango SUV, the Nitro has a 3.7L/210-hp SOHC V-6 with 235 lb-ft of torque, full-time 4WD, and a four-speed automatic. Tiping the scales at 4115 lbs, the Nitro reportedly runs 0-60 mph in 9.6 seconds. It has a "Load and Slide" cargo floor, made of textured vinyl, that slides to the rear for easy loading and unloading, and modular storage bins and a first-aid kit. Though it looks pretty much production ready, we figure the concept name is as ephemeral as Chrysler's Firepower.