Bathed in Sunburst Orange Pearl, the chunky 2009 Dodge Nitro R/T 4X4 looks like a child's Tonka truck toy. Hop inside and the SUV's cabin also feels very toylike, with low-grade plastic trimming on every visible surface and a general cheapness to the feel of things that implies disposability.
On the road, the Nitro's 4.0-liter V-6 makes a lot of noise but doesn't seem to back it up with performance. Adding insult to injury, the R/T's "sport-tuned" suspension did a better job of tossing passengers around the cabin than it did of improving the vehicle's handling.
But in the center of this maelstrom of mediocrity is Dodge/Chrysler's fantastic UConnect media center, a hard-drive-based GPS navigation system that works so well, it seems out of place in a vehicle so overwhelmingly meh.