By on January 11, 2010

Dodge Nitro Detonator... don't ask why. Or what. Or how.

We’d heard that Dodge (“The Full-of-Life Brand”) would be re-working its trim levels in order to “take ‘base model’ out of the Dodge vocabulary,” as a company press release puts it.  So, they’ve changed the names of trim levels on some Dodge models. First off, note that only certain models get the trim level name change: Caravan will still be sold in SE and SXT trim, and Challenger will still come in the standard SE, R/T and SRT8 trims. Otherwise, each model has its own trim levels: Journey now comes in Express, Hero, Heat, Crew and Uptown trims, Nitro is available in Heat, Detonator and Shock, while Caliber comes in Express, Mainstreet, Heat, Uptown and Rush, while Avenger comes in Express and Heat trim. What the Foxtrot does it all mean? There’s no way we want to break it all down, so surf on over to Kicking Tires for the full breakdown. Needless to say, it’s yet a another marketing mess from the soon-to-be defunct bailout baby named Chrysler Group.

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34 Comments on “Figure Out Dodge’s New Trim Levels...”

  • avatar

    Shakespeare’s quote from R&J also applies here (however in reverse):  “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

    BTW, I like how the priciest of the line is called “Shock” …

    And, unless Gauss has recently been disproved, pretending there just ain’t no base model is delusional, and will persist until someone “discovers” that they are missing the “value market” end of the bell curve, and then the pendulum will swing the other way … this smacks of the worst of “smoke and mirrors” value packaging…

  • avatar

    Looks to me like they are wasting a lot of good names on trim levels.  Take some of those names and use them on new models.  Who wouldn’t want a Dodge Detonator!

    Seriously, they are going to need a heckuva scorecard.  Let’s see, do I want the Heat, the Nuclear or the Molten?  Geeez.

    • 0 avatar

      >Who wouldn’t want a Dodge Detonator!
      Dateline NBC definitely does.

    • 0 avatar

      With a name like “Detonator,” do you really need to say anything else?  Aren’t the future web posting writing themselves?  I had a Dodge Detonator once – it was my ’00 Caravan with the motor that went in four directions, all of them wrong!  (BTW, I am a disappointed Dodge boy).

  • avatar

    How about instead they just go with “medium”, “large”, “extra large”, and “grande”?

    I’ll take mine with pepperoni & extra cheese, thank you.

  • avatar

    This is worst then the normal lipstick on a pig, this is calling the pig a cat then putting lipstick on it.
    Heat sounds like cold weather version of the normal vehicle, as in this vehicle has “heat”. Seriously stupid Dodge.
    I remember back when Honda’s letters meant something. DX = Deluxe (bas model), Si = Sport Injected, LX = luxury, EX = Extra (fully loaded). You didn’t need a score card as it made some sense.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    When you’ve got nothing left to use for badge engineering, you can always go with decal engineering.

  • avatar

    Plain and simple
    The various trim levels (trim levels?) will have absolutely no impact on the downward trajectory of a once capable auto manufacturer.

  • avatar

    I am extremely disappointed that I can’t get a Dodge Grand Caravan Detonator or Shock.

    • 0 avatar

      Worry not!  My inside sources have the Dodge Grand Caravan Shock edition will come out in September as a 2011 model.  Apparently it is the same as the SXT, with the addition of wiring in the rear seats allowing the driver (parent) to give a relatively mild shock to the occupants of the rearward seats to support the disciplining process.
      No word yet on the rumors of a waterboarding edition.

    • 0 avatar

      You can get your waterboard in two flavours, small for the kiddies folds down out of the cavity that used to hold the integrated car seat, large for the surly teens folds up out of the cavity that used to hold the 3rd row seat.

  • avatar

    Where is the Nitro Dud and Misfire? The Journey Quixote? Seriously, this sounds like the output of an orientation-week exercise for new MBA students.

  • avatar

    (To the tune of “Yankee Doodle”)

    Yankee drivers want a car
    Made with no balony
    Not some import rattletrap
    From Sergio Macaroni

  • avatar

    These trim levels are no worse than the ones SAAB was using a few years ago. Arc, etc., etc.

  • avatar

    I dunno, “Detonator” brings up some Pinto imagery….

  • avatar

    Is the Detonator edition the one that comes with the automatic transmission?

  • avatar

    A race to the bottom to prove who knows less about brand management. General Motors once had the undisputed lead in this but The New Chrysler Corp. is putting forth a very credible challenge.

    To TNCC: This is the lifeblood of selling your products! What-in-the-hell are you thinking!!!


  • avatar

    Are they selling cars or under-arm deodorant?  Next I expect that they’ll do a special “AXE Edition”.

  • avatar

    Blah blah Titanic blah blah deck chairs blah blah re-arranging blah blah…
    Also, that combination of body colored B-pillar and blacked-out C-pillar looks stupid.

  • avatar

    I put my Nitro Detonator in the garage too close to my Avenger Heat, and next thing you know BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • avatar

    I’m not worried about Chrysler trim levels tonight.  I’ve just made arrangements for rebuilding my ’06 Dodge Dakota trans.  80K miles, with the servicing done at 30K and 60K.  I’ll never darken a Chrysler dealer’s door in this lifetime.  HELLO Tacoma!

    • 0 avatar

      I had a transmission cooler added to my 75,000 mile, 2003 Silverado at a transmission shop sometime back.  I heard one of the mechanics say “If this were a Dodge we would be putting in a new transmission at 75,000 miles, not a new transmission cooler”

  • avatar

    At first, I thought this was some sort of metacars goof. Just what are the differences are between a ‘Mainstreet’ and ‘Uptown’ Caliber?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz


  • avatar

    They didn’t just change “the names of trim levels” but, more significantly,  (and not reported here), was that they loaded up formerly optional equipment and cut the MSRP. Since they won’t have any new metal until the 300/Charger/Grand Cherokee debut (thank you Daimler/Cerebus) they are trying to create a compelling value story for their lame duck models. The use of descriptive names (Express, Heat, etc.,) instead of letter designations for trim levels is much more common in Europe. (Gee, I think Fiat might be a European company). The repackaged/priced trims are actually a good value if anyone would bother to check, for example, the Caliber Express is MSRP $17,510, with destination, and includes air, power windows, etc, formerly optional. Avenger Express is under $20,000 with destination and includes 17″ aluminum wheels, etc, formerly optional. That’s the major story here, but god forbid Chyrsler/Fiat should do anything without facing a tidal wave of criticism and ridicule.

  • avatar

    C’mon, seriously now, what was wrong with “Spring Special”? If they are actually upgrading the standard equipment, good on them, but the weird new series names have clearly stolen the attention from that.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t want any car that’s in “Heat”.  The last thing I need is having all the male dogs in the neighborhood coming over to hump it. 

  • avatar

    Is Detonator in reference to there dreadful transmissions that are almost guarenteed to detonate after the warranty runs out?

    Quote: HELLO Tacoma!
    You think the Tacoma is going to be trouble free? Just ask all the owners of recalled units with rusted out cracked frames, interiors falling apart, front ends that need to be completely rebuilt in under 60K miles and ever deteriorating Toyota quality. After seeing the issues some people at work are having with there Tacmoas I wouldn’t touch one of those with a 10 foot pole.

  • avatar

    nbpheights, I use 2 rams, a 2500 and 3500 dump truck for my roofing business, and they hold up well. I also use a 78 3/4 ton dodge for plowing my driveway, and my daily driver is an 07 1500 ram.
    Installing a cooler is easy, how much did the trans shop rip you off for? You can install one easily in about half an hour.

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