Bright sun and dusty ground are hardly the conditions we expected while hiking the Hoh Rain Forest Trail in the Olympic National Forest in Washington state. It was “a fair hike through the scrub” to reach the area from our home base in Eugene, Oregon, so we appreciated the Nitro’s relatively fuel-efficient operating characteristics. And the smooth and stable way it handled the Takena helped make the trip a joy.
The Nitro’s smooth-running 3.7-liter V-6 is standard on the SLT level Nitro and is backed by a sturdy four-speed automatic transmission. The part-time 4WD system is engaged with the twist of a center-console knob. Coil springs provide the firm but comfortable ride and support a solid axle out back and independent suspension up front.
We were surrounded by safety features on this vehicle, including multistage front airbags, supplemental side airbags, an electronic stability program, all-speed traction control and four-wheel ABS.
Chalet RV is best known for its line of hardwall fold-down A-frame-style camping trailers. The Takena is the company’s entry in the traditional hard-wall trailer market.
The Takena’s 3,180-pound wet weight fell well short of the Nitro’s 5,000-pound tow rating, so we felt we had power to spare. Our fuel economy, at 10.2 mpg towing and 21.1 mpg solo, was as expected.
Chalet chose a popular small-trailer floorplan for the Takena model 1860, including a forward fixed-position bed with an overhead bunk, a curbside dinette opposing the galley, an enclosed streetside aft corner bath and a wardrobe and storage cabinets adjacent to the entry door.
Though compact, the Takena is big in all the right places. The enclosed bath, for example, is typically snug but functional.
Prepping for bed calls for some trading places and shuffling between the bath, stored clothing and bed, but once tucked in, it’s a nice place to snuggle and listen to the storm blustering outside.
Overall, this combo has “adventure” written all over it, and we’re ready to heed that siren song and hit the open road again soon.
Pick up the September 2007 issue of Trailer Life magazine for more info on the Dodge Nitro SLT & Chalet RV Takena — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so you can stay informed on the latest tests, previews, tow vehicles, and technical and RV-lifestyle information.
Takena Travel Trailers, (541) 791-4610, www.takenarv.com.