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The 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid: Has America’s Back In The Hybrid Street Fight

Posted in auto industry, Car Photography, Chrysler, Dodge by Suzanne Denbow | August 12th, 2008 | 3 Responses |

Essentially a re-badged Dodge Durango, the Chrysler Aspen was first introduced in 2007 as the first SUV to ever wear the Chrysler wings. In 2009, Chrysler will break the mold again when the 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid hits showroom floors, adding another soldier to the ranks of American SUVs joining the fight against import hybrid invasion [ok, so maybe we’re editorializing a tad].

Borrowing heavily from the Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid, the Aspen Hybrid features Chrysler’s innovative Electronically Continuously Variable Transmission, powered by two electric motors and four fixed gears. Perfectly combining power and fuel efficiency, the Aspen Hybrid manages to maintain the full, famed power of its 5.7-L HEMI V8 engine while simultaneously boasting a 40% jump in fuel efficiency. Even with a total output of 385-hp and 380lb-ft of torque, the Aspen Hybrid still earns an EPA fuel rating of 18mpg city/19 hwy [a significant improvement over previous model years’ 13 city/18 hwy]. The noticeable boost in the Aspen Hybrid’s city rating can be directly attributed to Mode 1 of the Aspen Hybrid’s Two-Mode system and the 300V battery packs [automatically recharged by the vehicle’s regenerative braking system] stored beneath the second row seats. In Mode 1, when driving at speeds up to 30 mph, the vehicle is capable of running on 100% electrical energy [even when towing at the 6,000lb max capacity]. When speeds exceed 30mph, Mode 2 is automatically engaged and the HEMI’s full 8-cylinders are put to use.

While the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid isn’t quite as fuel efficient as some other hybrids on the market, we seriously doubt the Toyota Prius could tow your 24ft. Sea Ray Sundancer. Chrysler deserves major props for re-engineering one of its biggest vehicles to significantly improve fuel efficiency while authentically preserving its brute-force reputation. Bottom line: We love the idea of the Detroit 3 refusing to concede defeat on their home turf.

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3 Responses

  1. Geoff Scheusner says:

    I think “Aspen” is one of the worst names they could have come up with for an SUV. But the design of this vehicle is pretty awful anyway, so at least they didn’t waste it on something that looked good. (This thing looks more like a mini-van than anything) Say it in a sentence, “Hey honey, let’s take the ASPEN to dinner”….makes my skin crawl.

  2. Joe says:

    My biggest problem with “Aspen” is that it brings up images of a late 70’s Dodge Aspen (like the Volare) eco-junk. It doesn’t make me think of strapping on some skis and heading up the mountain.
    Anyway–It’s certainly not a minivan. Personally I like the truck, it’s no Denali, but IMO it’s better than an Expedition. Not sure if I could bring myself to write that check for a Chrysler, but it’s nicer than a Durango and we see them all over.
    Everyone is telling us that full size SUV’s are dead, but not for me. Large families need large vehicles. In another 12 to 18 months I’ll be out there looking and if gas is 4.50 or 5 by then it’s going to have to be something that gets better than 12 or 13 mpg like my Suburban does.

  3. austin waserman says:

    i own this car and every time look at it she screams pure luxury, one of the most beautiful cars ever created in a time of real ugly and cheaply made cars, she drips with chrome and drives beautifly, she looks nothing like a minivan cause i owned a mini van before this car, this car is one of the greatest and after this car i am officialy hooked on chrysler vehicles, the design of this car reminds me of my car i bought in the late 50’s it was a 1958 chrysler new yorker station wagon and the aspen reminds me of my baby back when cars had style, i think the aspen will go down in time as one of the most prettiest cars ever made, not the ugliest