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2009 Chrysler Aspen
2009 chrysler aspen
2009 Chrysler Aspen

2009 Chrysler Aspen

MSRP
$34,730 - $45,270
FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HWY)
13-20 / 19-22 mpg
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Expert Reviews

Edmunds.com

2009 Chrysler Aspen REVIEW

Truck-based chassis. Fifteen-mpg-combined fuel economy. Less passenger space than a big crossover. With all that's going against it, the 2009 Chrysler Aspen is looking like a lonely Neanderthal surrounded by smarter Homo sapiens. A new "two-mode" hybrid is a last-minute attempt to evolve for changing competition, but it seems unlikely to be enough to save this outdated SUV.The Aspen is essentially a Dodge Durango gussied up with more chrome and more features. But it remains a truck-based SUV, which means a body-on-frame design (rather than the increasingly more common carlike unit-body design of crossover SUVs) and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. This rugged construction does lend itself better to towing and off-roading. And its size -- bigger than a Ford Explorer but smaller than a GMC Yukon -- has typically been touted as an advantage as well. That body-on-frame construction also lends it a rough-and-tumble ride and a heavier curb weight that requires big-time engines that have big-time fuel consumption. Having said that, one of the Aspen's most impressive features is its optional "Hemi" engine. Packing 376 horsepower, the 5.7-liter V8 features cylinder deactivation technology, which helps return fuel economy no worse than that of the Aspen's smaller standard V8.For the best fuel economy, there is the new-for-2009 Chrysler Aspen HEV hybrid. Utilizing so-called "two-mode" hybrid technology co-developed by General Motors, BMW and the company formerly known as Daimler-Chrysler, this powertrain features a de-powered version of the 5.7-liter V8, plus a pair of potent electric motors and a trick transmission with variable gear ratios, which maximizes the efficiency of both power sources. The result is combined fuel economy of about 20 mpg, a 5-mpg increase over the regular 5.7-liter V8. Unfortunately, all that hybrid hardware jacks the Aspen's price up by $3,000 over the similarly equipped non-hybrid model.With all its chrome trim, the Aspen is fancied a budget competitor for full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus GX 470 and Lincoln Navigator. Given its smaller size and lower materials/build quality, though, it really isn't in their league. The Aspen is really just a flashier alternative to the Durango for those who need family space and the ability to tow heavy objects. If the latter isn't a priority, well-equipped crossovers like the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave and Ford Flex offer the same or more cargo capacity and better fuel economy. The Aspen HEV hybrid matches them in the last regard, but given its high price, any fuel savings are wiped out. In other words, we suggest looking elsewhere.
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