LA Auto Show Report: Dodge Durango/Chrysler Aspen Hybrids

la auto show report dodge durango chrysler aspen hybrids

Chrysler has finally joined the hybrid party (symposia?) with the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hybrids. The slow-selling platform partners share the two-mode gas- electric hybrid system developed with partners BMW, Daimler and General Motors. On the surface it looks like Chrysler LLC is ready to give the tree huggers some love. As it turns out, the operative word is "some." Early in the unveiling at the LA Auto Show, Chrysler reps said the two-mode system would yield a 40 percent improvement in city mileage and 20 percent better highway mpgs. In practice, the extra batteries boost the TTAC Ten Worst-winning twins' expected mileage from 13/18 to 18/19. If Chrysler thinks that's the difference between sale/no sale, with a premium to pay to boot, they're kidding themselves. That said, the Durango Hybrid has the increasingly familiar HYBRID stencil across the bottom of the doors and the best hybrid gauge we've seen, nestled in that Lego plastic dash. This year's designer accoutrement?

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  • Lprocter1982 Lprocter1982 on Nov 15, 2007

    Chrysler's going to build these hybrids at the same plant that GM will use to build their million fuel cell cars in.

  • Thalter Thalter on Nov 15, 2007

    Why do all these hybrid SUVs have to use the largest available engine? I see that the hybrid Durango is only available with the HEMI engine, and GM's hybrid Tahoe/Yukon is only available with the 6.0L V8. If Chrysler were to use a V6 in their hybrid power train instead, they could at least crack the 20 MPG barrier. As it is, I can't see anyone paying a premium for a hybrid that still gets less than 20 MPG.

  • Donal Donal on Nov 15, 2007
    Why do all these hybrid SUVs have to use the largest available engine? I think there's a split in the market for vehicles. While a lot of the American middle class have stagnant wages and have been hit hard by rising costs of fuel and food, there seems to be a large upper middle class that is beating inflation. I stopped at Sheetz (a growing fuel & convenience chain) last weekend. I bought a diet Pepsi (I always feel like I should buy something after using the restroom) and the guy before me was paying for his MTO (made-to-order sandwich), big coffee and gas. The cashier said $95, and without batting an eye, he peeled out five twenties to pay her. MTOs aren't that expensive, so he probably bought 25 gallons at $3.19. I'd say he's part of the target market for these V8 SUV hybrids, but even he might get tired of carrying all that cash.

  • Windswords Windswords on Nov 15, 2007

    "Why do all these hybrid SUVs have to use the largest available engine? I see that the hybrid Durango is only available with the HEMI engine" It may be because the Hemi has the cylinder deactivation feature (MDS - Multi-Displacement System) and the V6 does not. However in a couple of years when the next gen "Phoenix" engines come out they too will have MDS. They will also be more fuel efficient, have better emmisions, be quieter, etc. They will also find there way into Mercedes products (of course they will never admit to it), as well as the new DSG trannys Chrysler is developing with Gertrag (that's why they still own about 20% of Chrysler LLC).

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