DetN Burgess: Aspen HEMI Hybrid "Is a Fine SUV." Or Not.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
detn burgess aspen hemi hybrid is a fine suv or not

Detroit News scribe Scott Burgess is the gas-guzzling Dodge Challenger SRT-8's target demographic: a 50-something white car guy who never met a big-bore V8 he didn't like. As such, as a writer for Motown's hometown paper, Burgess can't just come out and call the new $46k Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid a deeply-misguided, over-priced, poorly-built piece of shit. Even though, clearly, it is. The resulting review is a study in inner conflict and rhetorical turmoil. (Or is that the other way around?) We're talking about a vehicle that gets a "???" on Burgess' report card. There's plenty of unintentional humor to be had here, as the reviewer plays good cop/bad cop with his own conscience. "This SUV handles like a bowl of Jello when going fast. The electric power steering is a little loose and the body rolls through turns heavily. I said it before: it's a big truck. The braking (which also helps recharge the batteries) is excellent, so I never found myself in too much trouble. There may be people who need this kind of vehicle, but the real problem is there are just not that many." And if you want insight into Detroit's chip-on-the-shoulder belligerence and product-related denial, well, here it is. "So before every hemp-wearing nut spills his green ice tea lemonade (no syrup) while in a hurry to send me a terse e-mail over his iPhone 3G about the evils of SUVs, let me tell you something: You're wrong. Americans may switch to smaller cars, but it's only because they have to; not because they want to." So now you know.

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4 of 22 comments
  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Aug 06, 2008

    One of the major network news programs is going to have a story about the "Death of the Suburbs". Should TTAC start a Death Watch for Suburbs?

  • Ryan Ryan on Aug 07, 2008

    DetN Burgess: Aspen HEMI Hybrid “Is a Fine SUV.” Or Not. Not... Just like 95% of the Chrysler line up it will continue to fail in sales numbers too.

  • SupaMan SupaMan on Aug 07, 2008
    Americans may switch to smaller cars, but it's only because they have to; not because they want to. Well, he is right on that point. If gas had still cost $2/gallon there'd be a lot more of these things around...with Detroit still getting fat off the profits but lets face it. Gas prices determine what (most) people drive, even if the vehicle in question is used for its more relevant purpose (I always questioned the purpose of an Escalade over a more reasonably priced Tahoe...but then again, it's the same reason why the Escalade exists...gas was cheap!). I for one, never saw myself in any of these vehicles (except when I eventually earn enough to get a boat, in which case a nicely equipped Frontier would suffice) but then again maybe I'm one of the few sensible ones. Disclaimer: I also see the Dodge Challenger [SRT-8] as a nice retirement gift.

  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Aug 07, 2008

    The hardest thing for me to believe is why hybrid up a load like this that is supposed to be discontinued at the end of '09. My understanding is that the Newark, DE plant (where this svelte beauty is built) closes at the end of the '09 with no follow-on product and there are no model replacement plans (thankfully) for Durango and its unwanted/unneeded sibling Aspen.