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.
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?
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.
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.