USA Today: Another MPD Chrysler Hybrid SUV Review

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

We reported earlier on the gold standard in this genre: Scott Burgess' Aspen Hybrid review. Clearly, USA Today car reviewer James R. Healey suffers from the same truth-telling conundrum: how do you diss a hybrid, even if it's a ridiculous idea whose absurdity is only matched by its shoddy execution? You know there's trouble right from the headline: " Chrysler's hybrid SUVs pull in near front of pack." Near? What pack? The pack of hybrid SUVs? Yup. "What makes Chrysler models superior to GM's?" Healey asks. Talk about the wrong question. (The answer is price, apparently.) After that bogus comparo, Healey gets down to business, and it ain't good for ChryCo. "Starting from a dead stop was lazy unless you pushed hard on the throttle, thus undoing the fuel-economy benefits (but generating lots of fun from the willing and eager Hemi V-8). Once underway, the hybrid's switching among modes was accompanied by tiny jerks and shimmies… As with most hybrids [?], there's a shudder when the gas engine fires up to aid the electrics, but it was barely noticeable in the Durango. The bulky battery pack under the second-row seat was a hurdle for access to the third row." Oh, and "Quiet: But electric motor whines at low speed."

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • KixStart KixStart on Aug 09, 2008

    I have to wonder why they did this. Is it a cheap way to say, "Hey! We're green! We have a hybrid!" Does that get a checkmark in some corporate marketing box? That would be a colossal waste of time. Or do they think this will actually increase sales of the vehicle? Have they checked to see how well it's working for GM? OK... it's cheaper... but it's not as good, anyway.

  • Npbheights Npbheights on Aug 10, 2008

    Let the market sort it out. Free market supply and demand will sort this hybrid suv game out. Just play fair, no government handouts.

  • Starfsckers_inc Starfsckers_inc on Aug 10, 2008

    Aren't they shutting that plant down next year?

  • Carguy Carguy on Aug 11, 2008

    Regardless of the mpg increase, this vehicle is completely pointless in current market conditions. If you are a family on a budget and need towing and 7 seat capacity then you can get a less than two year old Durango for between $10-12K dollars. That is the core of the Durango problem - it is just not a very desirable vehicle regardless of which drivetrain its fitted with.