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The Chrysler Aspen was a revised Dodge Durango that took the gawky exterior and functional interior of that capable SUV and brought them several notches upscale. The interior was more luxurious in looks than those of Chrysler cars, while the exterior was more refined. The Hemi power, reliability, and big-truck capability remained built-in, making the Aspen an ideal vehicle for wealthy boat or trailer owners. The last Aspen was built in December 2008 at the Newark Assembly plant.
The 2009 model added an optional hybrid-electric powerplant, developed along with GM and BMW. The system, which also incorporated the standard Hemi multiple-displacement system, boosted gas mileage by about 25% - and a full 40% in the city. The full-size hybrid SUVs included an electrically variable transmission with two electric motors, two full hybrid modes of operation, and four fixed mechanical ger ratios. The Durango and Aspen was powered either by the electric motors or by the Hemi, or a combination of both. The electric motors were used for regenerative braking, greatly increasing city mileage, as well as power boosts. While the 2009 Aspen had a variable-cam Hemi good for 365 (or is it 356?) horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, the Aspen Hybrid got a 345 horsepower Hemi which, when combined with the motors, was good for an estimated 385 horses.
The 2009 Chrysler Aspen also got the new VCT Hemi, at 365 or 356 horsepower (Chrysler's materials reference both numbers in several places; we think it's 365) and 390 lb-ft of torque, as well as the hybrid system (see our review of the similar Aspen hybrid). Other changes included a new teal color, satellite video added to the rear-seat video, and a 30-gigabyte hard drive stereo option.
The last Chrysler Aspen was built in December 2008.
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen was the industry’s first full-size SUV to offer standard Trailer Sway Control technology to improve trailer stability and increase towing safety. It was more fuel-efficient and maneuverable than many full-sized SUVs, yet it featured more interior passenger space and cargo room, not to mention unmatched towing and hauling capability.
With a choice of two V-8 engines, including the 5.7-liter HEMI® with the fuel-saving Multi-displacement System (MDS), Chrysler Aspen provided best-in-class power and torque, while two four wheel drive systems were available (rear drive was standard). A hybrid was added in model-year 2009 for 40% better city-cycle mileage.
The Chrysler Aspen Limited model
came in two packages, "E" and "J," with a 4x2 and a 4x4 option in each package. Equipped with the fuel-saving MDS technology, prices for the
Limited packages were, on introduction: Limited 4x2 "E" package began at $31,490, with 4x4
at $34,265; The Limited 4x2 "J" package began at $36,905; and the MSRP on
the 4x4 "J" package was $39,225. All prices include a $675 destination
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen offers premium features including interior LED lighting, express-up windows, a full-screen navigation radio, heated first- and second-row seats, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. A new one-touch lane-change feature allows the driver to quickly activate a three-blink turn signal when changing lanes. Advanced safety and security features include Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), ParkSense™, Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) system and side-curtain air bags for all three rows.
The Hemi-powered Aspen and Durango hybrids, which appeared in the 2009 model year, benefit from both more power (385 horsepower) and increased gas mileage (a 25% overall gain, 40% in the city). Towing is rated at 6,000 pounds with a variable automatic transmission. The two-mode hybrid system uses the electric motors to let the HEMI V-8 to remain in four-cylinder mode more often.
Because it uses both high and low speed electric continuously variable transmission (ECVT) modes, the system is called a “two-mode hybrid.” The fuel-saving system has four fixed-gear ratios. During the two ECVT modes, the system can use the electric motors for acceleration, improving fuel economy, or for regenerative braking to utilize energy that would normally be lost during braking or deceleration. The energy is stored in the batteries for later use.
In the first mode — at low speed and with light loads — the vehicle can operate as pure electric, pure gas, or both. The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds, and provides both the electric assist and Hemi power.
Input from the controller determines the torque needed from the engine and electric motors. The engine and motors transfer torque to gears in the transmission, which multiply torque as a conventional automatic transmission does. However, the two-mode full hybrid’s electrically controlled system uses no mechanical belts or bands. Shifts between the two modes require no engine speed changes, resulting in seamless accelerations (in reality there is a seeming shift at around 40 mph when under full throttle).
The 300-volt battery pack is designed to fit in the vehicle without compromising passenger space. A rectifier under the hood converts AC to DC to power conventional 12-volt accessories.
Chrysler Aspen’s chromed grille was inspired by the 1998 Chrysler Chronos concept car. Chrysler wings flow seamlessly into the grille header and contain the gold seal of the brand, providing a proud and instantly recognizable design cue.
Detailed, jewel-like headlamps complement Chrysler Aspen’s grille and flow into the fenders, achieving a profile view of each turn signal. Combined in the headlamp assembly is a projector low-beam lamp contained in a unique circular lamp bezel and an inboard high-beam lamp contained in a smaller square bezel. Completing Chrysler Aspen’s distinguished front view is a unique, sculpted hood inspired by the Chrysler Crossfire, as well as chromed fascia accents and fog lamps.
Chrysler Aspen’s front and rear fenders, rear doors and rear-quarter panels feature clean, precise angles, creating a seamless profile. Individual chromed “CHRYSLER” lettering adorns the body side on each of the front doors. Chromed accents on body-side moldings, door handles, side mirrors, belt molding and roof rack, as well as available 20-inch chromed wheels, add premium panache.
Chrysler Aspen’s rear view is clean, functional and features unique jeweled taillamps. A chromed accent bar featuring the Chrysler gold seal is place above the license plate and discretely contains a latch to open the rear liftgate.
We saw the Aspen at close quarters and under natural light at a press event with the Sebring and Pacifica. Outside, the three are clearly of a single brand, with their ribbed hoods (those are speed grooves, in case you were wondering; six concave, one convex), rounded-trapezoid grille, chrome, and similar front-end lines. Inside, they could hardly be more different, with interiors that appeared to have been designed by three different companies with very different cultures.
The Aspen (due in September) arguably has the most elegant, upscale interior; the huge gauges are black on silver, with large shiny chromed rings that make quite an impression. The color scheme is restrained, with two-tone seats (darker suede inserts are the second tone) and a fairly uniform beige otherwise; while there is a preponderance of plastic, it is, by far, less noticeable than in the Sebring. Light woodgrain-style covers hide the center storage bin and cupholders; the center stack bezel uses this same material, as do strips on the doors and dash and the top half of the steering wheel. The interior of the Aspen is by far the most upscale of the three. The main surprise-and-delight feature, to use Chrysler terms, is the easy flip-and-fold middle-row seat design, which lets people easily climb into the third row. There is decent room in all three rows. The Aspen feels surprisingly open for a large vehicle, with good visibility. Care was taken to provide an unobstructed 180 degree view from the driver, for a light, spacious feel.
Chrysler marketing head Dave Rooney said that about 25% of Chrysler owners leave the brand to get an SUV, and only about 25% of those people get a Dodge or Jeep, so the decision to launch a "real" SUV in addition to the Pacifica seemed to be practically a given to capture their own owners. He also felt optimistic that the Aspen would sell reasonably well, in part to those moving down from larger SUVs; and as he said, "we don't need to sell a hundred thousand of these" because much of the investment had already been made in the Durango. The Aspen is clearly different in styling and appearance from the Durango, and, indeed, those who do not follow Chrysler by reading Allpar and other publications would not be aware, from looking at them, that they had much in common. The Aspen will only have V8 engines - 4.7 and Hemi.
With three rows of seats, Chrysler Aspen’s interior is spacious and sophisticated. “The interior of the 2007 Chrysler Aspen offers first-class travel,” said Creed. “A warm and inviting, yet purposeful interior environment features soft touch surfaces finished with fine materials, as well as precise gauges and controls – details that exemplify the Chrysler brand’s image of beauty and elegance.”
Chrysler Aspen’s instrument panel cluster features a large, centrally located speedometer and white-faced gauges outlined in chromed trim, providing easy-to-read displays for fuel, oil, volt/battery, odometer and speedometer readings. The center stack features Chrysler brand’s signature analog clock and an available full-screen navigation radio and temperature controls for front and rear occupants.
Available steering wheel-mounted controls keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while adjusting audio settings. An overhead console conveniently provides switch controls for the optional sun roof, power liftgate and universal garage door opener. In addition, an Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) is available with the overhead console and provides customer-programmable features, such as audio and security settings, as well as trip computer, compass and outside temperature data.
Designed for ease of use and added utility, Chrysler Aspen’s center console features a large covered storage bin and integrated cup holders. A 115-volt power inverter conveniently powers lap-top computers, cell phones and electric coolers.
Two interior color schemes are offered: two-tone Slate Gray or Dark Khaki with Light Greystone. Light wood-grain trim is featured throughout the cabin – on the center stack, steering wheel and door armrests – complemented by chromed door handles and trim.
Chrysler Aspen’s highly styled, supportive seats are offered in two-tone leather or leather with suede, as well as cloth. Cloth seats feature YES Essentials® – an easy-care, soil-repellant and anti-microbial textile that protects seats from stains, odors and discoloration.
With multiple seating and cargo configurations, the 2007 Chrysler Aspen achieves significant occupant flexibility. The second- and third-row seats feature ample leg, shoulder and hip room and conveniently fold flat.
Chrysler Aspen is available with a second-row 40/20/40 split bench seat or second-row heated bucket seats, each providing 11-degree reclining seat backs. Second-row bucket seats include a center console with dual cup holders, covered storage area and adjustable air outlets.
A flip-down, roof-mounted DVD screen is available for rear-seat occupants and an Alpine audio system comes complete with eight speakers. An available power rear liftgate opens with the touch of a button to provide easy loading and unloading of gear. In addition, rear doors open 84 degrees to provide passengers with easy entry and exit.
With best-in-class cargo capacity, offering 68.4 cu. ft. of cargo room with the third-row seats folded – the most common configuration of three-row seat SUVs – Chrysler Aspen easily surpasses other full-size SUVs.
“With the most powerful engine in its class – the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 – the 2007 Chrysler Aspen delivers unrivaled capability and performance with fuel-saving MDS technology,” said Mike Donoughe, Vice President – Body-on-frame Product Team. “Impressive off-the-line acceleration combined with enough torque to tow 8,950 lbs., Chrysler Aspen is a premium SUV where beauty is backed with brawn.”
The Hemi delivers best-in-class 335 horsepower and 370 lb.-ft. of torque, and seamlessly alternates between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand.
Chrysler Aspen’s standard engine is the 235-horsepower 4.7-liter Magnum V-8 engine with 300 lb.-ft. of torque, providing smooth and responsive performance. Both the 4.7-liter and 5.7-liter V-8 engines are mated to a five-speed automatic Chrysler-designed heavy-duty transmission (545RFE).
When towing, Chrysler Aspen’s “Tow/Haul” transmission provides crisp shifts and reduces gear searching by holding the lower gear longer. The system will also select a lower gear under downhill conditions in order to utilize the engine’s braking capability.
Chrysler Aspen features a smooth and quiet ride, with precise handling – benefits of a torsionally stiff, hydroformed frame and independent front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering. Suspension and steering are finely tuned to deliver superior ride and steering feel, courtesy of consistent frame dynamics.
“The 2007 Chrysler Aspen provides exceptional handling that sets a new standard for SUVs,” said Donoughe. “From twisting, winding roads to narrow city streets to dirt or snow-covered trails, Chrysler Aspen provides sure-footed grip and responsiveness. And with a 39.9-ft. turning circle, Chrysler Aspen is easily maneuverable in tight situations.”
Adding to Chrysler Aspen’s confident and highly capable driving experience is a unique rear suspension with coil springs and a solid rear axle that delivers durability, substantial payload and best-in-class towing capability. A Watt linkage system is fitted to the rear axle, centering the axle and reducing rear-end skate over rough surfaces. The rear suspension supports a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 6,700 lbs. and towing capacity of 8,950 lbs.
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen offers two all-wheel-drive electronic-shift transfer cases. A single-speed transfer case is standard with 4x4 models that feature the 4.7-liter V-8 engine. The single-speed transfer case provides all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive “high” operating modes.
A two-speed transfer case is standard with 4x4 models that feature the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine. Chrysler Aspen’s two-speed transfer case features an all-wheel-drive (AWD) mode and four-wheel-drive “high” and “low” modes. Both transfer cases feature a 48/52 torque split between front and rear axles when AWD mode is selected.
With a robust frame and a bumper height compatible with passenger cars, Chrysler Aspen exceeds government and industry safety requirements.
Chrysler Aspen provides innovative tapered octagonal front frame rail tips and advanced multi-stage air bag protection. The vehicle is also equipped with standard side-curtain air bags that cover all three rows of seating, including a roll-sensing feature that uses sensors to keep side-curtain air bags deployed longer in rollovers.
Following are available safety and security features in the 2007 Chrysler Aspen:
Manufactured at Chrysler Group’s Newark (Delaware) Assembly Plant, the 2007 Chrysler Aspen will be available in Chrysler dealerships in the fall of 2006.
For engine details, see our 4.7 V8 and Hemi V8 pages. For the transmission, see this page.
AWD; Locked (4 Lock)
Torque Split, Front/Rear
Optional on 4.7, standard on Hemi
Two-speed, electronically shifted
AWD; Neutral; Locked (4 Lock); Locked (4 Lo)
Low Range Ratio
Center Differential Type
Planetary with lock
Electrical (standard equipment)
160-amp alternator. Group 65 battery, 750 CCA.
Track, Front and Rear
Load Floor Height
Sill Step Height
Ground Clearance - Chassis (fuel tank)
Ground Clearnace - Front axle
Ground Clearnace - Rear axle
33.36 sq. ft. (3.099 sq. m)
Fuel Tank Capacity
27 gal. (102L)
Chrysler Aspen test drive
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