2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4×4 – Test drive and new SUV review – 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4×4 Sport Utility Vehicle

22 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4×4 – Test drive and new SUV review – 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4×4 Sport Utility Vehicle
Chrysler Aspen

Are you ready for the K-SUV?

I get caught up on names — I wonder if I think more about SUV names than the manufacturers do. So when I got the 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited in my driveway, I couldn’t help but think about the old Dodge Aspen and its compatriot, the Plymouth Volare, two vehicles that nearly sunk the old Chrysler Corporation in the late 1970s.

The 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4×4 carries a base price of $37,875 ($43,625 as tested), along with a 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty, a lifetime powertrain warranty for the original owner, and an EPA estimate of 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway. Let’s drive.

First Glance

Larger Exterior Photos: Front Rear

Maybe the Aspen name was just too good to leave in the past. After all, Aspen, Colorado is the playground of the rich, and the name connotes elegance, leisure and freedom. Just what you think of when you see a two-and-a-half-ton SUV like this Chrysler.

Aspen is the first pure body-on-frame SUV to wear the Chrysler wings (Pacifica is a crossover, unibody design). Based on the same chassis and powertrain as the Dodge Durango. Aspen is a great big SUV. Nearly 17′ long, over 6′ wide and 6′ tall, it will challenge most garage and parking spaces with its girth. Everything about Aspen is big.

Big headlights flank a big grille. topped by a big hood. The hood wears the new Chrysler corporate blood grooves. the oddest signature design feature on the market today. The big expanse of body side is decorated with a tasteful splash of chrome body molding. Big taillights light up the rear corners, with a big slab of a tailgate and a big rear window dressing the rear.

Chunky body-colored bumpers protect the front and the rear. My test vehicle wore big 20 chrome clad aluminum wheels. in nice proportion with the wheel wells and the overall size of the vehicle.

It all works, if the intended impression is one of power and a kind of class. Fit and finish are very good, with a nice gloss to the paint, and well-designed tasteful trim. I could definitely see the Aspen at the ski lodge, waiting to tote the rich and famous from the slopes to the clubs.

Continued below.

In the Driver’s Seat

Nice design marred by shoddy execution.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

Chrysler’s interior designs have come a long way, but execution still lags a little behind. It’s all about material choices. If you just look at the Aspen’s dash. it’s lovely.

The tasteful use of shapes, contrasting round and rectangular elements and dark and light colors, is quite elegant and evocative. The problem comes with the details. The air conditioning vents on Aspen look cheap and unappealing.

Dash materials are not pleasing to touch. The fake wood trim — I must rail against fake wood, it is my sworn duty to rail — is not completely unattractive, but it is sharp on the edges, a constant annoyance to a tactile person like me who is compelled to touch his dashboard. Plastics are inconsistent, with cheap-feeling surfaces in places you have to contact all the time, like armrests .

On the positive side, the Aspen’s broad driver’s seat is comfortable and accommodating to backsides of all sizes. The driving position is very upright and the broad expanse of windshield affords a great view of the road. The simple, big rotary gauges are easy to read, in a classy black typeface on silver background. My test vehicle was equipped with DVD-based GPS Navigation ($1,295) and U-Connect Bluetooth Hands-Free ($275), two must-have options for the well-equipped SUV.

Sirius Satellite radio is standard equipment on every Aspen, along with a one-year subscription to the service.

Chrysler Aspen

On the Road

Aspen’s passenger compartment is extremely roomy, as you might guess from its exterior dimensions. Three adults can sit comfortably in the second row. and it’s actually easy to get into the third row. Two adults can travel in relative comfort back there.

If you regularly carry seven passengers, Aspen is a viable option. And you can cram 20.1 cubic feet of luggage behind the third row, or fold both rows flat and haul an impressive 102 cubic feet of cargo .

With the HEMI engine under Aspen’s hood, you can actually haul that cargo in a hurry. The 5.7 liter V8 produces 335 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque, enough to motivate even Aspen’s 5043 lb curb weight down the road with full-time four-wheel drive hooked up to a five-speed automatic transmission. 6.9 of ground clearance means that you should keep your Aspen on the pavement except for mild off-roading.

Chrysler’s MDS (Multi-Displacement System) shuts down half of the cylinders in low demand situations, saving fuel without sacrificing performance. I never noticed the system in operation, which is kind of the point. Independent suspension up front and a live axle in the rear deliver a decent, if truckish ride, with front and rear stabilizer bars keeping things flat through the curves.

Safety features include Chrysler’s Electronic Stability Program, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, tire pressure monitoring system, driver and front passenger airbags as well as side-curtain airbags that cover all three rows of seating.

Journey’s End

A big slab of a tailgate flanked is flanked by big taillights.

Photo #169; Jason Fogelson

It’s pretty late in the full-sized SUV game for Chrysler to be throwing its hat into the ring, but they’ve gone and thrown in a great big sombrero of an SUV with the Aspen, one that demands consideration. It offers a stylish alternative to the Freightliner styling of Durango. and a people-hauling alternative to the minivans that Chrysler is famous for.

You can save a few dollars by ordering up a lower trim level with a less potent, 4.7 liter V8 engine (235 hp/300 lb-ft of torque) and rear-wheel drive in your Aspen. Base prices start at $30,935. But if you’re considering buying a Chrysler Aspen, there are several other vehicles to consider.

Chrysler is due for another turnaround, with the recent separation from Mercedes-Benz and management change. Perhaps this Chrysler Aspen is the harbinger of change, much as the Dodge Aspen was the precursor to the Iacocca K-cars that rescued the old Chrysler from the brink. For now, we’ve got another big, classy SUV to choose from as we drive our gas hogs to the edge of the cliff.

Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
Chrysler Aspen
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