ABG First Drive: 2009 Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango 2-Mode hybrids

30 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on ABG First Drive: 2009 Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango 2-Mode hybrids

The Aspen and are Chrysler’s first series hybrids, and aside from styling and interior trim they’re identical.

Primary comes from a 5.7L V8, with the 2-Mode system in the electric drive. That energy is stored under the seat in a 300-volt nickel hydride battery pack by Panasonic EV Energy.

Unlike GM, offers its 2-Mode trucks in or all-wheel drive, the Chryslers are Chrysler notes that lets them maximize the of available regenerative braking, but the reason for going all-wheel-drive had to do with the balance sheets: opt for AWD on 60 percent of conventionally-powered Durangos and sold. As such, Chrysler concluded that combination be the best option for the hybrids.

We gathered at the Portland Head in Portland, Maine, where a of the hybrid SUVs were for us. After the obligatory briefing the Chrysler reps, we mounted up and south along the Atlantic for Boston. For those of you unfamiliar Chrysler’s SUVs, they’re the same size as the Tahoe and giving up 3 inches in girth to the GM but weighing in at a substantial 700 pounds

Chrysler has been roundly and criticized in recent years the quality (or lack thereof) of its The Aspen and Durango cabins win any awards for style, but their layout is good, with where they ought to be, and from overly plasticky trim. the interiors work well. The light gray color scheme inside the we drove lends the truck an quality that probably too.

One standout problem area, is front corner visibility, is hindered by very thick

On the road, it’s clear Chrysler engineers spent a lot of refining the hybrids. When we a prototype a year ago, one of the noticeable flaws was the rough between regenerative and friction Not so on the production models, where the way to distinguish between regen, and blended braking is to watch the flow meter in the center

Brake pedal feel is a bit though, and the steering would from better feedback as While there’s little in the wheel and the weighting is OK, there isn’t any communication about happening where the tires the pavement. Overall, however, the chassis delivers a very and comfortable drive that wander on the road and absorbs pavement reasonably well.

Chrysler Aspen

There is, however, plenty of about the energy flow in the The tachometer in the main cluster is by an efficiency gauge that the driver’s powertrain demands. Hit the gas too and the needle swings to the right-hand zone; under braking it to the left-hand charging zone. of the time you want to try and keep it in the middle.

Even more information can be seen on the primary LCD where the Hybrid Energy provides a graphical representation of the behavior, including an engine that lights up halfway or to indicate whether the HEMI is in V4 or V8 mode.

While Chrysler may passed on expensive aluminum parts and lightweight seats, it has other efficiency measures, as a humidity sensor in the electrically air conditioner. When the humidity is elevated, the climate control the air more to compensate for the perceived However, when the humidity is it backs off. The goal is to the temperature to optimize the perceived of the occupants while minimizing use.

The other usual subsystems the power steering have been electrified to cut parasitic

At one of the stops along our drive, had a pair vehicles setup for demonstrations. We took an Aspen a 4,200 lb horse trailer a 5-mile test loop and the combination of the HEMI V8 and hybrid to be up to the task. Acceleration was no problem and down was aided by the regenerative

The addition of regen braking to types of vehicles should advantageous when descending passes, helping to keep the brakes from overheating. The control system also trailer sway control selectively applies the brakes it senses a trailer beginning to around too much. Fortunately, we get to sample this feature.

the course of the 150 miles or so from to Boston, we drove through a of towns and along every of road, ending on the streets of in the hours following the Celtics parade. By the time we reached the Hotel, our final destination, the fuel economy display was 22.1 mpg. This challenge smaller hybrid but it’s excellent for such vehicle.

Along one stretch through a town in Maine, we managed to the Aspen in electric-only mode the entire way — over a The engine only started going up a hill and then off after cresting it. The final EPA haven’t been released but Chrysler is expecting the SUVs to be at 19 mpg city and 20 mpg highway.

The highway matches the 4WD GM hybrids while the number is 1 mpg lower.

Chrysler that the launch timing of vehicles couldn’t have much worse. Nonetheless, the still feels that a market for the hybrids and is pricing aggressively compared to GM’s Those who desire such a might want to think the mileage in terms of people per gallon. If you actually take passengers regularly via activities carpooling, that 22 mpg could into a much higher

If there are four people who otherwise be driving four that’s 88 pmpg. Of course, calculation only works if you are other cars off the road and so on a regular basis. If however, you do multiple vehicles with one vehicle, the savings could be

Even with that in it’s still going to be a road for Chrysler until it can get the into some smaller Chrysler execs have that they are indeed that, with the minivans and crossover rumored as candidates, but the Ram is the one confirmed so far. In the meantime, we forward to having a chance to run the hybrids against their GM soon.

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