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2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid

The 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid includes running boards for easier entry. The SUV stretches more than 200 inches long with a 119-inch wheelbase.

EPA's assessment says the 5.7-liter Hemi delivers 19 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Not spectacular numbers, but certainly better than the 13 mpg in the city the 2008 Aspen reached with a 4.7-liter V-8. During my week of testing this large SUV, I was able to hit 26 mpg at times; other times, 18 mpg. Admittedly, on the high mileage days, the roads were flat and my right foot was in eco-drive mode -- though I never acted like those 55-mph imbeciles on a 70-mph highway.

2009 Chrysler Aspen HybridThe 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited hybrid is not a vehicle without flaws. The interior still has a heavy plastic feel, especially the doors and dash, and comes with the second ugliest hood on a Chrysler vehicle. But it serves a purpose, and not every vehicle on the road today can say that. Some people do need a truck and the Aspen is exactly that: a big hulking truck. After a few days behind the wheel, I started to remember how nice SUVs can be.
SUVs bring out the Texan in all Americans

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.

The reasons for the big truck's decline is many people have finally realized they don't need a truck that can tow a mountain or scale it. Nor can they afford 13 mpg -- the city mileage of a 2008 Aspen with a 4.7-liter V-8. So can you afford 20 mpg? That's midsize car numbers in the city. Slightly better mileage if there's a strong wind at your back.

The 5.7-liter Hemi hums along on the highway on four cylinders and keeps a low idle during moderate acceleration. (The electric motors assist the engine when cruising at highway speeds, which is why the highway mileage numbers are slightly improved.) Press the accelerator hard and you can feel the combined 385-horsepower engine lurch the vehicle forward.

Automotive consumers are begging for high-mileage cars and crossovers, not better-performing large SUVs. There is a market for this vehicle, and those few customers will be pleased with it. But it's not going to be enough to pull Chrysler out of its current tailspin. The sooner Chrysler adopts its hybrid technology into Dodge Chargers, Avengers and Calibers, the better.

© Source: info.detnews
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