Chrysler: Run on electric, gas or both

Brianna Bishop

Coming soon, the 2009 Aspen Hybrid from Chrysler will allow drivers to have the power and luxury of a new SUV as well as excellent fuel economy.

The model, which is expected to be available in the fall, can run by electric power, engine power or a combination of both. Chrysler lauds the introduction of the vehicle into the market as “a major automotive industry milestone” because of the combination of electric motors with fixed-gear transmission.

“Chrysler Aspen is a premium SUV that offers elegant styling, premium amenities and innovative engineering with the room and capability of a sport-utility vehicle,” states a release on the Chrysler LLC Web site. “Bigger than its full-size SUV competitors, yet smaller than large SUV competitors, Chrysler Aspen offers unique benefits as a luxury SUV in a class all its own.”

Yet the Aspen Hybrid is still priced below its competition. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Aspen is $45,570 — an estimated $8,000 less than most vehicles in its class.

“Offering the unique combination of value, fuel economy, performance and capability, Chrysler’s hybrid vehicles deliver exactly what SUV owners are demanding in today’s marketplace,” said Deborah Meyer, vice president and chief marketing officer of Chrysler, LLC, on the company’s Web site.

Because of an electrically variable transmission that adjusts at different speeds, the Aspen Hybrid will be able maximize power and efficiency. Overall fuel economy will increase by an estimated 25 percent with this model with the potential for a 40 percent increase in fuel economy for city driving.

With the tagline “Capability meets responsibility,” Chrysler is introducing a vehicle into the market that allows drivers to save on gas and reduce their carbon emissions without sacrificing power or towing capacity.

At low speeds, the engine can be shut off so that the vehicle is running on electric power only. According to its Web site, the vehicle has a feature that saves the energy lost from constant braking in heavy traffic and uses it to recharge the battery.

On the other hand, drivers who need power to tow, pass or accelerate at higher speeds can utilize the second mode, which uses full engine power with electric assistance.

Along with the Aspen Hybrid, Chrysler also will be rolling out the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid this year with a starting MSRP of $45,340.


Aspen Hemi Hyrbid


Engine 5.7 liter 385 horsepower HEMI V8 engine

MPG up to 20 miles

Features A device controls which mode (electric or gas)  is most efficient for the current driving condition and it’s capable of towing up to 6,000 pounds


Town and Country

Starts at $24,000

Awarded MotorWeek’s Choice for 2008 Best Minivan, the van features Swivel’n Go as well as Stow’n Go seating.

Sebring Convertible

Starts at $27,000

The Sebring comes with a cloth top or optional hard top. A windscreen feature is available to reduce noise and keep drivers’ hair in place.

Jeep Compass


With an estimated 22 city/27 highway miles per gallon, the Compass is an excellent choice for SUV lovers looking for affordability.

Durango HEMI Hyrbrid

Starts at $45,000

Dodge estimates the Hybrid model increases overall fuel economy by 25 percent yet it still comes with all the power of a full-sized SUV.

Dodge Ram

price not yet available

This model has 4 percent increased fuel economy, lots of storage space and the ability to support navigation and entertainment systems.