Chrysler hopes the Two-Mode hybrid technology in its new 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid and 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid attracts customers. If that doesn't, perhaps their pricing - right around $45,000 - may.
Dodge's hybrid - sporting the same content level as a Durango Limited - starts at $45,340 (including an $800 destination charge), while Chrysler's Aspen Hybrid starts at $45,570. Seeing as content levels between the two are nearly identical, we suppose it's up to the consumer to decide if Chrysler's styling tweaks are worth an extra $230.
Although $45,000 is a significant chunk of change - nearly $7000 more than a 4x4 Durango Limited or Aspen - it's not that unreasonable. Chevrolet's Tahoe Hybrid (with four-wheel drive) stickers for $53,295 while GMC's Yukon variant retails for $53,755. Chrysler's pricing puts the Durango and Aspen hybrids nearly $6000 below the GM SUVs. Chrysler also claims both SUVs are eligible for an $1800 federal tax credit.
Like the GM hybrids, the Durango and Aspen make use of the Two-Mode hybrid transmission developed by GM's Allison division. Both hybrids have the 5.7-liter "Hemi" V-8 underhood, which works with a pair of electric motors housed in the transmission. When both motive sources are running, the total available power is close to 385 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque - all while reportedly delivering 40-percent better city fuel economy than a normal Durango or Aspen.
The Chrysler and Dodge full-size hybrid SUVs are expected to hit dealers' showrooms in early August of 2008.