LA Auto Show Preview: 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid

That's right, it's Chrysler's first production hybrid... and it's their biggest SUV... and it's gotta HEMI! The 2009 Aspen HEMI hybrid comes with the hybrid two-mode system (developed with GM, Mercedes-Benz and BMW) mated to a 5.7-liter HEMI tuned for 385 horsepower. The setup is good for more than a 25-percent overall increase in fuel economy and almost a 40-percent increase in city driving. The model you see here is set to hit driveways somewhere around mid-2008. When it arrives, standard equipment will include front and rear "aiming" LED lamps, the MyGIG entertainment system with navigation, rear power accessory outlets and a 60/40 third-row bench. No word yet on price, but we imagine you're looking at a decent premium over the stock Aspen. Full press release below the jump.

Chrysler Aspen

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. 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.

Chrysler Aspen exudes styling elegance, with clean, angular front and rear fenders, rear doors and rear-quarter panels creating a seamless profile. Individual chromed "Chrysler" lettering adorns the bodyside on each of the front doors. Premium touches also include chromed accents on bodyside moldings, door handles, side mirrors and roof rack, as well as 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. Chrysler Aspen's broad, chromed grille is crowned by a sculpted hood, a signature of Chrysler vehicles.

Standard interior appointments include wood-accented door panels and instrument-panel center stack, air conditioning, overhead console with HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and Electronic Vehicle Information Center, front and rear LED lamps that can be individually aimed, MyGIG Entertainment System with navigation, floor console with rear power accessory outlet, and 60/40 third-row bench seat.

Standard equipment also includes leather-trimmed bucket seats, eight-way power driver's seat with memory, four-way power passenger seat, heated front-row seats, and a second-row bench seat, providing seating for eight.

Chrysler Aspen rides on a torsionally stiff, hydroformed frame with an independent torsion-bar front suspension setup featuring rack-and-pinion steering that helps provide a smooth and quiet ride and precise handling. An isolated torsion bar crossmember helps minimize road noise. Suspension and steering are tuned to deliver optimum comfort and driveability.

In the rear is a unique suspension setup with coil springs and a solid rear axle that delivers durability and strength. A Watt's linkage system is fitted to the rear axle, centering the axle and reducing rear-end skate over rough surfaces.

Standard safety features include Chrysler's exclusive Trailer Sway Control, Electronic Stability Program, Anti-lock Brake System and next-generation front air bags, ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System, ParkView™ Rear Back-up Camera System, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and three-row side-curtain air bags with roll sensing.

New 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI® Hybrid and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid

Chrysler LLC's First Production Hybrid Vehicles

• Hybrid fuel efficiency combined with full-size SUV performance, capability and utility

• HEMI® Hybrid delivers more than 25-percent overall fuel economy improvement

• Full-size SUVs boast nearly 40-percent fuel economy improvement in city

• HEMI Hybrid features Chrysler's Multi-displacement System (MDS)

Chrysler and Dodge are bursting onto the hybrid scene in a big way.

With the introduction of the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI® Hybrid and 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid, Chrysler LLC delivers two hybrid-electric vehicles that combine fuel-efficient advanced-hybrid technology with full-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) performance and capability.

"The new 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid vehicles will offer our customers the sought-after blend of performance, utility, capability and vastly improved fuel economy — all in one package," said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President - Product Development, Chrysler LLC. "Combined with Chrysler's Multi-displacement System (MDS), our advanced, two-mode hybrid technology immediately delivers a more than 25-percent fuel economy improvement to our full-size SUVs — and up to a 40-percent improvement in the city."

The 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid vehicles are Chrysler's first entries in the hybrid market.

Capable of towing 6,000 lbs., the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid vehicles deliver 385 horsepower — seamless, dependable power and performance on demand, in an efficient package. With an electrically variable transmission (featuring the best characteristics of an automatic transmission and hybrid drive) and two different hybrid modes of operation, the drive system dramatically improves fuel economy around town and at highway speeds.

The new 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrid is expected to deliver an overall fuel economy improvement of more than 25 percent, including an improvement of nearly 40 percent in the city. For customers who desire the performance and capability of a large SUV, the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hybrid vehicles will reduce fuel consumption by several hundreds of gallons of gas per year.

The renowned HEMI powerplant, in hybrid form, will continue to feature Chrysler's MDS, which allows the engine to seamlessly alternate between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. The two-mode hybrid system provides assistance from electric motors allowing the HEMI V-8 to remain in four-cylinder mode more often than without a hybrid powertrain, improving overall fuel economy.

Built at the Newark Assembly Plant in Delaware, the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid vehicles arrive in showrooms in mid-2008.