As the separation of DaimlerChrysler products continue to widen, becoming more diverse and aggressive, Chrysler’s premium full-size SUV, the Aspen, was bound to happen. I presumed that the Chrysler Aspen was a raised and stretched Town& Country when we got the preliminary data. I was mistaken; the Aspen is a proper SUV that uses a revised Dodge Durango ladder-type chassis. This is a very effective place to start as the Durango has been recognized to have an exemplary and robust chassis that is very capable while exhibiting above-average comfort levels. Its weaknesses – which are primarily cosmetic – are addressed by the Aspen with the reinforcement of several bonus features. We tested the new Aspen fairly recently and we think that it is a step up from the Durango. The interior treatment is more luxurious, while the exterior is more refined. Is it better than the competition? I will reserve final judgment until we do a proper comparison; for now, this is what I can share with you with fair confidence.
Our test unit used the base engine 235 bhp 4.7-liter V8 which was satisfactory when it propelled the Durango but in the heavier Aspen, it felt seriously burdened. Although I do admit that the ride is very compliant, I did hope that the live-axle rear suspension would be replaced with an independent system to equate the Ford Expedition and new Chevrolet Tahoe systems. On a straight line or cruising at highway speeds, the handling is composed and planted, but throw in even moderate corners, and the Aspen would pitch and wallow much like the old SUVs of yesteryear. We should be beyond that sensation already by now, hence it’s unacceptable. The Chrysler Aspen compensates ever so slightly with the industry-first standard Trailer Sway Control Technology to improve trailer stability and increase towing safety; definitely, a step in the right direction but the handling issues still need to be corrected. The traditional live-axle setup even with the more unique Watt linkage system fitted to the rear axle- may have worked in the workhorse Durango but if the Aspen does aim to appeal to the more affluent who would be less likely to go trailing beyond a light dirt road, such measures like the switch to independent rear suspension is required.
The brakes are quite strong with 13.2” vented disc upfront pinched by two-piston calipers and 13.8” solid disc with single-piston calipers at the rear. Chrysler’s braking system is a direct result of a lot of note-taking from Mercedes-Benz. A 39.9-ft. the turning circle is decent for a large SUV but not outstanding, thanks to good steering boost and excellent rack-and-pinion system, maneuverability though is surprisingly sprightly. The 4×4 system uses a two-speed transfer case for the 5.7 liters HEMI V8, the preferred engine which is not only more powerful but more fuel-efficient but on the 4.7 liter V8, we could not switch between a low or high mode though it maintained a 48/52 torque “high” split between front and rear axles when the AWD mode was selected. The handsome exterior bodywork has a drag coefficient of .39. The ground clearance is a very usable 8.7” so urbanites can adventure beyond their usual comfort zones.
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen Limited offers premium features including interior LED lighting, express-up windows, a full-screen navigation radio, heated first-and second-row seats, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. A new one-touch lane-change feature allows the driver to quickly activate a three-blink turn signal when changing lanes. Advanced safety and security features include Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), ParkSense, and Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) system as well as side-curtain airbags for all three rows. The Aspen, in the end, is best purchased with the HEMI engine whether you want AWD or not. It’s a very good alternative to the competition: distinguished, very comfortable, and loaded with a lot of usable kits, just keep in mind that it is still smaller than an Expedition, which might be what you’re looking for.
|Engine||V8, 4698 cc, sohc 16V, Multi-Point Injection, 5-speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||235 bhp @ 4600 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||300 lb-ft @ 3600 rpm|
|Top Speed||180 km/h (112 mph) Governed|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||8.3 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||14 mpg City / 18 mpg Highway|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||(2006): US$ 36,545.00|
|What's Great||Had potential, fairly well-equipped, genuine ability and capacity in HEMI-powered variant.|
|What's Not So||Very thirsty, model lasted only two years, an interim vehicle.|
|C! Editors Rating||7.5/10|