- Attractive instrument panel and interior
- Good front seats
- Generous standard equipment
- Bouncy ride could be more buttoned-down
- Uneasy handling and cumbersome maneuverability
- Lousy fuel economy
There are few compelling reasons to choose the 2008 Chrysler Aspen over slightly larger, roomier competitors like a well-equipped Ford Expedition or GMC Yukon.
The 2008 Chrysler Aspen is a full-size sport-utility vehicle based on the Dodge Durango, offering three-row seating and seven-passenger capability, with both rear- and all-wheel-drive variants available.
The Aspen's truck-based underpinnings--including a solid hydroformed frame--make it an especially good choice for towing; 4x4 models include a special tow/haul mode for the five-speed automatic transmission, and Trailer Sway Control helps maintain stability while towing. The 2008 Chrysler Aspen has a maximum tow rating of 8,950 pounds when properly equipped.
A new 303-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 with E85 and flex-fuel capability is standard on the 2008 Chrysler Aspen, but a buff 345-horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine is optional. The HEMI incorporates Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which helps reduce its thirst to the same rate as the other V-8.
Either engine gives the 2008 Chrysler Aspen more than adequate power for most needs, but once you're moving, you'll feel the Aspen's hefty weight in the way it brakes (with a lot of nosedive) and handles. Like other truck-based SUVs, the Aspen lacks an independent rear suspension; that said, its ride is quite soft but somewhat bouncy on all but the smoothest roads, and it generally steers well, considering the nearly 5,000-pound curb weight. But on rougher curvy roads, you'll need to slow down.
The Aspen's controls and displays are attractive and well designed, materials look quite cheerful (as long as you don't mind wood grain trim), and front-seat passengers get comfortable, supportive seats. Three rows of seats have room for up to eight in a pinch in the 2008 Chrysler Aspen, though those in the third row will be pinched, unless they're children. There are 68.4 cubic feet of luggage space with the third row folded.
Only one trim level is available in the 2008 Chrysler Aspen, the Limited, and standard equipment includes a new 303-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 with E85/flex-fuel capability, 18-inch wheels, leather trim, and air conditioning. The standard audio system is now an AM/FM/CD player with an auxiliary jack.
Available equipment on the 2008 Chrysler Aspen includes a power rear liftgate, 20-inch wheels, running boards, heated first- and second-row seats, DVD navigation system, Sirius Satellite Radio, rear-seat entertainment system, a MyGIG hard-drive music system, and dual-zone air conditioning.
All-row side curtain airbags, front side airbags, and electronic stability control are standard on the Aspen. The 2008 Chrysler Aspen earned a top five-star rating from the federal government in frontal impact, but wasn't tested in side impact, nor was it tested by the IIHS. The feds flagged it with their lowest three-star rating in rollover because of its high center of mass.