Shopping for a new Chrysler Aspen?
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
smooth ride and respectable handling
handles with sure stability
Kelley Blue Book
We left relatively impressed
Car and Driver
The 2008 Chrysler Aspen has HEMI power but not thrilling acceleration, though towing capacity and ride quality are strong suits.
"Engine choices are a 4.7-liter V-8 or a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8," according to Car and Driver. The latter engine "is about 40 percent more powerful," reports ForbesAutos. Edmunds states, "Hemi-powered models can lug up to 8,900 lbs.," thanks to its "335 horses and 370 lb-ft of torque." Edmunds further adds that the smaller 4.7-liter V-8 puts out "303 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque," and "can tow up to 5,950 pounds." ConsumerGuide has not tested this 2008 Chrysler with the new 4.7-liter V-8, but claims "the Hemi V8 delivers plenty of power at all speeds, [but feels] no faster than a V6-powered Acura MDX."
"Backing both engines is a five-speed automatic transmission delivering power via 2WD or 4WD," reports Edmunds. This 2008 Chrysler transmission was criticized by several consumer car sites consulted by TheCarConnection.com because it doesn't have a manual selection above second gear, causing a great deal of gear hunting on steep hills and requiring excessive braking on downgrades. "Rear-wheel drive is standard, and two four-wheel-drive systems are available," according to Cars.com; of the latter, one is designed for travel on pavement, while the other is more appropriate for off-road use.
"The bigger engine comes with Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System that deactivates half the cylinders under low to moderate throttle," details ForbesAutos; "that helps the Hemi achieve slightly better fuel economy than the less powerful standard engine." EPA estimates for this 2008 Chrysler are 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway for a 4WD 5.7-liter V-8-equipped model. The 4.7-liter engine is also flex-fuel capable.
Edmunds reports that the Aspen’s "ride is smooth and handling is quite respectable for an SUV weighing 2.5 tons." Kelley Blue Book agrees that the 2008 Chrysler Aspen has a well-cushioned ride that's fit for long road trips and goes on to say "too big to be agile, the Aspen nonetheless handles with sure stability, and that includes during towing." Edmunds does, however, find some fault with steering and braking, saying the former "can feel a bit loose and the brake pedal feels vague, with lengthy stopping distances." ConsumerGuide attests that "Aspen has good grip and modest lean in corners--impressive for a vehicle this large and heavy," but adds that "steering...would benefit from less power assist and more road feel." Car and Driver proclaims they "left relatively impressed with the Aspen's 'round-town demeanor; the ride quality being nowhere near as brittle as we expected, given the rugged suspension architecture and big wheels."
The 2008 Chrysler Aspen is thirsty and not overly quick, but provides a quality ride, with handling on par for the segment.