As a matter of fact, Chrysler is mostly known for making luxury sedans, vans and sportscars. Being an American brand it is, though, it was only inevitable for the firm to get into the business of making big-brute SUVs. America's love for pick-up trucks and SUVs is unmatched and seeing its country's affinity for these high-riding vehicles, Chrysler decided to enter this segment with the launch of the Aspen SUV in 2006.
The Chrysler Aspen was based on the Dodge Durango and was a full-sized luxury SUV. The Aspen also happens to be the first-truck based SUV that was built and sold under the Chrysler brand name.
The Aspen could seat 8-people in comfort and came with an all-wheel drive layout so as to take on any terrain, although in a cosseting manner. The main trump card of the Chrysler Aspen was its price tag though. The company claimed that the Aspen offers customers a sophisticated premium SUV for thousands of dollars less than its luxury-priced competitors of that time.
Chrysler promoted the Aspen as the 300 (the company's famous luxury sedan) of the luxury SUV segment. The design of the SUV was also heavily inspired by the Chrysler 300 sedan while it had a hint of Crossfire coupe in its design lines as well.
The Aspen featured a large chrome grille, or the "face" of the Chrysler brand, as the company likes to put it. The vehicle had "Chrysler Wings" too that flow seamlessly into the grille, and come with a gold seal brand logo.
The SUV looked quite intimidating, you have to admit. It has muscular front and rear fenders with seamless and coherent design. A lot of chrome is also used on the body, like the side moldings, door handles, beltline molding, roof rack, ORVMs, etc. have the chrome finish.
Even the 20-inch wheels were chromed, and looked quite gorgeous. If you were a famous rapper of that era, you couldn't possibly give it a miss!
The Chrysler Aspen offered everything in abundance to its customers- be it features, space or the equipment in the car. The Aspen came fitted with premium features such as interior LED lighting, express-up front windows, a full-screen navigation radio, heated first and second row seats, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. It also had a one-touch lane-change feature that'd allow the driver to quickly activate a three-blink turn signal when changing lanes.
The cabin was spacious, too. In fact, it was much bigger than any of its rivals. Its multiple seating and cargo configurations meant second and third row seats have ample legroom and shoulder room. When not in use, both rows could be conveniently folded down flat.
The rear seat occupants also had a flip-down, roof-mounted DVD screen available with a theater-style surround-sound audio system, fitted with 80 Infinity brand speakers. The trunk could be opened electrically, adding to the convenience factor.
Safety net on the vehicle included Electronic Stability Program (ESP), ABS, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), rear parking camera and sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system and side-curtain air bags for all three rows in addition to dual front airbags for driver and passenger.
When Chrysler launched the Aspen, it claimed the latter to have the capabilities and luxury of a full-blown SUV, while it (Aspen) sips fuel like a small SUV.
The Chrysler Aspen came fitted with a 235bhp producing 4.7-litre V8 petrol engine as standard. Also on offer was a more powerful 5.7-litre HEMI V8 petrol motor. This engine had a rated power output of 335bhp. It also came with Chrysler's fuel saving MDS (multi-displacement system).
This meant the engine could run on 4-cylinders when there isn't much load, and can run all 8-cylinders so as to deliver maximum grunt from the HEMI V8. Both 4.7-litre and 5.7-litre V8 powertrains came paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The Chrysler Aspen was offered with all-wheel-drive electric-shift transfer cases. The 4.7-litre V8 powered version came fitted with a single-speed transfer case to provide all-wheel drive (AWD) and 4-wheel-drive "HIGH" operating modes.
In the 5.7-litre HEMI V8, there was a 2-speed transfer case that featured an all-wheel-drive (AWD) mode and 4-wheel-drive "HIGH" and "LOW" modes.
The Chrysler Aspen was built between 2006 and 2010. Upon its launch, it managed to grab quite a many eyeballs with its design and style while it scored tremendously in terms of practicality.
The Chrysler Aspen is again one of the rarer SUVs that have come out of America. And because it was a first for Chrysler (in that segment), the car makes it all the more interesting. Getting hold of one could be a HERCULEAN TASK in the used car market but, it's not that you won't find many. In fact, the Dodge Durango on which it is based is an identical car. If you get one of those it's one or the same thing.
That being said, the Aspen is a little more special because it was not just a part of a new beginning for Chrysler, it's also a significant part of the history of the brand.
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