2009 Chrysler Aspen SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Chrysler Aspen SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Chrysler Aspen Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.7 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 303 hp @ 5650 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Chrysler Aspen

  • Unless you need to tow a boat or a big trailer, the flashy 2009 Chrysler Aspen's moment has passed -- even with the new hybrid.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerful V8 engines, generous towing and cargo capacities, simple interior controls, high-tech features, hybrid model's enhanced fuel economy and power.

  • Cons

    Poor gas mileage of regular models, cramped second-row legroom, rough ride, numb steering, subpar interior quality, hybrid sticker shock.

  • What's New for 2009

    The big news for the 2009 Chrysler Aspen is the addition of a hybrid model that combines Hemi V8 power with V6-like fuel efficiency. For the regular Aspen line, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 makes more power with no fuel-economy penalty, thanks to cylinder deactivation. Sirius Backseat TV is now included with the rear-seat entertainment system.

Full 2009 Chrysler Aspen Review

What's New for 2009

The big news for the 2009 Chrysler Aspen is the addition of a hybrid model that combines Hemi V8 power with V6-like fuel efficiency. For the regular Aspen line, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 makes more power with no fuel-economy penalty, thanks to cylinder deactivation. Sirius Backseat TV is now included with the rear-seat entertainment system.


Truck-based chassis. Fifteen-mpg-combined fuel economy. Less passenger space than a big crossover. With all that's going against it, the 2009 Chrysler Aspen is looking like a lonely Neanderthal surrounded by smarter Homo sapiens. A new "two-mode" hybrid is a last-minute attempt to evolve for changing competition, but it seems unlikely to be enough to save this outdated SUV.

The Aspen is essentially a Dodge Durango gussied up with more chrome and more features. But it remains a truck-based SUV, which means a body-on-frame design (rather than the increasingly more common carlike unit-body design of crossover SUVs) and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. This rugged construction does lend itself better to towing and off-roading. And its size -- bigger than a Ford Explorer but smaller than a GMC Yukon -- has typically been touted as an advantage as well. That body-on-frame construction also lends it a rough-and-tumble ride and a heavier curb weight that requires big-time engines that have big-time fuel consumption. Having said that, one of the Aspen's most impressive features is its optional "Hemi" engine. Packing 376 horsepower, the 5.7-liter V8 features cylinder deactivation technology, which helps return fuel economy no worse than that of the Aspen's smaller standard V8.

For the best fuel economy, there is the new-for-2009 Chrysler Aspen HEV hybrid. Utilizing so-called "two-mode" hybrid technology co-developed by General Motors, BMW and the company formerly known as Daimler-Chrysler, this powertrain features a de-powered version of the 5.7-liter V8, plus a pair of potent electric motors and a trick transmission with variable gear ratios, which maximizes the efficiency of both power sources. The result is combined fuel economy of about 20 mpg, a 5-mpg increase over the regular 5.7-liter V8. Unfortunately, all that hybrid hardware jacks the Aspen's price up by $3,000 over the similarly equipped non-hybrid model.

With all its chrome trim, the Aspen is fancied a budget competitor for full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Lexus GX 470 and Lincoln Navigator. Given its smaller size and lower materials/build quality, though, it really isn't in their league. The Aspen is really just a flashier alternative to the Durango for those who need family space and the ability to tow heavy objects. If the latter isn't a priority, well-equipped crossovers like the Acura MDX, Buick Enclave and Ford Flex offer the same or more cargo capacity and better fuel economy. The Aspen HEV hybrid matches them in the last regard, but given its high price, any fuel savings are wiped out. In other words, we suggest looking elsewhere.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Chrysler Aspen is available in two trim levels, Limited and Limited HEV. The Limited is available in two-wheel drive and 4WD, while the Limited HEV (hybrid) is 4X4 only. Standard equipment includes 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, foglamps, rear park assist, a rear parking camera, a power tailgate, a power driver seat, a tilting steering column, a 40/20/40-split reclining second row, a 60/40-split-folding three-passenger third row, rear climate control, stain-repellent cloth upholstery, wood trim and an eight-speaker stereo with touchscreen controls, 30GB of digital music storage, an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player.

The creatively named J Package adds the Hemi V8, 20-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, running boards, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, remote ignition, leather upholstery in the first and second rows, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, driver memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth, iPod integration, a navigation system and upgraded speakers. Several of these items are available as stand-alone options, along with second-row bucket seats, a towing package and a rear DVD entertainment system with Sirius Backseat TV. The Limited with J Package can also be equipped with a sunroof and heated second-row seats.

The Chrysler Aspen Limited HEV is 4X4 only and equipped similarly to the Limited with J Package, but adds a hybrid powertrain, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and real-time traffic information for the navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The Aspen is available in rear-wheel drive or 4WD. The standard engine is a 4.7-liter V8 good for 303 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined for models with 2WD. Four-wheel-drive Aspens with this engine have a 13/17/15 mpg rating. When properly equipped, the 4.7-liter-equipped Aspen can tow up to 5,950 pounds.

Optional is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that produces 376 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is 13 city/19 highway and 15 combined with 2WD and 13/18/15 with 4WD. When properly equipped, an Aspen with the 5.7-liter V8 can tow up to 8,900 pounds.

The Limited HEV is powered by a "two-mode" hybrid system consisting of a Hemi V8 (345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque), two electric motors (87 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque) and a "two-mode" transmission with variable ratios, which maximizes power from the gasoline engine and electric motors. Estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/20 mpg highway.


The 2009 Chrysler Aspen comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control and side curtain airbags. In government frontal crash testing, the Aspen earned a perfect five-star rating for the protection of front occupants.

Interior Design and Special Features

As a close relative of the Durango, the Aspen's cabin shares its strengths and weaknesses, but throws in some classy light wood accents for show. Chrysler's latest batch of digital entertainment options (a 30GB hard drive, satellite radio and TV) in particular should appeal to kids and tech-savvy parents. Ergonomics and storage capacity are first-rate, but overall materials quality is low-budget and not befitting the Aspen's luxury aspirations.

Second-row legroom is tight, while the third row offers nearly as much space -- but that says more about the second row than the third. Large crossover SUVs like the GMC Acadia and Ford Flex are far more passenger-friendly. Most buyers will find cargo capacity to be more than adequate, with more than 68 cubic feet available when the third seat is folded into the floor, and as much as 102 cubic feet total.

Driving Impressions

Although the 2009 Chrysler Aspen's handling and ride characteristics certainly passed muster a few years ago, newer and more refined competitors have put the Aspen in a less forgiving light. The steering seems numb and ride quality is unsophisticated -- the available 20-inch wheels certainly don't help. Four-wheel-drive versions can be taken off-highway, offering plenty of wheel travel and responsive manners. The standard V8 is reasonably powerful, but with the Hemi V8, the Aspen is one of the quickest SUVs available for the money.

Driving the Aspen HEV hybrid is a bit odd: It still feels trucky, but the Hemi roar has been replaced by a Prius-like whir at low speeds. Plentiful power is always on tap, with the electric motor providing endless torque. If you drive prudently, the 2009 Aspen HEV can remain in electric mode at low city speeds, thus maximizing fuel economy.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Vct hemi aspen. 376hp/401tq. awd

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Edmunds should have the option of selecting the vct hemi aspen in the menu. The vct stands for variable cam timing. This SUV is fast, especially in cooler temps and is a huge improvement over the first generation hemi. It's an excellent SUV: it's safe, the interior layout is perfect, the steering is light but feels great, it's quiet when you're cruising but really roars when you give it a few or more rpms. MPG can be good when you're cruising at highway speeds but watch out for stop and go traffic - then it's a different story altogether. Reliability has been great so far. Also, these are incredibly rare to see. A complaint I have is that there is not a single hemi badge on the suv!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

The beast

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

I have owned an Aspen for 4 years now and it's been nothing but the best for me. I think the middle row has plenty of room and the seats lay back giving you more room. The third row is a little snug but don't anyone sit back there but the kids. I don't know what Aspen anyone else is driving but my Aspen rides smooth!. If I had to say anything bad about it I would say the price of the Aspen is a little steep! and the gas mileage could be a little better. The other sad part about it is they don't make it anymore and I don't wont to go back to a car.

Nice vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Bought the dealer demo in Jan. 09 and received an AMAZING deal for what we got. I love all the neat accessories like remote start, heated seats, anti roll, and all those other features you don't even know you have. Have had some issues with the roof racks warping and wind noise. Took to the dealership and they did not take care of issue. Thankfully there is another dealership in the area we can take it for service. We just had a blizzard and the car did EXCELLENT on the snow and ice.

Great vehicle for the money

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

We actually wanted to buy a Tahoe, Yukon or Expedition. However, a comparably equipped Chrysler Aspen was about $12K less. That's a lot of money, so we went with the Aspen. I've never been a Chrysler fan, but I am willing to give them a shot. I think Edmunds was too hard on the Aspen in their review. So far (2100 miles) we LOVE our Aspen. This is a leftover 2009 model and the dealer ship was REALLY dealing. They knocked $11K off the sticker price and gave us $3K more than we owed on our 2007 Explorer.

Smooth hemi power in a

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

My first impression was that it had a CVT transmission its shifts so smooth, but NO. The transmission does not seem to give the same punch throughout a wide range, my Nissans in the past were much better in that area. Interior makes you feel that you are in a nice vehicle, it is also an attention getter on the exterior. For a 6,400 LB SUV it accelerates fast, you are king of the Trucks/SUVs on the road without a Hemi. Will take "most" 6 Cyl Cars as well, just stay away from some of the import powerful V6's like the 2009 Maxima. It is a little bouncy on major dips/bumps, but not overly so. The Brakes are sufficient, but could stop a little better. Handling on sharp bends is average at best.

Love my aspen

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Chrysler Aspen Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

Had a 2005 Durango and this Aspen drives more like a car when compared to it. What really sold me on the Aspen was the heavy discounts, Sirius Backseat TV, remote start, alarm, chrome wheels, power liftgate, and 3 rows. All other brands didn't fit my budget with those same features.

Talk About The 2009 Aspen

2009 Chrysler Aspen Discussions See all Started By

With all the talk of hybrids and auto-makers ongoing commitments to creating eco-friendly vehicles, Chrysler is proud to introduce to you their first volume production hybrid; the 2009 Chrysler Aspen ...

I have seen three options 1) chrysler pacifica signatures 2008 series 0 miles fully loaded gps etc... for $25,000 out of the lot, 2) chrysler aspen 2009 all extras for $33,000+ tax . 3) Town and count...

Aspen needs to be axed. It was a creative way to use excess plant capacity at the Durango plant, but the large SUV market is shrinking daily and the Durango can handle any extra sales that the Aspen m...

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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