NEW FOR 2008:

– Standard tire pressure monitoring display
– Automatic oil change indicator and MDS “Fuel Saver Mode” message
– Running boards now body colour
– Available ParkView rear backup camera
– Available MyGIG entertainment system, with or without navigation system
– Available Popular Equipment Group II package with rear-seat video system, UConnect and remote start
– 3.92 axle ratio now only available with Trailer Tow Group
– Exterior Light Sandstone Metallic replaces Light Khaki Metallic

Now in its second year, the Aspen remains Chrysler’s first and only SUV; it’s based on the Dodge Durango and was designed primarily for the U.S. market, where dealers seldom sell all brands, and where Chrysler stores wanted a Durango equivalent. Subsequently, American buyers can choose from a variety of engines and trim lines, while Canada gets only the range-topping Aspen Limited with three-row seating, which slots it a notch above the Durango Limited.

The Aspen uses a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which seamlessly shuts off half the cylinders under light load for improved fuel economy, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, and full-time all-wheel drive system with low range.

Features include 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, curtain airbags for all three rows, automatic dual-zone temperature control, leather seats with first- and second-row heating, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power adjustment, garage door opener, vehicle information centre, compass, power locks with keyless entry, fog lamps, laminated front and rear door glass, automatic headlamps, power liftgate, power-adjustable pedals with memory, heated mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear park assist system, premium CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary jack and SIRIUS satellite radio, roof rack side rails, running boards, security alarm, cruise control, leather-wrapped wheel, power sunroof, and front and rear intermittent wipers.

More than just a gussied-up Durango, the Aspen is a smooth-riding truck that quietly coddles its passengers while soaking up road imperfections. The third row, while still limited, is roomier and more comfortable than most, and is easy to access, while the second row offers lots of space. The abundance of chrome and burled wood inside may be a little too old-fashioned for some, but the fit and finish and quality of materials is above average for the company.

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