2007 Chrysler Aspen Performance
This performance review was written when the 2007 Chrysler Aspen was new.
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen is a capable, but not fantastic performer, according to most reviews. Despite some shortcomings, clever engineering helps the Aspen get excellent fuel economy, even from the larger, optional engine. Kelley Blue Book says, "Ironically, the bigger engine provides not only more power but also better fuel economy."
The Aspen comes equipped with a 235-horsepower V8, with an optional 335-horsepower Hemi V8 available. Kelley Blue Book says, "Ironically, the bigger engine provides not only more power but also better fuel economy." Engineers at Chrysler took gas prices into account when designing the vehicle. Car and Driver notes, "Chrysler gets its version of this tough, body-on-frame truck. Both are available with a 335-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi, which comes with cylinder deactivation, which shuts off four of the eight cylinders when not needed and improves mpg."
The Chrysler Aspen also provides improved handling from its corporate cousin, the Dodge Durango, but many reviewers felt that, compared to others in its class, the Aspen lacks controlled and responsive handling. In terms of steering, MSN says, "the test Aspen, a Limited model with two-wheel drive and the up level HEMI V8, rode smoothly and pleasantly on all manner of roads, with no jarring and no jolting."
Acceleration and Power
The 2007 Chrysler Aspen has a standard 4.7-liter V8 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, as well as a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine option. Consumer Guide says "The 4.7-liter V8 is strong off the line, but lacks passing/merging punch."
If buyers can swing the extra money, most reviewers say there's really no incentive not to buy the HEMI, as it offers more "go," more "tow," and "better fuel economy than the smaller engine," according to Kelley Blue Book. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman reports, "I drove the Hemi, which is potent and smooth and does not feel like excessive muscle, since this is a heavy truck." With this enhanced engine, the Chrysler Aspen can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 7.2 to 8.8 seconds.
The MDS (Multi-Displacement System) technology in the HEMI V8 results in improved fuel economy, even while towing heavy loads. Automobile.com reports, "The beefy V8 can pull as strongly as needed nine times out of ten, but when cruising under light loads it can shut down four of the engines eight cylinders to reduce fuel consumption and therefore harmful emissions by up to 20 percent." In terms of fuel economy, EPA ratings for the 5.7-liter V8 are 13 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway. For the 4.7-liter engine, they are 13 in the city and 17 on the highway.
Regarding the five-speed automatic transmission, Kelley Blue Book says, "The optional 5.7-liter V8 and five-speed automatic transmission combination is smooth and powerful." MotorWeek reports "Shifts were smooth and programmed with luxury in mind. "
Braking and Handling
Reviews on the Aspen's handling are mixed. Cars.com thinks "The steering feels well-boosted -- I easily wound the wheel with one hand -- and, as has become the norm for this class, there's very little feedback." Edmunds reports, "Body roll is moderate for a 5000-pound SUV, and once you find a groove, you can get around corners more quickly than you might expect. Ride quality is as plush as ever." Kelley Blue Book agrees: "Too big to be agile, the Aspen nonetheless handles with sure stability."
Other reviewers felt that the Aspen's handling wasn't as good as others in its class. New Car Test Drive says "ride and handling attributes are more mediocre than marvelous." Carz Unlimited specifically says the Mercury "Mountaineer offers better handling dynamics."
Because the Aspen is tuned for a luxurious ride, the Autoweb bridged the two camps, describing the Aspen's handling as "a fat, friendly drunk at a wedding: a little sloppy, but with good intentions all the way around."reports "handling suffers as a result, with a numb feeling and significant body sway around town, and a floating sensation on the highway. Passengers may feel coddled, but the driver will feel likes he's piloting a cruise liner." The seconds that take, describing the handling as "floaty and imprecise, even for a 5,300-pound SUV."
Reviewers found the Aspen's braking more than adequate. Cars.com reports "The Aspen's four-wheel-disc brakes have standard ABS. They felt mushy, but did their job when called upon. Hard stops are accompanied by some chassis dive, and afterward it can take the engine a moment or two to start crawling forward again." Edmunds is less kind about the brakes, saying "Pedal feel is vague and stopping distances feel long, even for a truck."
Though a four-wheel-drive optional is available, the Aspen is not meant for rugged off-road driving. Car and Driver observes that "in fact, the thought of this thing covered in mud is sort of hilarious. Nah, next to the Durango, the Aspen is an aristocrat, a pampered princess that will never let its driver feel underdressed."