The 2008 Chysler Aspen is Chrysler's first entry into the SUV marketplace and it does this by way of a shared body-on-frame construction with its stablemate, the Dodge Durango.
A carryover design from 2007, the 2008 Aspen is decidedly upscale from its smaller brother, the crossover Pacifica, yet maintains the family resemblance with its wide grille, distinctive Chrysler winged logo and front-to-back hood ridges as seen on the Crossfire and Sebring.
Designed to impress, everything about the Aspen says, "BIG". Full length running boards span the distance between substantially flared wheel-arches filled with the standard 18-inch or optional 20-inch chrome clad cast aluminum wheels shod with massive all-terrain, all-season tires.
Our Limited Aspen came through with the larger of two optional V8s, the 5.7 liter Hemi that puts out 345 horsepower and 375 pound feet of torque. Chrysler mitigates the thirsty nature of the big V8 with its MDS System that shifts from 8 cylinders to 4 during cruising and light acceleration. A column mounted shift lever controls the standard 5-speed automatic transmission regardless which engine you choose. If you opt for the towing package like the one that came on our test vehicle you'll also get 3.92 rear axle gearing. The Aspen comes with large, 13-inch 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and stability control.
Occupants are treated to leather and wood trim with all the options expected in an upscale SUV: Multiple power accessories, high end audio, plus navigation and communication systems. Second row passengers enjoy the ceiling mounted DVD player through individual headsets. Seating is flexible, providing various configurations for up to 8 passengers or 102 cubic feet of cargo.
MSRP for the base Aspen Limited 4x4 is $34,880. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 14 MPG city, and 19 highway, pretty good for this big, brawny and muscular entry into the SUV market.