The Chrysler-Dodge Hybrid
SUV has been a mythical beast at best until of late.
First teasing us in 2001
with the Dodge PowerBox Hybrid Concept SUV that has never
come into production, then of late finally announcing
that the Dodge Durango Hybrid SUV
would start rolling out in 2007 for the 2008 season.
The Dodge PowerBox Hybrid Concept SUV was unveiled at the 2001
Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The Dodge Powerbox Hybrid combined
a supercharged V6 engine that ran on compressed natural gas
(CNG) with an electric motor that added oomph during acceleration.
The Dodge PowerBox claimed environmentally-friendly status as
it was granted Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) status
and averaged the equivalent of 25 mpg (60-percent increase over
a standard Durango).
The Dodge PowerBox also had a range of 350 miles, which was
triple the range of most other CNG vehicles. It's a powerful
vehicle that really goes the distance, and even though it's
always worth getting the usual range of insurance and breakdown
cover, you'll feel like you can go for longer, and further,
than ever before. The supercharged V6 engine generates 250 hp
and drives the rear wheels while a 52 kw electric motor adds
power and drives the front wheels. The body of the PowerBox
is also lighter than most comparable vehicles as it's made with
injection-molded lightweight recyclable thermoplastic.
On the other hand, the Dodge
Durango Hybrid SUV has gone from concept to reality
as Chrysler-Dodge has announced that it will definitely
make the autumn lineup in 2007. The hybrid powertrain has
been co-developed with General Motors and has many new features
including a tire-pressure monitoring system, electronic
stability program, a one-touch lane-change signal and ultrasonic
rear park assist.
In 2006, sales of the standard Dodge Durango have been in decline.
For the first quarter, sales were down 39-percent over 2005
sales. Dodge is hoping its hybrid version of the Durango will
swoop into save the day for its sagging market as consumer sentiment
has change towards vehicles touting higher gas mileage. Only
time will tell if Chrysler-Dodge can play catch up to the hybrid
craze that is sweeping the nation.
For model year 2009, the Chrysler
Aspen Hybrid has also been announced as an SUV that
will share the same 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine with the Dodge