Though they have a few differences in body and styling, Daimler-Chrysler's sibling SUVs will be largely indistinguishable under the hoods of their new hybrid models, due out for the 2009 model year.
Chrysler says the Aspen Hybrid will be the more elegant, well-appointed vehicle, and the Dodge Durango Hybrid the tougher, more durable one.
Priced several thousand dollars below comparable hybrid SUVs, Chrysler officials hope their first foray into the hybrid SUV market can make a splash starting at about $45,000.
The power plant of the Chrysler SUVs combines a 5.7-liter, eight-cylinder engine with a 300-volt electric motor. Using Chrysler's MDS, or multi-displacement system, the engine can switch between four and eight cylinders to either milk more miles per gallon or more power to boost performance.
The Aspen and Durango will be able to operate in an electric-only mode, a gasoline-only mode, or some combination of gas and electric, depending on which would be most efficient.
Both come with standard four-wheel drive and can tow 6,000 pounds. The EPA hasn't issued fuel efficiency numbers on the vehicles yet, but company estimates show the hybrid models will use 25 percent less fuel than their gasoline-only counterparts.