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Bankrate's 2008 Car Guide
Going green
Saving cash while saving the planet is great but is it cost-effective and the right move for you?
Green is beautiful
Number of hybrid choices soar

More hybrid choices
Cadillac Escalade Lexus RX 400h
Chevrolet Malibu Mazda Tribute
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra Nissan Altima
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon Saturn Aura
Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango Saturn Vue/ Vue 2 Mode Hybrid
Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner Toyota Camry
Honda Civic Toyota Highlander
Lexus GS 450h Toyota Prius
Lexus LS 600h L
Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango

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.

-- Posted: Aug. 4, 2008
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