This is a peculiar situation for Chrysler, one that is particularly hard to explain or understand. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has plenty of crossovers and utility vehicles on offer, yet the luxury brand misses out on this body style. Adding insult to injury, the Aspen used to be a rebadged Dodge Durango.
Produced from the 2007 to 2009 model year and discontinued over sluggish sales, the truck-based SUV was available in only one trim – the Limited - featuring seating for eight people, RWD, and optional four-wheel drive. When Dodge introduced the third generation of the Durango, Chrysler didn’t join the party although the mid-size SUV is selling rather well.
Having given a context to Chrysler’s lack of foresight, design artist Kleber Silva recently took matters into his own hands. The Aspen he rendered serves as a “what if” that looks decidedly front-wheel drive, probably because it borrows a lot from the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus for the side profile. As for the front fascia, the lower grille has some Jeep Grand Cherokee to it.
Be it a front- or rear-wheel-drive platform, a modernized Aspen would help Chrysler financially by attracting new customers to the brand. A seven-seat configuration would also be interesting, pitting the Aspen against the likes of the Acura MDX, GMC Acadia, and Infiniti QX60. On the other hand, a three-row configuration for the mid-size utility vehicle also means that the newcomer would cannibalize the Pacifica and Voyager.
Speaking of minivans, have you heard that Dodge pulled the plug on the Grand Caravan? Production ended in May 2020, and in its place, the Voyager and the Durango with the third-row bench serve as the alternatives.
To understand how bad Chrysler is doing these days, we need to look back at the Capital Markets Day presentation from 2018. The Jeep, Maserati, Ram, and Alfa Romeo brands rolled out product plans spanning until 2022, yet Chrysler was left out with no explanation whatsoever.
Though the revival of the Aspen makes a lot of sense given the popularity of utility vehicles in North America, it appears that FCA isn’t willing to bolster the brand with a commercially successful product.