Chrysler announced in 2008 that they would be introducing the Dodge Durango Hybrid to their lineup for the new model year. This would be the most recent update to the maker's full size SUV line.
The Dodge Durango first came on the scene over ten years ago in 1998 as a replacement for the Ramcharger. Since that time, the Durango has become wildly popular and developed quite a large following. Throughout the years of its production, the Durango has become one of the best selling seven passenger SUVs on the market.
In 2004, Dodge decided that the Durango was due for a makeover. Sales had begun to level off, and it was time to inject some life into the model. The exterior design was changed to a more bold and imposing look. The overall appearance turned out to be more rugged and well suited to an off road vehicle. This redesign rejuvenated the line's popularity, and sales began to rise again. Over the next couple of years, the Durango outsold almost every other vehicle in its class. One of the reasons for the Durango's popularity and broad appeal was the many different trim packages that it offered. There was a version to suit almost every need that a consumer might have.
In 2007, the Dodge Durango underwent another facelift. The exterior appearance was smoothed out a bit; giving it a sleeker, sportier look. This is also when the Durango was given the signature 5.7 liter V8 HEMI engine. Unfortunately, rising gas prices began to show up as reduced sales for most producers of SUVs. People just couldn't afford to keep fuel in these larger vehicles anymore. Even the Durango's large following and immense popularity couldn't keep the numbers up.
All of this has led to the introduction of the Dodge Durango Hybrid. Many automakers have begun to join in the green movement that has become so popular of late. Several of them have produced hybrid models of some of their most popular automobiles. Basically, a hybrid is a vehicle that has at least one other power source besides a fuel burning engine. These other systems can take many different forms, but the most common are some type of electrical battery system. The goal is to make vehicles less dependent on fuel, which saves money and helps the environment.
The Durango Hybrid incorporates a 2-mode styled hybrid system that assists in energy savings by using a 4-speed, electrically variable automatic transmission, with the NiMH 300-volt storage battery, a 5.7-liter 345-hp Hemi V8 engine and two electric 87-hp motors. This Dodge Hybrid also comes equipped with innovative MDS, which helps the consumer to conserve fuel by shutting down four of the cylinders.
Chrysler's hope is that the move to hybrid technology will bring back the buyers that left because of the high gas prices. With the economic crunch that the automakers find themselves in, however, it has been rumored that Dodge may be shutting down the plant that makes the Durango. Only time will tell how this will all work out.