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Car Tech Video: 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid
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Car Tech Video: 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid

4:07 /

Brian Cooley checks the tech on the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid.

>> Yeah Dodge Durango and yep it's got a what? Hybrid and a Hemi. Let's find out if this is really the next big idea in automotive power-train technology or something that is so early 2000's. ^M00:00:16 [ Music ] ^M00:00:22 >> Now Chrysler's been doing some head units these days and this Durango Hybrid gets the benefit of that but notice the main features--really great map and Nav display, really smooth resolution rendering. Notice the green line alongside the highway there; that's part of serious, live traffic; shows you traffic and intelligently routes you based on traffic conditions. Touch screen display, nice big buttons. The one thing I like about these Chrysler products they tend to have plenty of processor behind them so when you press a button and things are going on in the background they're going on quickly. Now one of the big stars of this system though is the 30 gigabyte hard drive you've got in here; there it is HDD hard disk drive, music gets in there one of two ways; you can either open up your single optical disk slot right here which takes CD's and DVD's for playback, or you can copy music over to your system from this little USB port right here. Now you can only copy from USB, you can't play off the USB drive and of course Sirius Satellite Radio up here with a one year contract included, but speaking of serious--in the back we have the optional rear seat entertainment system with a drop down 7-inch LCD, it will play CD's and DVD's for video watching but also Sirius backseat TV which is three channels of children's programming; again one year subscription is included, that's gonna keep the kids real happy. Okay enough of that. Let's get to this Hemi Hybrid combination--5.7 liter gas V8 Hemi, big old roardy engine, coupled to what they call a dual mode Hybrid. The Hybrid electric power on the apparatus is built into the transmission--that's where this 2-mode thing comes from. It can run on electric only or electric with gas assist or straight up gas, and it also they say is optimized for regular driving as well as the heavier load work that this kind of vehicle, a body on-frame truck, will likely be called upon to do. The numbers are 399 on the horsepower, 390 foot pounds on the torque. It's a stump puller to be sure. The power goes out only one way, 5-speed column shifted automatic, top gears overdrive as you might imagine. Economy is also aided by MDS, the multi-displacement system. This V8 can shut down to being a 4 when it detects very low, low driving. You'll see an indicator here on the screen when that's happening--fuel saver mode. That means we're running on 4 cylinders right now. I've got to tell you in my driving here in the relatively Bay area, it's rarely on and you can also see here on this screen how the electric motor is kicking in whether we're regenerating to the batteries or drawing power from the batteries to power the electric drive train. Now it's all supposed to add up to really good fuel economy right? Well, it's improved but it's not gonna change your mind about SUV's I don't think. This guy's rated at 18, 19 EPA; or 19, 20 depending which Chrysler material you read. They don't all agree. The driving impression is one that is; I've got to say, not too dramatically different than a regular gas engine Hemi Chrysler product. I don't feel a really amazing pull from the electric motor helping out this big Hemi. It gets off the line really well--like a regular Hemi. So what you're really going to feel differently is in the wallet by spending less money on gas. And the ride quality is kind of floaty, kind of bouncy, there's a lot of travel under this guy. It's a true truck-based SUV and you remember that every time the whole thing does one of these over a heave in the pavement. Let's price our '09, Durango Hemi Hybrid Limited 4x4. All that costs about $46,000; major tech options about $1800 for that rear seat entertainment system. All the other toys are built in. This Hybrid comes pretty well trimmed.

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