Daimler Chrysler has promised such a truck before, but it is in a much better position to turn this into a feasible project this time around, especially given its new commitment to develop hybrid drive systems with GM. The last attempt at such a vehicle, the Durango TTR, was abandoned in 2002 after the powertrain system failed to deliver the desired fuel economy. Given its failure, it’s doubtful that we’ll be seeing the front wheels powered by an electric motor and the rear with a conventional gasoline version on this second issue.
The Durango will be offered with a hybrid powertrain in the 2008 calendar year. Engineers modified the floor, second-row seats and electrical system in the 2007 model to pave the way for the new engine.
The Durango Hybrid Electric Vehicle will be powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. Dodge anticipates a 25 percent fuel-economy boost. The hybrid powertrain was jointly developed by DaimlerChrysler AG, General Motors and the BMW Group.
The 2007 Durango equipped with a 4.7-liter V-8 is E85 ethanol compatible, earning a flexible-fuel vehicle designation, the company says. Drivers can operate the vehicle on E85 ethanol, gasoline or any mixture of the two, Dodge says. The E85-compatible engine is standard on all four-wheel-drive Durangos.
Dodge will show a face-lifted 2007 Durango that goes on sale in August.