The beauty of Durango is its ability to be many things to all people. The 2009 Durango HEMI® Hybrid takes that a step further with its two-mode system that integrates a hybrid-electric drive — which reduces fuel consumption by almost 54 percent while running errands in town — with the brute power of a 5.7L HEMI® V8 for towing and highway driving.
The seamless shifting between these two transmission modes delivers fuel-efficient performance and makes Durango HEMI® Hybrid just plain fun to drive.
- In the first mode, the engine is shut off while the electric motor provides the acceleration without using a drop of fuel.
- In the second mode, the electric motor "tag teams" with the HEMI® V8, providing the needed power for highway speeds, passing, driving steep grades and towing up to 6,000 pounds.
Multi-Displacement System (MDS)
Fuel efficiency, an inherent byproduct of the two-mode system, is also an integral part of the HEMI® V8 engine itself. A Multi-Displacement System (MDS) allows the Durango HEMI® Hybrid to do something traditional hybrids cannot – increase efficiency after switching to automatic transmission mode. When cruising at highway speeds, MDS deactivates half of the cylinders, making the mighty V8 a fuel-efficient four-cylinder. The payoff is an increased overall fuel economy of nearly 25 percent.
The beauty of Hybrid technology is its efficient use of energy. The Durango HEMI® Hybrid harnesses energy that would normally be wasted during driving and works it back into the system.
When Durango HEMI® Hybrid is idling slowly, or when the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, energy is produced and used to recharge the battery pack. For top fuel efficiency, the electric motor generates electricity when the brakes are applied and stores and uses that energy to accelerate the vehicle during stop-and-go traffic and to assist the gas engine when necessary. This Regenerative Braking System works seamlessly with standard Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and an electronically controlled transfer case to ensure maximum control.
Hybrid instrumentation keeps the driver informed of HEMI® Hybrid's functions. These easy-to-read gauges indicate whether the vehicle is charging and which mode it is in, allowing the driver to monitor and maintain optimal fuel efficiency.
Dodge Durango Hybrid
Edmunds review of the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid:
Did you ever think you would see "hybrid" and "Durango" in the same sentence? Probably not, but the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid is the real deal. It's a full hybrid, which means it can run on electric power just like a Prius, yet it can also seat eight and pull your boat just like any other Durango.
How does it do it? It's all in the transmission, in this case a two-mode transmission developed jointly with BMW, GM and Mercedes-Benz. If that seems like a lot of companies coming together just to build a transmission, you would be right. It's indicative of the extensive technology involved with this system, and, yes, it's the same system used in the new 2008 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid.
In its most basic form, the Durango's two-mode system combines a standard 5.7-liter Hemi V8, two electric motors and a very sophisticated transmission that manages all the power. In the low-speed mode of the two-mode system, the Durango will shut down completely at a stop and runs on electric power only at low speeds. In other words, when you're sitting in traffic, this Durango is more like a giant, Hemi-powered Prius.
At higher speeds, the Durango's V8 kicks in its 345 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Together with the electric motors, Dodge says there's a total of 385 hp on tap. It's enough to give the Durango a 6,000-pound tow rating along with an expected 25 percent improvement in highway fuel mileage. In the city, Dodge says the Durango will deliver 40 percent better fuel economy than the standard gasoline version. Given the 4WD model's EPA numbers of 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway, expect the hybrid version to get just over 18 mpg in the city and around 22 mpg on the highway.
Production of the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid begins this summer. No pricing has been announced, but expect to pay a premium of several thousand dollars over the current V8 models.