In not the so distant past SUV's were meant to have utility, ruggedness, overabundance and all kinds of adjectives used to describe workmen boots. After several decades of changes we ended up in the Mercedes Benz GLA, which is as far from the original SUV concept as I could find. This is proof of how much people worship these coffee shop shuttles, and how far car makers will go to make them as desirable as any other car. Gloriously idiotic vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 makes us realize that rare and unique SUV's have a place in the car market.
Some breeds of the SUV specie though suffered from lack of interest when they were new, lack of sales when they were in the market and lack of legacy when they died. These are the still confused Full-Sized Hybrids.
Searching into them, you realize that choices were plenty (5) to fit the style of the buyer. Said buyer must have had big pockets as well. The least expensive was the Dodge Durango Hybrid, which was on purpose priced at $45 K to be cheaper than the Tahoe Hybrid. The Chrysler Aspen hybrid bumped the price by 1,000 dollars. Then, there was the Tahoe starting at $50K and its sister the Yukon at $51k. The most expensive one though was the Escalade Hybrid which costed a whopping $75 grand.
Hybrid full-size SUV' were so seemingly pointless when they were new that no one bothered to give them a second look. The appeal from these would be to have the capability to tow your sweaty, Cheeto smelling trailer to an RV camp somewhere in Montana and be able to sneak up on ferrets with its silent electric motor. A couple MPG's were also another benefit. The issue was, interior space was hurt and these power trains were complicated to engineer so the price had to be hiked up for them to be profitable. These price hikes though weren't a couple grand, but a whole 10K for a similarly equipped model.
MPG increase was at best 40%:
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade: 15 City/21 Highway
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid /GMC Yukon Hybrid /Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: 20 City/23 Highway
Dodge Durango/ Chrysler Aspen: 13 City/19 Highway
Dodge Durango Hybrid/ Chrysler Aspen Hybrid: 20 City/22 Highway
Using "fueleconomy.gov" 's calculator for fuel cost per year these figures came out:
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon/Cadillac Escalade: $2,350 per year in gas
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid /GMC Yukon Hybrid /Cadillac Escalade Hybrid: $1,800 per year in gas
Dodge Durango/ Chrysler Aspen: $2,350 per year in gas
Dodge Durango Hybrid/ Chrysler Aspen Hybrid: 20 City/22 Highway: $1,800 per year in gas
A difference of $550 Dollars a year. This means that the $10,000 dollar difference in price would pay for itself after 18 years. I am sure some people keep their trucks for long, but its hard to come by. Also, the sort of people who can afford $60k vehicles are the ones who change them when they spill coffee in the cupholders which doesn't help the case.
As if the pointlessness of their purchase didn't help with sales enough, the fact that Dodge downright canceled it after less than 1,000 units built also begs the question. Why were they ever conceived? When Dodge started filling orders and getting people hyped of their eco-friendly Hemi-Powered Peruvian bird annihilator they hadn't realized that generation of Durango was in its final year. In '09 after receiving approximately 3,000 pre-orders they decided to cut production of both the Durango and Aspen as well as cancel any other hybrid models completely. They managed to build 800 models, which makes them extremely rare.
In 2013, every single Hybrid full-sizer died a deserved death. Was the execution not as god as the expected idea? Was the increase in city MPG worth their complexity and price? Should've all those 3,000 pre-orders been built? The answer to all of these questions may vary depending on your point of view, but one thing about these brute brutes is true. As they will be running around, wearing their ghastly hybrid emblems with pride, consuming a little less fuel than their counterparts they will continue to be the some of the most rare SUV's on the planet.