The headline of Chrysler's press release pretty much says it: "Chrysler's First SUV is Industry's First Full-Size SUV With Trailer Sway Control." Many automakers have loaded up their SUVs with ways to make hauling trailers easier and safer, like General Motors' Quadra-Steer technology (which unfortunately went by the wayside starting with the 2006 model year), but Chrysler claims that this innovation is the first of its kind.
Like Electronic Stability Control, sensors monitor a driver's intended path and compare that with what the vehicle is actually doing. When the trailer following the vehicle starts to sway, the sensors gauge whether the sway is as a result of the driver's intended steering input, and if not, engages the opposing front brake to counteract the sway. When the sway continues on the other side of the vehicle, the other front brake is applied, eventually eliminating the problem.
The Aspen hit the floor of the North American International Auto Show earlier this year with mixed reviews -- many critics thought the beast was ugly and represented a bad move for Chrysler as SUV sales tanked thanks to high gas prices. Chrysler dealers were clamoring for an SUV, however, and the sharp interior, distinctive Chrysler styling (complete with Crossfire-esque ridges on the hood) and high level of utility may go a long way in giving Chrysler the edge it needs to make a profit comeback for the second half of the year.
Trailer Sway Control will also be extended to the Aspen's stable mate, the 2007 Dodge Durango.