When it’s not quite a wagon and not quite an SUV, then it’s a crossover. Dodge takes its first attempt at the segment with the Journey.
The Journey is based on the same D-segment platform as the Avenger; it is a new crossover utility vehicle that fits in between the compact Caliber and Grand Caravan. The Journey provides the passenger space of a minivan, the effectiveness of an SUV and has a large amount of storage bins and spaces.
The Journey was first introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto show. Sales begin with this 2009 model, which was first released to the public last March. The Journey R/T is a crossover that has an almost identical wheelbase to the short-wheelbase Chrysler minivans that it replaces. This 3,800 lb crossover is powered by a 3.5 liter High Output V6 engine. This engine produces 232 horsepower, and is matted to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is the largest engine available on the Journey models. The base Journey trim, which is known as the Journey SE, is powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine.
The Journey hides its tall wagon nature well with its sculpted front end, bold fenders and its simple and clean body.
The front end is the most attractive feature of this exterior. The front of the Journey gives off muscularity, with a signature Dodge crosshair chrome grille and Ram’s-head decal in between quad-halogen headlamps and the available fog lamps.
At the side, it’s hard to miss these large fenders, which are accented by these standard 19 inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels. If you prefer smaller wheels, I don’t know why you really would; you can also choose to have standard 16 inch 6 spoke wheel cover. The overall side view of the Journey is bold but simple.
The rear of the crossover is rounded out. It features a small spoiler at the top of the lift gate. This spoiler is accented by a small rear stop light. The taillights are large, along with the dual exhaust, which adds a more aggressive look.
Overall, the exterior of the Journey R/T is fairly large. It has an aggressive look, with its sculpted wheel arches and angled beltline giving it a sportier, SUV-like appearance.
The interior looks better than the other recent Chrysler vehicles, but the Journey could be even nicer if it had a bit better plastics, and less noticeable seat tracks.
However, from the drivers view, everything looks good. The slanted center console is easy to reach. The center console has all the basic controls that you would find on car most cars in this price class, like the climate and radio controls. These buttons are pretty straight forward, but are can be distracting because they are not distinctive to the touch.
The inside of the Journey R/T is lined with soft-skin paneling, and chrome trim accents. This is also available in cloth. The steering wheel is leather wrapped and mounted with the radio controls.
The instrument cluster is small and has three basic dials. Like with the rest of the interior pieces, it works well but it could be more eye appealing.
Our seats are two-toned and leather-trimmed. The second row offers some unique features for the class including the ability to slide and recline. Also unique is the ability to have heater in the first two rows of seats.
The most innovative part of the Journey’s interior is the storage. Our Journey features what Dodge calls “flip n’ stow”, which has a storage bin under the front passenger seat cushion. There is storage bins on the front floor of the second row that can also double as a cooler (holding a twelve-pack and ice.) Chrysler gave the Journey one more storage compartment in the Cargo area. The bin, just like the others, is located in the rear floor. This is the largest of all the storage compartments in this crossover. The cool thing about this hidden storage is that it can be reversed, and configures into a grocery bag position to hold all your bags in place.
To make it even better, the third row seats, second row seats, and passenger seat all fold down flat, giving you about 113 inches of cargo space.
Overall, the interior of the Dodge Journey R/T has plenty of space. Which is what every family needs in there crossover. The interior is simple and convenient, it proves plenty of storage.
When test driving the Journey R/T, you will enjoy all the benefit of a crossover - a high seat with a good view on the road, while keeping a car-like ride. Stiffer suspension and sharper steering of the R/T model improve the driving pleasure, bringing the experience closer to driving a large size sedan. Our car is very sharp and quick to respond to the driver’s actions but the sporty feeling comes with a price. At lower speed, the steering becomes heavy and the suspensions make you feel every pothole in the road.
The only ergonomic problem with the drive was an issue with the location of the brake pedal. Located very high off the ground, the pedal doesn’t allow you to keep your heel planted to the floor while braking. It’s a small detail that can equal a big pain in heavy traffic.
Our Journey R/T was equipped with the powerful V6 engine that produces 232 horsepower matted to a six speed automatic transmission, with shifttronic manual simulation. Even with this 6 speed transmission the fuel economy was not exceptional at 16 city / 23 highway. On the bright side, the semi-automatic transmission was fairly quick and deliver its dose of fun and excitement. While driving in fully automatic mode, the powerful engine is tamed, and gives off more of a comfort drive.
Overall the Journey is very pleasant drive and is a worthy first attempt by Dodge in the crossover market. We enjoyed our R/T model, but with the reality of gas prices, those of you who would want to embark on long road trips might want to consider the slightly more economic 2.4-liter engine, offering 19 MPG city and 25 MPG highway.
In conclusion the Dodge Journey R/T is a crossover that is built like a SUV. This is great for families who want the functionality and comfort of the SUV but in a smaller and more stylish form. The starting price for the Dodge Journey R/T is $25,900.
Our Test vehicle has the price of $29,900, because it has the convince group package number 2, the 5+2 seating group package, the trailer tow prep group package, a power sunroof, and 6 premium infinity premium speakers with a subwoofer. So for under 30 grand we had a car that was easy to live with when the family is growing.