The Dodge Journey is a family-friendly type of vehicle that we found to be very user-friendly. A midsize crossover sport-utility, the Journey offers the cargo and passenger space of an SUV but with the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car. The keys to this balance is its carlike unitbody structure, which is lighter than a truck chassis, fitted with front-wheel drive and a carlike suspension.
Most models come with a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 235 horsepower. The V6 offers plenty of power for driving around town, a 3500-pound towing capacity, and decent passing punch. The base model comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We feel the base four-cylinder engine is rough and noisy and offers too little power for a vehicle of this size. The Journey is available with all-wheel drive for superior traction and confidence in bad weather.
Interior versatility is where the Journey shines. It comes standard with seating for five and a big cargo space, but the Journey is available with seating for seven. Filling the Journey with adults won't make all your passengers happy, but the rear seat should work well for children. Seats flip and fold to provide a wide range of versatility in hauling people, cargo, or both. The Journey offers a fold-flat front passenger seat that will allow loading items up to nine feet long. It features some unique storage solutions owners will find useful. Among them: a bin under the front passenger seat, storage under the floor in the second row and behind the last row of seats, a dual glove box with Dodge's Chill Zone that cools soda cans, and all the usual cubbies up front, including a fairly deep center console. Entertainment options are plentiful, as the Journey has a six-disc CD changer standard and offers a hard-drive radio and a rear DVD entertainment system.
For 2010, changes include improved fuel economy for the V6 engine, a fuel-saver lamp in the instrument cluster, driver and front-passenger active head restraints, a larger nine-inch video entertainment screen, and a new Dark Slate interior color. New as standard on all models are remote keyless entry and four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. There have also been several changes to the options packages.
With prices starting around $20,000, the Journey offers affordable utility. We recommend the V6 engine, which provides that extra margin of power that many buyers will want. Be careful when it comes to options, though, as it is possible to get the Journey over $30,000, money that can buy larger and more refined SUVs.