Dodge Journey is a midsize sport-utility that combines the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car with the cargo space and roominess of an SUV. Journey seats five or seven, depending on options. Prices are appealing, too. Chrysler has claimed the Dodge Journey to be the most affordable seven-seat crossover sold in the U.S.
Not much has changed for 2015, except that the available SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link now includes five years of free service. The Journey Crossroad model, introduced for 2014 with mesh-insert leather seats and 19-inch black aluminum wheels, continues into the 2015 model year. So does the Limited model, as well as the SE V6 edition with all-wheel drive, which debuted during the 2014 season. Journey first appeared as a 2009 model.
Dodge Journey offers plenty of choices: four or six cylinders, five or seven seats, basic trim or full-lux leather. Like most crossovers, it comes with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which adds confidence in bad weather. Journey is considered a crossover vehicle because it uses a lightweight unit-body structure similar to that used by cars, instead of a body-on-frame truck chassis.
Up-level models are powered by the same modern 3.6-liter V6 that’s become ubiquitous in Chrysler Group vehicles. It has plenty of power but is ill-matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it feel less powerful than it actually is. The V6 produces 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm, 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.
Standard Journey motivation comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We found the four-cylinder engine rough and noisy, with too little power for a vehicle of this size.
Inside is where the Journey shines. Its interior design and materials give it one of the nicest cockpits in the class. Seating for five is standard, with a two-passenger third row optional. Either way it has useful, though not class-leading, cargo space. 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 ample versatility for 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 that owners should 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 CD player standard and offers a rear DVD entertainment system and a hard-drive radio.
Journey R/T models come with perforated leather seats, a dimpled leather heated steering wheel and dimpled shift knob, red accent stitching on the steering wheel and a performance suspension for even more responsive handling.
We recommend the V6 engine, which provides that extra margin of power that many buyers will want, as well as much more refinement. Be careful when it comes to options, though, as it’s easy to boost the Journey past $30,000.