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2015 Dodge Journey Review By Steve Purdy

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2015 Dodge Journey


By Steve Purdy
Michigan Bureau

We last reviewed the 5-passenger Dodge Journey some years ago before this current generation and we were not impressed. That one came out in 2008 and was rather cheap and tawdry both inside and out, as well as being seriously underpowered. Bravo for Dodge in bringing this mid-size, three-row-optional, 5- or 7-passenger crossover up to date both aesthetically and functionally in 2011. The redesign, impressively, happened not long after the company came out of bankruptcy. Our all-wheel drive test vehicle is nicely appointed and with the bigger of two engines, much better interior and thoughtful chassis improvements it performs very well indeed.

This Journey comes in seven models, from the bottom end “American Value Package” starting at $20,695 with the 4-cylinder engine, seating for 5 and antiquated 4-speed automatic transmission to the full-zoot “R/T” starting at just over $31,000. Our tester is the “Crossroad” model starting at $26,595 and representing the fifth of the seven trim levels. This one also happens to be loaded with extras like: Seating Group (second row tilt, slide and fold), third row seat, heated seats and steering wheel, remote start, premium sound, navigation, rear seat entertainment and power sun roof. The list is much longer but those are the major elements. Our sticker shows just shy of $36,000 on the bottom line.

Exterior styling and design will turn no heads even in the rich blue of our tester. It is rather boxy, as you might expect with a crossover that, by its very nature, must maximize interior volume. Character lines and other styling niceties are minimal. The characteristic Dodge cross-hatch grille leaves no doubt as to its brand. The overall styling is undistinguished but reasonably attractive except for a jutting chin-like trim element below the grille that looks exaggerated, almost like a push bar. The medium-tall stance and trucky profile contribute to its identity and purpose. Our Crossroad model comes with 19-inch painted aluminum wheels giving it a meaty and dramatic look.

Most improved over the past version is the Journey’s interior. The design is incrementally improved and the materials are much nicer than the past generation including softer touch materials on the dash and door panels. Stitching in the door panels hint at upscale values. Knobs continue to be used where they are most efficient and the 8.4-inch infotainment/navigation screen is well designed with large icons and mostly intuitive functions. Seating is generous and comfortable, though I’d not want to have to wedge into the third row seats. Those should be reserved for little people and pets. Access to the third row, though, is easier than most with pull straps to fold the second row out of the way. Fold both the third and second row seatbacks out of the way and you’ll have over 67 square feet of cargo space – better than a few in the class, less than others.

Two powertrains are available in the 4,200-pound Journey – a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with modest power and this PentaStar 3.6-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The latter was rated as one of Ward’s Autoworld’s 10 Best engines in 2012 and 2013 for good reason. It is smooth and efficient as well as being versatile enough to power everything from the Charger and the Chrysler 300 to this Journey. With a decent 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque the high-tech engine is rated at 24 mpg on the highway and 16 in the city. Those are not great numbers but considering the size and capability of the Journey they are not too bad. We averaged just over 21 in our week of mixed driving. The 4-cylinder engine rates only one click better on the highway mileage. With a 20.5-gallon fuel tank we have close to a 500-mile cruising range.

On the road we found the V6 engine and this well-managed transmission to be a fine combination. While it did not downshift as quickly as some when trying to accelerate from 50-mph cruise by just punching the go pedal, it was quick enough when using the manual mode on the shifter. Off the line with your foot in it we get a different impression. First and second gears come on quickly and strong making an impressive 0-to-60 time of just over 7 seconds – not bad for this type of vehicle.

Considerable chassis and suspension updates during the last update make for tighter handling and a more controlled ride. It is very well balanced between firmness and comfort.

With the V6 engine and a trailering package you can tow up to 2,500 pounds and you can get the trailer sway control function as well.

The Dodge new vehicle warranty covers the Journey for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 100,000 miles.

As we spent our week with the Journey we got well acquainted and thought it would be an easy vehicle to live with, particularly for us older folks. With easy ingress and egress, a reasonable level of luxury, excellent performance all around, good cargo capacity and conservative looks it could suit us well. There are many choices in this segment, some with more panache, some with more sophistication, many pricier.

This one should be on your shopping list.

ęSteve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved