Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Dodge Journey R/T.
It’s ironic that the Dodge brand has just the one vehicle in its Australian line-up and it’s a model that’s also available in essentially exactly the same form with a Fiat badge!
All part of the Fiat-Chrysler brand, the Dodge offering and the Fiat Freemont do differ in engine choices, the Fiat comes with both petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines, the Dodge is V6 only.
Interesting the Fiat is built in the United States and the Dodge Journey is screwed together in Mexico (welcome to the global car manufacturing industry!).
That V6 engine under the bonnet of the Journey is the same Pentastar unit you would find in a number of other models, including the Chrysler 300 and Jeep Wrangler. Total output is a healthy 206kW and 342Nm.
While fuel consumption is only what you would call reasonable (I averaged 12.5L/100kms in city driving), the Journey exhibits plenty of get-up-and-go and has more than enough low-down grunt.
Thus, this is a family car that really is quite enjoyable to drive. Matched with a six-speed auto transmission, the Dodge is an easy vehicle to drive with suitably weighted steering, impressive handling and a more than comfortable ride.
The Journey also boasts a quite reasonable turning circle.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is generally very good – though very chunky ‘A’ pillars do mean you need to take care when approaching intersections.
Available in two specification levels – entry-level SXT (priced from $32,500) and the premium R/T (from $36,500), I had the more expensive offering. Wow, what a well-stacked vehicle this is!
The R/T features attractive 19” alloys, heated front seats, Alpine stereo system, sat-nav, reversing camera, roof-mounted DVD player, leather seats and push button ignition with keyless entry.
To go with all these features you get a roomy cabin, plenty of rear cargo space and easy access to the rear seats with doors that open out almost 90 degrees!
It you want to take the Journey’s five-seat configuration to seven-seats, its a $1500 option.
I was fascinated and very pleased with the smart storage areas the Journey offers, including under the base of the front passenger seat and beneath the floor in the cargo area and under the rear passengers feet.
Interestingly though the rear of the passenger seat doesn’t have a storage pocket, the driver’s seat does (weird). Still, if you don’t have enough in-cabin storage you can always utilize the quite sturdy feeling roof racks.
Throughout the cabin the fit and finish is generally quite good, though the rubber strip under the transmission selector had noticeably moved out of position and this was a minor let-down.
With comfortable seats, simple air-conditioning controls, massive centre touchscreen, clear and easy to read gauges and driver info screen, I really didn’t find anything about the Journey that I didn’t like.
As yet there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Dodge Journey (or Fiat Freemont).
Summing it up: This is one vehicle well worth checking out! It’s a family car that provides spirited driving and plenty of standard features, without breaking the bank.
Perhaps the seven seats should be standard, but with already competitive pricing an additional $1500 for the third-row is more than reasonable in my opinion.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.6 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW and 342Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Not tested