2015 Dodge Journey R/T Blacktop road test and review.
I remember fondly my experience in the Dodge Journey last year and how surprised I was by it, so I was glad to get behind the wheel of one again.
In my hot little hands this time round were the keys to the 2015 Dodge Journey R/T Blacktop a special edition model with an black exterior package on the existing Journey R/T.
For only an extra $1000 you get a glossy black grille with the distinctive Dodge cross, lower fascia, glossy black mirrors, roof rails and, my favourite, 19” aluminium wheels.
This is addition to the standard features of the R/T all for a nice round figure of $40,000.
A remarkably low price when you consider the drive, interior comfort and features included in this offering.
Under the bonnet is a 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine which really delivers some get up and go for a car this size coupled with the six-speed automatic gearbox.
It makes full use of the 206kW and 342Nm providing sharp acceleration which can be a little too touchy and needs more foot control to prevent it from jumping out of the box.
There is plenty of power, and though it is quiet in the cabin, you can hear the engine working. The suspension is satisfactory and therefore the ride, but braking could be a bit more responsive.
Manoeuvrability too is a stand out with the smooth and very light power steering which may even be considered too light and lacks precision. Though it makes moving a car this size around very easy especially at lower speeds.
Back to the features and the Journey R/T is equipped with and 8” touch screen with satnav, Alpine stereo system, built in DVD player for the rear passengers, push button start, reversing camera and sensors and dual zone climate control.
Comfort-wise, the seats are lined with a smooth leather trim and front seats are heated and powered while leather also envelopes the steering wheel.
The handbrake was set very tight and hard to pull up and you didn’t have to pull it far giving the impression it wasn’t engaged. I also found it weird not having a foot rest for the left foot.
Optional extras like a sunroof will incur an outlay of $2000 or $500 for premium paint.
The model I was in had a total of seven seats with the two extra seat costing $1500 which is a great option to increase capacity.
The third row is easy to put up and down with release straps and passengers seated here will be comfortable enough as it’s not as cramped as some other models. You’ll be cool with air vents mounted in the roof and a better view of the DVD screen.
And there are still the handy underfloor storage boxes beneath the rear passenger’s floor mats and the compartment under the front passenger’s seat, making full use of available space.
Some fantastic additions to the new model over the old one are the inclusion of rear a/c controls mounted along with the DVD player on the roof and built in booster seats for young children.
Just pull on the strap at the front of the 2nd row seat and the front portion will flip up onto the back portion making the seat higher and removing need to buy an aftermarket third party seat. A creative feature more cars really should have.
Illuminating the road ahead are halogen headlamps though a much preferable inclusion would have been LED lights.
And speaking of lights, the electrochromic mirror is always a welcome addition but this particular one doesn’t seem to have a switch and you can’t chose to turn it off when needed.
Still the only real blight on the otherwise all-rounded offering is the fuel economy. The Dodge pumped out a hefty 13L/100km which is somewhat more than reasonable.
It also doesn’t possess an safety rating from ANCAP, although it does have a full set of airbags, ABS, ESC and traction control.
But don’t let that take away from the fact this is a great SUV that could easily serve as a family car. With a spacious cabin, plenty of smart storage, extra seats and a DVD player - not to mention the great drive - you won’t have anyone complaining.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Dodge Journey R/T Blacktop
Engine: 3.6 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW and 342Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Warranty: 3 year/100,000km
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $40,000