Garry Fabian road tests and reviews the 2014 Dodge Journey.
When the Dodge Journey launched in the US some five years ago, it seemed compelling because of its tidy size and clever interior, which had innovative under-floor storage and optional 7-passenger seating.
Now with the new model, it has evolved into the vehicle it was meant to be all along thanks to the complete interior overhaul it received in 2011, which also brought a massive suspension upgrade.
While its crossover styling looks conservative on the outside, the interior design and materials remain a little staid, the available 8.4-inch touch screen is one of the best in the business. Clever touches abound, and the price is supremely competitive.
One small criticism is that the Journey is small compared with other crossovers that can hold so many people. And space is important when it comes to family cars.
What are some of the positive features that make this an attractive option? Affordable 3-row seating; clever underfloor/in-seat storage; stellar optional 8.4-in touchscreen; quality interior and a strong V6.
The Journey is offered in two versions. The SXT and the R/T
The SXT features alloy wheels, satellite radio, fog lights and a cover for the crossover’s cargo area. the sporty R/T, which adds performance-oriented features such as sport suspension and perforated leather with red stitching.
Options on most Journey models include a power sunroof, rear parking sensors, a rear DVD player, tri-zone automatic climate control (with the third-row seat) and a reversing camera. A navigation system is also available with the 8.4-in touchscreen.
The Dodge Journey comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and seven airbags (front, front side, driver knee and full-length side curtain), rear vision camera and parking sensors.
The Journey’s high driving position and angled steering column may bring school buses to mind. Fortunately, the Journey’s dynamics are much better, as this car-based crossover has no trouble navigating less than perfect roads and tight streets.
Underneath, the Journey is related to the Dodge Avenger sedan, and it shares that car’s soft, quiet ride on the highway. Big enough to be useful yet not too big, the Journey should strike many families just right.
If you want to spruce up the Journey’s performance, the R/T model’s more responsive suspension and powerful standard V6 make shuttling the kids to school quite enjoyable.
But the big technology news in the Journey is the 8.4-in touchscreen (optional on the SXT model and standard on the Limited and R/T models), which brings iPad-like crispness and ease-of-use into your driving experience. It’s one of the best infotainment interfaces on the market, and it even includes an SD-card interface to give you more options in portable media. We highly recommend it. Limited and R/T models can be ordered with integrated navigation functions, as well.
The Journey’s front seats offer mediocre support, but they do sit you up nice and high, affording an expansive view of the road. The steering column telescopes on all models, though those with long legs may still find the wheel too far away.
The materials are upscale in look and feel, and the dashboard manages to look sleek and dressy without compromising the Journey’s gauge legibility or ergonomics.
There’s still plenty of adult-friendly space in the Journey’s second row, but the available third-row seat is better suited to kids – though that’s true of any 3-row vehicle at this price other than a minivan.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.6 litre V6 producing 206kW and 342Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $32,500
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Dodge JC Journey.