The Dodge Journey offers wagon and crossover mash-up utility at an attractive price, but it's still outclassed by nearly all competitors.
Dodge showed up late to the midsize crossover SUV segment, finally entering the marketplace with the Dodge Journey. Offering cargo and passenger room like a larger compact SUV with the more substantial feel and third-row seating of a full-sizer, the Journey straddles the segments with a desirable blend of comfort and utility. Attractive pricing compared to its competitors is another key appeal.
Overall, though, the Journey is a mixed bag. We like it best when equipped with the optional V6 engine, an 8.4-inch touchscreen and a third-row seat, all of which make it a more satisfying car for big or growing families. But a weak standard four-cylinder engine, outdated four-speed transmission, subpar fuel economy, absent modern safety tech — even lack of Bluetooth on lower trims — make the Journey a tough sell in the face of other roomy small crossovers, especially if you don't need third-row, seven-passenger seating.
Current Dodge Journey The Dodge Journey is offered in five trim levels: the base SE, SXT, Crossroad, Crossroad Plus and GT. All but the GT start with a rather weak 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque, paired to a four-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration is sluggish and fuel economy subpar, so we recommend opting for the 3.6-liter V6 (283 hp, 260 lb-ft) instead. The V6 also comes standard on the GT, and although fuel economy and acceleration are still mediocre, it can at least move the Journey with some authority. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift control is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional.
SE trims come decently equipped with 17-inch steel wheels, roof rails, keyless entry and ignition, heated mirrors, dual-zone climate control, and a sliding and reclining second row. A 50/50-split third row is optional. Moving up to the SXT adds alloy wheels, foglights and the third row as standard. Crossroad trims add 19-inch wheels and Bluetooth among a few other items, while Crossroad Plus trims feature tri-zone climate control, leather-trimmed upholstery, a power driver seat, a fold-flat front passenger seat and an 8.4-inch touchscreen.
In addition to the standard V6, the GT comes with different 19-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, heated front seats and a premium audio system. There are several options for the Journey, including a sunroof, rear parking sensors, integrated second-row child booster seats and a navigation system. Many of the upper trim level features are also available for the lower trims through option packages.
Used Dodge Journey Models The Dodge Journey was introduced for the 2009 model year. With only one significant update early in its lifespan and the renaming and repackaging of trim levels along the way, almost everything in the Journey's class now outmatches it in driving character, power, features and refinement.
From the start, the Journey wasn't that impressive. Besides the weak base four-cylinder engine that carries on today, the other engine option was a lackluster 3.5-liter V6 that made only 235 hp. No matter which engine you picked, acceleration was either slow or glacial. Other Journey drawbacks included poor handling, lifeless steering feel, cheap interior materials, dated design and poor build quality.
For 2011, the Journey was significantly overhauled. A more powerful and efficient V6 emerged, along with revised suspension tuning and a redesigned interior with better materials, tighter construction and a smarter control layout. Improvements in ride quality and steering feel made the Journey more competitive with other crossovers of the day. Since then, changes have essentially been limited to a shuffling of trim levels and equipment.