Dodge Journey 2008 Review
Because basically it's got everything that opens and shuts – and lots of it.
There are storage bins in just about every bit of spare floor, most of them with removable and washable liners to accommodate holding dirty gear or anything you might want to add ice to. The glove box is split into two with a chill zone to keep a couple of cans (or even a large bottle of wine) cold. And every seat except the driver’s shuts down for more storage space, with the front passenger seat featuring a handy hard tray set into its back.
The secondary doors open to a 90-degree angle for easier access to get people and cargo in and out of the back.
And if you go for the optional $3250 MyGIG in-dash audio/nav/comms system – which now comes with a 30GB hard drive – you can also have a $1500 second-row DVD player that opens down from the roof.
Reclining second and third rows, theatre seating that lets the kiddies all see out, stain-resistant upholstery and foldaway wing mirrors for easier parking.
Then there’s the lure of goodies like heated seats and leather trim for the top-spec variant.
All that, wrapped in SUV styling with a Dodge crosshair grille on the front? It’s a soccer mum’s dream.
And its maker hopes about 100 of them will turn up each month to take one off the showroom floor.
Dodge is calling it a crossover between a passenger car, SUV and people mover.
But will it cannibalise sales from Chrysler stablemate, the Grand Voyager people mover?
Chrysler Australia managing director Gerry Jenkins doesn’t think so.
“Grand Voyager is king of all People Movers. It's for those interested in the best with all the bells/whistles and comfort,” Jenkins says.
“Journey is targeted to active lifestylers looking for capacity, flexibility and utility in a stylish and affordable package.
“Not as much room or comfort as a Voyager but not the same price either.
“On the emotional side, great looks and an exciting different brand. On the rational side, tremendous creature comforts, utility, safety, etc. It looks modern, is modern and will appeal to the mass market.”
Dodge’s Journey R/T arrives with the choice of a turbo diesel mated to a new dual-clutch automatic transmission for $46,990 or a V6 petrol engine mated to the six-speed auto previously seen in the Avenger for $41,990, with the SXT only available with the petrol engine at $36,990.
The 2.0 litre turbo diesel develops 103kW and 310Nm and uses 7.0 litres per 100km.
The 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine produces 136kW and 256Nm. Not surprisingly, the petrol uses around three more litres every 100km than the diesel.
Quad halogen headlights, body coloured fascias and the crosshair grille set off the muscular styling that is Dodge’s trademark – although it’s been softened for the Journey.
A sloping windscreen starts a flowing line to the rear spoiler, highlighting the stainless steel roof rails and three large side windows. Short front and rear overhangs, sculptured wheel arches and low gloss B and C pillars help give the car a sporty appearance.
A comprehensive airbag package begins a long list of safety features for the Dodge Journey, including ABS, ESP, Electronic Roll Mitigation, trailer sway control, tyre pressure monitoring, traction control and brake assist.
The first thing you notice about the Journey’s interior is the quality of the surfaces, which are a huge improvement on some of the previous models. The plastics are soft – even padded in some places on the dash – and the fit appears tighter all round.
And once you work out the sequence of handles, it’s a snap to lift, drop, fold and stow the seats in their various ways.
Cargo space of 397 litres balloons out to close to 1500 when you have all the seats folded flat, and there is excellent room for second row passengers, although the third row is too close to the floor to be comfortable for long legs.
Both engines are willing enough, but the V6 fights against the Journey’s 1750kg bulk when you attack hills, and it’s likely to feel the extra weight if you’re packed to the scuppers.
The turbodiesel delivers a better response, although it can tend to be a tad noisy at idle.
There’s a bit of body roll if you corner quickly, but generally the road manners are quite good at normal speeds for this kind of vehicle, and it soaks up patchy bitumen surfaces easily until you step on the accelerator, which can make it lumber around.
The steering was marvellously light at low speeds, however didn’t seem to add enough weight at the higher end of the dial.
But all this was going on over some interesting rural roads at the highway speed limit much of the time. And most Journeys will be city ones, which is where features like lighter steering will be an advantage.
For buyers looking for an urban family warrior with a good price point, it’s worth taking the Journey.
Range and Specs
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