The Dodge Journey has its work cut out for it. The small-to-midsize crossover SUV really wants to compete against some of the leaders in the category - and it does an admirable job when you get right down to it - but this is a segment of the car world that has some tough opponents.
For starters, let’s point out that buyers who are anxious for a third-row of seats have a viable option here. Granted, that third row is really only practical for little kids, but when you’re seating seven there’s a pretty good chance that’ll include some little people.
Plus, you can choose built-in booster seats in the second row, which many families love.
There are several options for you to consider with the Journey, but a pretty wise choice in Colorado is the all-wheel-drive version. By going that route you automatically get bumped up to the 3.6-liter V6, which is a much better choice than Journey’s 4-cylinder.
You’ll get pretty good power of the V6, with decent acceleration and a steady ride. Of course, you pay the price with fuel economy either way; both the 4-cylinder and the V6 consume a fair amount of fuel. I drove the AWD model, which produces a combined 19mpg.
One thing the Journey has going for it is roominess overall. The front and second-row seats are comfortable, and storage is terrific. There are multiple sneaky hideaways in the vehicle, including storage areas in the floor of the second row, and a neat hiding area beneath the front passenger seat. People love their storage.
I give pretty high marks to the Dodge for its interior quality, too. Everything is well-made and easy to use - which is not a given anymore - and if you opt for the 8.4-inch dash screen you’ll be pleased with the performance.
The exterior of the Journey won’t blow you away, but c’mon, it’s a crossover/SUV; you’re not gonna draw wolf whistles from anyone in that category. However, it does possess some handsome lines, and competes well in the looks department.
Competing, however, is a tough call in this market. Notably the Honda CR-V and Hyndai Santa Fe bring some pretty tough muscle to the crossover/SUV world. Even Kia has a substantial entry in the game, so Dodge has to rely on brand name and price. In the latter regard, you’d have to go low - the 4-cylinder without AWD - to really see significant savings. The model I tested - with AWD, the V6, and several options - topped out at a little over $35k.
Overall, the Journey is a good, quality choice for a family looking for affordability, room for seven, and above-average storage.
Review by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer