2009 Dodge Journey R/T: Crossover built for the city
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The Dodge Journey Crossover is a sporty, small-sized CUV designed to be fun for young drivers, functional for married-with-children parents, easy to maneuver around town and attractive enough to take mom and dad and their friends out for a night on the town.
If Dodge pays attention to its own demographics, they’d realize that the Journey is also a Scout-mom car or a vehicle of choice for young women who want a vehicle that serves as a family hauler, shopping bag carrier and a versatile easy drive for any occasion. According to sales figures, 67 percent of Journey purchasers are female, with a median age of 25-35, making it a female-appeal vehicle in the neighborhood of the Pontiac Fiero of the 1980s. Sixty percent of Journey buyers are married and 60 percent are either in college or have graduated.
The Journey is built to ease into tight parking spots with measurements of 192.4 inches long, a narrow 72.2 inches wide and an easy-to-slide-into height of 66.6 inches, on a wheelbase of 113.8 inches.
Weighing in at a confidence-building 4233 lbs., Journey, powered by a 3.5-liter 24-valve V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, provides steady brawn without overpowering muscle. The 235hp and 232 lbs.-ft. of torque put out by the set-up has earned Journey an EPA rating of 15 mpg in city driving and 22mpg on the highway. During seven days of examination in and around Central Pennsylvania and Northwest Maryland, my test all-wheel-drive Journey R/T achieved an average of 19.6mpg.
Created for its demographic, Dodge reports that “the Journey is designed to meet the needs of customers ranging from young singles, couples and families with small children to mature families who want the capability to do more.” With that in mind, the Journey R/T is not a speed merchant on the road – lumbering from zero to 60mph in a slow-but-steady 9 seconds and sleeping down the quarter-mile in 17 seconds. But what it lacks in speed, it makes up for with a smooth ride. While there is some marked body roll while taking tight corners, the sport-tuned suspension eased over road imperfections and steering responded well enough in parking and slow-speed drills.
On the outside, Journey is a true crossover, taking cues from both sports-utes and wagons. It has a blend-in appearance and an air of sportiness as well. The Dodge Ram’s head stamped in the center of the crosshair chromed-grille hammers home that Journey is bold, powerful and capable; and its modern quad halogen headlamps provide excellent road lighting. Large 19-inch wheels on my R/T test vehicle reinforced a confident stance, and chrome-tipped dual exhausts and a bevy of exciting color options subliminally urge the viewer to believe that Journey offers a higher level of performance than it actually delivers.
My Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat test ride was accented by a Dark Slate Gray/Light Graystone interior. With comfortable expanse within, the cabin provides solid seating for seven. Interior dimensions include 40.8 inches of headroom, 40.8 inches of legroom in row one and about 33 inches behind, with 57.5 inches of shoulder room up front and nearly 57 inches in the rear rows. Easy-to-use Tilt ’n Slide seating provides easy entry into third row.
The interior lacked the look and feel of luxury, but it was loaded. Standard amenities included 6-way power driver’s seat, driver’s manually adjustable lumbar support, heated front seats, AM/FM stereo with Sirius Satellite radio (with the optional upgrade to a 6-speaker 368-watt sound system), trip computer and compass, dual-zone air conditioning and climate control, and Dodge’s Flip ‘n Stow front-passenger concealed storage, Chill Zone glove box beverage cooler and dual in-floor bins with liners in the second row.
Standard safety features include advanced multi-stage driver and front-passenger air bags, standard front-seat-mounted (thorax) side air bags, standard three-row side-curtain air bags, tire pressure monitoring, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, electronic stability program, electronic roll mitigation, brake assist, trailer sway control, structural safety cage with side-door impact beams and my test ride came with an optional rear back-up camera. Other standard safety and convenience items include remote start system, keyless entry, speed control and a security alarm.
The 2009 Journey R/T was base priced at $27,670 and my test vehicle was upgraded with $6570 in options, bringing the bottom line to $34,240. Options included: 19-inch chrome-clad wheels ($625); power sun roof with express-open/close feature ($795); cabin air filtration, cargo compartment cover, Electronic Vehicle Information Center, UCI for iPod and uconnect phone that is Bluetooth compatible ($1220); second-row seats with integrated child boosters and daytime running headlamps ($295); third-row 50/50 folding/reclining seat, second-row 60/40 Tilt ’n Slide easy-entry seat system, rear air conditioning with heater and160-amp alternator, ($1220); 368-watt amplifier, second-row overhead eight-inch video screen, wireless headphones and video remote control, six premium speakers with subwoofer ($1195); u-connect tunes with 30-gigabyte hard drive and ParkView rear back-up camera ($695); and trailer tow group with engine oil cooler, performance suspension and four-pin connector wiring ($130); among other packages.
Altogether, this crossover makes driving a family a pleasant journey.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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Journalist note: Information about the Carlisle Events Group, its event listings, auction offerings and expo center is available to journalists by phone:
Carlisle Event Marketing Dept.
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