2010 Dodge Journey SXT AWD: Mid-Size crossover worth the trip
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Dodge’s mid-size crossover, the Journey, is not to be confused with the Infiniti EX35 Journey. For one thing, the Dodge Journey is base-priced at 26,280, some $11,000 less than the Infiniti; and Dodge’s mid-level crossover is longer, wider, higher and heavier than its luxury name-sharer. The Dodge is also marketed to young drivers and youthful moms (dads get to drive it as well), while the Infiniti’s niche is older professionals and established families, with more males opting to drive it.
According to industry figures, the Dodge Journey is a hit with females, as 67 percent of Journey purchasers are female, with a median age of 25-35. Education is key to the buy as 60 percent of Journey buyers are either in college or have graduated.
Still in its first generation, the Dodge Journey is a seven-passenger utility vehicle that is assembled in Toluca, Mexico. A solid alternative to the minivan, it shares its platform with the Avenger and Caliber, but this mid-size crossover has a look and personality all its own.
In terms of size, Journey is small enough for daily driving in and around town or parking it in city garages, with enough cargo room to stow the kids’ hockey or soccer gear, toys and games, and ferry along the neighbors’ kids as well. Options can include extra storage bins, while high-tech upgrades and entertainment systems allow the buyer to create any crossover environment desired, from Spartan to luxury.
Journey measures out at 192.4 inches long, 72.2 inches wide and 66.6 inches high on a wheelbase of 113.8 inches. Front and rear overhang are 38.9 inches and 39.7 inches and its bold, youthful styling separates it from the minivan segment thanks in part to a chromed crosshair grille, center-stamped Dodge Ram’s head and quad headlamps.
The lower-priced base Journey is powered by a 2.4-liter I-4 engine produces 173hp and 166 lbs.-ft of torque and is EPA rated at 19/25. My test vehicle was powered by a 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve SMPI V-6 that produced 235 hp and 232 lbs.-ft. of torque. It was EPA rated at 16/24 for FWD and 15/23 for AWD, and my 4212-lb. AWD Journey got me 18.2mpg over a 500-mile mixed-use test.
On the track, my Bright Silver Metallic Journey slowly, but surely got me from zero to 60mph in 9 seconds flat during our best test and 17-flat for a steady quarter-mile run. But what it lacks in speed, it makes up for with a smooth ride. The Journey’s suspension -- independent MacPherson strut, coil spring over gas-charged shock absorbers and stabilizer bar with isolated suspension cradle up front and multi-link independent with coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged shock absorbers and isolated rear suspension cradle in the rear – is steadfast and smoothes out most road irregularities. Electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, trailer-sway control and electronic-roll mitigation are all adequate, but not invasive.
With a transverse front engine, all-wheel drive and steel unibody construction, driving the Journey is a confident experience, though a bit of top-wobble during quick “S” turns, and automatic shafting and re-shifting between fourth and sixth gears during highway passing is a journey all its own. Its power rack-and-pinion steering is fairly responsive for a minivan, with noticeable understeer.
Towing capacity is set at 3500 lbs., but trailering that much weight up a long ascent would be a challenge.
In the cabin, Journey exhibits one of the quietest rides in its genre. Its Dark Slate Gray cloth seats are cushiony and the interior space is not confining as head room is 40.8 inches in front and 39.2 inches in row two; leg room is 40.8 and 33.6 and shoulder room measures 57.5 and 56.9. Third row measures 37.7 (head), 23.4 leg and 51.1 inches of shoulder room.
Standard interior amenities include air conditioning, air filtration, three-zone temperature control, assist handles, cargo net and power door locks.
In terms of safety, Journey earned a perfect 5 stars in government crash tests and four out of five in roll-over tests.
Standard on Journey are such safety items as ABS brakes, brake assist, active head restraints for driver and front-passenger, advanced multi-stage driver and front-passenger air bags, side-occupant protection system. supplemental side air bags, supplemental side-curtain air bags, Enhanced Accident Response System, ParkView™rear back-up camera and tire-pressure Monitoring.
The Dodge Journey is aggressively base-priced at $26,280, with destination charges of $675. With the options added below, my test ride stickered at $29,220. The options packaged with my press fleet Journey were:
Popular Equipment Group - $1,570
Audio system with satellite; removable roof rails; ventilation system with micro filter; interior observation mirror; luxury trim leather on gearknob; leather covered multi-function steering wheel; partial overhead console with covered storage box; passenger assist handles; peripheral anti-theft protection; steering wheel mounted cruise control; privacy glass rear and rear side; illuminated driver and passenger vanity mirror.
Safe and Sound Group - $695
MP3 player; hard disc drive; DVD/VCD; entertainment display screen front; multi-function display screen; audio system with CD player and disc autochanger; parking distance sensors rear and camera.
For 2010, when thinking about a mid-size crossover, enjoy the 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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