By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – With all the hoopla being generated in the auto industry, it is easy to overlook the Dodge Journey. It didn’t help that the crossover first went on sale in 2008, the year the bottom fell out of the economy, as a 2009 model. And perhaps worse is that it replaced the ill-fated Chrysler Pacifica. But the Dodge Journey has been revamped a couple of times and it has more to offer than most other mid-sized CUVs in its segment.
First the press kit stuff. The Journey is the only crossover in its class that is offered with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine, front-wheel or all-wheel drive and in it comes in either five passenger or seven passenger configurations. In short the Journey covers a lot of ground; pun intended.
We test drove a 2014 Dodge Journey SXT with all-wheel-drive. It had a V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that made 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
At first we thought the gas pedal needed more torque because what we thought was the slightest touch caused the Journey to aggressively accelerate. Later, we remembered that when dealing with a vehicle with almost 300 horsepower, do so with respect. But the characteristic was appropriate for a Dodge with its performance heritage.
The all-wheel-drive system was front-wheel-drive until power to the rear wheels was needed. Of course, that included slippage from snow, ice, rain, etc. However, from 25 mph to 65 mph on dry roads the system would activate when performance driving was sensed. Dodge said the system automatically sent torque to the rear wheels when cornering with the throttle open making the Journey easy to handle. Around here, the Journey traversed ruddy roads, depressions in the pavement, expressway traffic, and surface street slow-downs without a hitch.
Inside, there was a really clean look. The dash had been lowered, creating optimal vantage points all round. The cabin didn’t feel like a closed-in cockpit, which was appropriate for a utility vehicle. The UConnect information screen was easy to use, intuitive even; we didn’t have to guess how to use anything. Of course there was Bluetooth, satellite radio, auxiliary and USB jacks, a backup camera, a smart key with remote start and a moon roof.
We had the five-passenger Journey. Without a third row, there was 39.6 cu. ft. of storage space behind the second row and 67.6 cu. ft. of storage with the second row seats folded flat.
The Journey had three 12-volt sockets, roof rails and a built in flashlight. Still, it had 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that gave it a sporty look. And Dodge engineers managed to make the Journey handle more like a sedan than a utility vehicle.
The vehicle weighed 4,238 lbs. and it had a towing capacity of 2,500 lbs. Perhaps its all-wheel-drive system that activated on dry pavement contributed to some so-so mileage numbers. With an EPA rating of 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway and 19 combined, is not a gas sipper.
But it is a utility vehicle and with a 21.1-gallon fuel tank, range anxiety should not be an issue. Besides, the 2014 Dodge Journey can be equipped with a less thirsty four-cylinder engine and front wheel drive; both lessen fuel consumption.
The best numbers of all though are these: the base price of our test vehicle was $26,695. Add on options that included a gloss black grille and a $995 freight charge and the total came to $32,660 as tested.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.