2009 Dodge Journey

2009 Dodge Journey

Chrysler isn't wasting any time pulling the covers off of its newest crossover, the Dodge Journey, at Frankfurt, the first car show of the season. Then again, it makes sense, since the Journey has global sales ambitions. We're not convinced that the world needs a big crossover, but we're guessing the Journey has a good chance at being embraced by consumers here at home.

The Journey shares its underpinnings with the Avenger sedan, riding on a wheelbase that has been stretched 4.9 inches to 113.8 inches. Essentially a front-wheel drive vehicle, the crossover will be available with all-wheel drive only when powered by its largest engine - a 3.5-liter V-6 making 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5-liter is attached to a six-speed automatic transmission and, with front-wheel drive, is expected to return 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway.

That's not bad economy considering that the middle-child V-6, a 2.7-liter producing 186 hp and 191 lb-ft returns the same economy on the highway and only one mpg better in the city. The reason for such a small difference in economy is that the smaller V-6 is attached to an automatic with only four forward speeds.

Also running with a four-speed automatic is the base engine, a 2.4-liter VVT inline-four that produces almost as many ponies as the small V-6 - 173 of them (and 166 lb-ft of torque) and slightly better economy; it's rated at 19/25 city/highway.

The coolest powertrain, however, isn't going to make it to our shores. That's the 140-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel that's mated to a six-speed Getrag twin-clutch transmission - the first use of a dual-clutch transmission outside of the Volkswagen group.

The Journey comes standard with seating for five, but two extra rear seats are available. Though the rear doors open to a full ninety degrees and the second row of seats can slide forward, we expect the rearmost seats to be strictly kid-sized.

As usual, Chrysler has included a bunch of innovative features in this new crossover - it has storage under the front passenger seat as well as two in-floor storage bins behind the front seats that can each take twelve cans of soda. The Journey is the first mid-size crossover to offer available integrated child booster seats, and it of course comes with Chrysler's MyGig multimedia system.

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