The crossover field is expanding rapidly as minivan-shy families abandon traditional SUVs in favor of vehicles with at least somewhat better fuel economy. The Dodge Journey sits toward the smaller end of the crossover spectrum, yet it still manages to cram in an optional third row in a bid to appeal to more buyers. Don’t expect to put adults back there, though. Even the second row is marginal for adults, but they both work fine for kids. Two nice features for youngsters are built-in booster seats and a split second-row seat that puts offspring within easy reach of Mom and Dad. If those parents are on a tight budget, Dodge now offers the American Value Package model, which starts at a hair below $20,000 and comes with standard features such as air-conditioning; a 4.3-inch Uconnect media center; power windows, locks, and mirrors; and remote keyless entry. If power and towing ability are more important than price, the SXT, Crew, and R/T models come with a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Overall, the Journey is a serious contender in the crossover category. It’s quiet, rides well, and has an interior that doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic prison.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: AVP, SE, SXT, Crew, R/T
Body Style: SUV/crossover, 5- or 7-passenger
Engines: 2.4L I-4, 173 hp, 166 lb-ft
3.6L V-6, 283 hp, 260 lb-ft
Transmissions: 4- or 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: (5-passenger/7-passenger) 99.6/123.7 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 1000-2500 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 10.7/37.0-39.6/67.6 cu ft
The lineup for 2012 has a new model, the American Value Package (AVP), as well as the SE, SXT, Crew, and R/T models. A rear-seat video group is now available on Crew and R/T models; it includes a second-row DVD player with a nine-inch video screen and six premium speakers.
Standard safety features include front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; stability and traction control with roll mitigation; ABS with brake assist; and trailer-sway control.
All: 15-19 mpg city/25-26 mpg highway
- Well-finished interior
- Smooth, quiet ride
- Low price of entry
- Cramped rear seats
- Conservative styling
Consider this well-priced car if you’re looking for a crossover.
- Ford Edge
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Mazda CX-7
- Nissan Murano