I was more impressed by the Journey than I expected to be. It’s smooth and quiet, and the powertrain is refined; the six-speed automatic works pretty well with the V-6.
The vehicle is also a nice size, especially compared with the old truck-based Durango. The third-row seats, though, are torture chambers suitable only for pre-teens for the run to school, not for family vacations.
Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
The Journey is clearly the best vehicle on Chrysler’s mid-size platform, which also includes the dire Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger, which both — thank heaven! — are being updated for 2011. The 2010 Journey that we tested isn’t as lucky, and it shows some signs of old-Chrysler cheapness (i.e., rock-hard door armrests, exposed seat tracks, tricky access to the third-row seats). Still, the Journey is a pretty respectable entry overall, although certainly not class-leading. Power is decent, handling is OK, ride is comfortable.
Some issues: The center-stack controls for the infotainment system have about as many buttons as an Acura’s system. Unfortunately, the Journey has fewer contours and different-sized buttons to help orient your hand without taking your eyes off the road. The rear entertainment system would be nice for older kids, but I hit both my head and my toddler’s head on the low-hanging overhead controls and flipped-up screen multiple times over my weekend with this vehicle. I would definitely skip this pricey option unless my kids were old enough to be in booster seats. Speaking of kids and seats, I second Joe’s notion that the third-row chairs are for small folks on short durations only.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
My, what a difference an engine makes. The last Journey I drove was a base model, fitted with the anemic 2.4-inline-four-cylinder and a four-speed automatic. When fitted with a V-6 and a six-speed gearbox, however, Dodge’s midsize crossover is actually a competent offering. The 3.5-liter six-cylinder offers adequate power, and the interior, albeit chock full of hard plastic trim, offers plenty of space. The third-row seat is, at best, suited for kids, but it is roomier and more sophisticated that the slender folding bench used in Mitsubishi’s Outlander.
I expect the Journey to further gain credibility next year, as the model is slated to receive Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, along with an interior makeover and a mild cosmetic overhaul. Is it worth the wait? Perhaps, but it’s hard to argue against the pricing of the current 2010 model. This test example, an all-wheel-drive Crew V-6, was fitted with every available feature including navigation, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, trailer tow group, integrated child seats, and Sirius TV, yet carries a reasonable MSRP of $34,260.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer
I was also impressed with the improvements this 2010 Journey received over the previous model. It rides better, is better insulated from road and engine noise, and is trimmed in better materials. Unfortunately, those improvements didn’t extend to the seats, the bottoms of which are so short that they provide almost no thigh support even for someone as short as me (under 5’5″). Oddly though, headroom is sufficient for a 6-plus footer.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
A day or two before I drove the Journey, I saw Dodge’s tongue-in-cheek television commercial, in which they compare the Journey to a monster truck (in other commercials they compare it to an M1 tank and an armored car) and then ask the question, “Dodge Journey, world’s best vehicle?” I have to say, it’s one of the few car commercials I’ve seen lately that I actually chuckled at.
Hyperbole aside, the Dodge Journey isn’t half bad. The fit and finish of the cabin is OK but not stellar, the ride is acceptable, and it has decent power. The Journey we tested was loaded with several popular options, such as a rearview camera, navigation, and a rear-seat entertainment system. One option I’d go without, however, is the third-row seating, which is both extremely cramped and almost impossible to access. Without the third row (or with it folded down), there is a good-sized rear cargo area. All in all, not the best vehicle in the world, but one that turned out to be much better than I expected.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
This is my first time in a Dodge Journey and from the outside, I’ve always thought it looked like a small crossover compared to its three-row peers. I was surprised to climb inside and find it so spacious, particularly with regards to headroom. Granted, the third row seat is rather claustrophobic.
It’s a bit odd to be driving a Journey right now. The interior is far behind the competition but it’s set to receive a significant update before 2010 is over. From the interiors I’ve seen in other upcoming Dodge products, I expect monumental changes inside the Journey. Nicer materials and better fits would be welcome, but the Journey is most in need of revised ergonomics. The navigation screen and its rotary controller are located extremely far apart, making operation awkward.
We’ll also see the new 3.6-liter V-6 for the 2011 model year, increasing output from 235 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque to 283 hp and 260 lb-ft. While Evan’s right the price on this 2010 Journey is pretty reasonable, I’d rather nix a few options and get a nicer interior and a stronger powertrain for the same price in a Ford Flex. So unless the dealer offers a killer deal on a 2010 Journey, I recommend holding out for the 2011 model.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
2010 Dodge Journey Crew AWD
Base price (with destination): $27,230
Price as tested: $34,260
3.5-liter V-6 engine
6-speed automatic transmission
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Electronic stability program
Tire pressure monitoring system
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
60/40 split rear seat
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
Sirius satellite radio
Options on this vehicle:
Customer preferred package 28R – $2290
Bright side roof rails
Tilt and slide rear seat
6 Infinity premium speakers with subwoofer
Third row seating
Front and rear LED lamps
Remote start system
Navigation and Sound Group 1 – $1695
Uconnect Phone with voice command
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
Sirius satellite radio
Trailer Tow Group – $145
Rear Seat Video Group 1 – $845
9″ video screens
Video remote control
Family Value Group – $295
Integrated second-row child seats
High beam DRLs
Power sunroof – $845
Engine block heater – $95
Sirius Backseat TV – $525
Inferno Red crystal pearl coat exterior paint – $295
Key options not on vehicle:
15 / 23 / 18 mpg
Size: 3.5L V-6
Horsepower: 235 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 232 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 4229 lb
Wheels/tires: 19 x 7.0-inch aluminum chrome-clad wheels, 225/55R19 Kumho Solus KH16 all-season tires