Admittedly, the Journey’s exterior revisions are modest, at best. Dodge’s new corporate grille pattern is applied up front, while the previous model’s blocky rear taillights are replaced with sleek, elongated lamp assemblies. No matter; designers focused their efforts on what really needed work: the interior.
The blocky, plastic-laden interior of the last Journey appears to be a thing of the past. The 2011 model receives a completely overhauled cabin, complete with a sleek, curvaceous instrument panel, similar to that used on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A new gauge cluster incorporates a full-color LCD vehicle information display, while audio, navigation, climate, and phone systems are apparently bundled into a new touch-screen system, which Chrysler dubs Uconnect Touch. Other improvements include new seats, a revised front storage bin, new steering wheel, and a redesigned center console, which hides power outlets and a USB audio input within its storage cubby.
Mechanically speaking, the biggest news for 2011 comes with the arrival of a new six-cylinder engine offering. As predicted, Chrysler’s new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 replaces the aging 3.5-liter V-6, although it continues to be mated with the company’s six-speed 62TE automatic transmission. At 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, it represents a 48-horsepower and 28-pound-feet improvement over the outgoing engine. Dodge also says its engineers have refined chassis tuning, reportedly improving the crossover’s handling through revised suspension geometry, upgraded tires, and sharpened steering.
Want to sample the revisions for yourself? You won’t have to wait that long. Chrysler says production of 2011 models in Toluca, Mexico, will begin shortly, and deliveries to dealers nationwide should begin in the fourth quarter of 2010.