This was my first time behind the wheel of a Journey, so I didn't have the previous bad experience others have mentioned here, but I can confess that I EXPECTED to be disappointed. The over-the-top masculine Ram-derived exterior styling of this car (and its lookalike brethren Nitro and Caliber) has never done anything for me and I dreaded the plastic cabin within.
Boy was I wrong. This updated interior is NICE. Very nice. A handsome dash, with nice grains and details and a good layout, but the real impact came on the doors with their soft and luxuriously stitched inserts.
The touch-screen interface is attractive and reminiscent of Ford's MyTouch. I like that the basic controls for climate and stereo remain independent of the electronic screen, but burying the seat heater controls in the screen interface seems like a poor choice.
I also never realized this car had a third row until now. It simply didn't look that big. Once I reached home and parked next to my wife's Odyssey and realized it was nearly the same size did I notice how large the Journey really is.
And as I circled the car to get a better look at the size I started to notice that the exterior has been subtly improved all the way around. The bold Mango Tango orange paint and chrome wheels might be a bit much for me, but overall it was less objectionable than my first impression.
The Pentastar V-6/six-speed combo is familiar territory after the Chrysler minivans we've had through here of late, but it felt a bit more exciting propelling a less boxy vehicle.
For $35K, Dodge is offering two nicely equipped options for families on somewhat of a budget: this Journey and the Grand Caravan. It's up to the buyer to decide where they sit on the sporty/style versus family truckster/utility scale when choosing between these very well executed vehicles.
Matt Tierney, Art Director