The fact that Dodge can offer the Journey with a "Lux" trim level and not be laughed at is a pretty incredible accomplishment given how poorly the original Journey was received. Like my coworkers, I really enjoyed the new cabin and much, much more upscale materials that were used. I think Dodge is reaching a little with the Lux moniker, but I can't think of a nicer utility vehicle interior outside of the premium brands.
I drove the Journey to Chicago and back and did a fair amount of suburban driving with it while I was in Chicago. Overall the Pentastar V-6 is a huge improvement over every six-cylinder Chrysler engine I can remember. I wish the torque peak came a little lower, but that might just be because we're spoiled with the sudden influx of small displacement engines that use turbochargers and direct fuel injection to create flat torque curves that start below 2000 rpm. Again, echoing my coworkers' comments, the transmission could offer smoother shifts but it's nice to see a six-speed automatic in a Dodge product.
The 2011 Dodge Journey's strengths are a very flexible (though not exactly capacious) interior, available all-wheel-drive, and desirable footprint. I'd personally rather have a minivan than a crossover from this class if I ever intended to use the third row of seating, but I can't fault anyone for choosing a Journey now. I really can't wait to see what Chrysler is able to do with all-new vehicles under Fiat's guidance since these emergency refreshes are coming together so well.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
Now that its second-rate interior and uninspiring engine have been addressed, the Journey has entered the fray of vehicles worth consideration by those in the market for a reasonably priced crossover -- this top spec model is a bit more than $36,000 but the base Journey comes in just under $23,000. It's a crowded field but what the Journey has going for it is a tight but livable third row -- it can seat up to seven -- a quick and easy-to-use infotainment system, and cool innovations such as the second-row pop-up booster seats. (The mechanisms that control the pop-ups as well as the flip-forward second-row seat that enables access the third row required some serious muscle to use in our test vehicle.) The Journey still has some shortcomings -- fuel economy could be better -- but at least for the short term, Dodge has done a good job of fixing the Journey's most egregious faults and breathing new life into this model.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms