by Brad Leach - 12/08/10
Our week in the 2010 Dodge Journey caused a stir at school drop-off times with many fellow parents keen to check-out the American seven-seater. That’s good news for Dodge as they are owners of Klugers, Prados, Odysseys, Captiva 7s, Carnivals, CX-9s, Outlanders, Dualis’, Outbacks etc.
And the handsome Dodge Journey should be in their consideration set, after all American family buyers have embraced people movers and compact SUVs for decades so it’s no co-incidence Dodge has the formula spot-on, the Dodge Journey looks great, has lots of kit, a handy V6 engine and is competitively priced.
Parked amongst the rival brands at our school, the Dodge Journey stood-out with a purposeful on-road presence that is second-to-none in this segment - the ‘Muscle Car’ of the seven-seat segment.
Car Showroom tested the upscale R/T model Dodge Journey with the petrol V6 engine and priced at $41,990. Entry to the Journey family is the $36,990 SXT, also powered by the petrol V6 – a diesel-powered R/T spec model (2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel) is also available and it retails for $45,990.
The petrol models drive the front wheels via a conventional six-speed automatic transmission while the diesel scores a Getrag six-speed dual clutch auto.
Beneath the muscly exterior is a supremely flexible interior with seven seats and masses of storage areas including ‘Flip ‘N Stow’ (and ingenious bin located under the front passenger seat) and two in-floor storage bins behind the front row seats – all of them plastic lined and suitable for wet items and/or for keeping things out of sight and secure while parked.
Safety was ramped-up as part of the 2010 model year upgrades with the addition of Electronic Stability Control with traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes with brake assist, driver and front passenger active head restraints, front seat mounted side airbags and multi-stage front airbags. Also on the standard safety list are Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), side curtain airbags and torso airbags.
The Dodge Journey has the maximum five-star safety rating from North America’s NHTSA.
The big news for the 2.7-litre V6 engine is ‘Flexfuel’ – meaning it is tuned to run on either regular unleaded or E85 blend. Maximum power is 136kW at 5,500rpm and peak torque of 256Nm is delivered at 4,000rpm.
Fuel consumption averages 10.3l/100kms and exhaust emissions are rated at 246g/km.
Australian buyers love V6 engines and the Dodge Journey doesn’t hide its power with a hearty growl from the 2.7-litre unit under acceleration – we said this is the ‘Muscle Car’ of the seven seat lineup.
Versatility and practicality are the ‘non-negotiables’ for seven-seat crossovers, and by any measure, the Dodge Journey scores highly. From the washable storage bins under the floor, to the ‘Tilt ‘N Slide’ second row seats (easy access to the third row) and the one-touch folding of the third row seats and head-restraints (easy conversion to a five seater for extra luggage), the Dodge designers have ticked all boxes for families and other seven seat buyers.
The R/T model as tested gains nice leather for the interior, steering wheel and gear-lever, heated front seats, a full center console and Dodge’s Electronic Vehicle Information Centre (EVIC).
Slide behind the wheel and an excellent driving position is assured thanks to tilt/telescopic adjustment of the steering wheel and generous lumbar support in the seat (the American brands generally have larger proportions in their seating).
Instrumentation is conventional and to the left are chrome-trimmed controls for the audio and climate-control air-conditioning. The audio system is six-disc CD system with six speakers and MP3 compatibility.
Our test car was fitted with the optional Entertainment Pack which brings an eight-inch rear seat DVD system, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity plus the Rear Park Assist system with a reversing camera.
Second row passengers score high-mounted seats for good visibility and the seat slides through 120mm for extra versatility. The third row offers segment-competitive space for two people with the bonus of reclining seat backs for extra comfort.
The rear doors open very wide (through 90 degrees) to make access easy.
Luggage capacity is 397-litres with all seats in place and grows to 1,479-litres with the second and third rows folded.
The Dodge Journey has a rated towing capacity up to 1,600kgs.
Bold and athletic, the Dodge Journey delivers a commanding on-road presence that starts with the signature large Dodge chrome grille. The nicely contoured front bumper features standard fog-lights.
From the side, the Dodge Journey features large sculptured wheel arches (the R/T model as tested comes with meaty 19-inch, five spoke alloy wheels which contribute to its purposeful look) and a large glasshouse.
At the rear, large ‘jewel-look’ taillights and the deep, curved glass for the one-piece tailgate complete an excellent styling job.
While the Journey’s 2.7-litre V6 doesn’t match the Mazda CX-9 for power and torque, it is more than adequate and combines with the six-speed auto to provide ample acceleration and comfortable freeway cruising.
Around town the Dodge Journey was easily maneuverable and its 11.9-metre turning circle comfortably accounted for the challenges of our high-rise CBD car park. Visibility was excellent and reverse parking (sometimes challenging in rival seven-seaters) was no problem.
The Dodge Journey accounted for itself well over our high-speed mountain roads test loop even in damp conditions.
The Dodge Journey is fitted with an aluminium bonnet and composite material tailgate and offset those weight reductions by using high-strength alloy steel in the important 33 per cent of the Journey’s bodyshell (as tested, the R/T model tipped the scales at 1,775kgs). The result is not only improved crash protection but also a stiffer chassis which delivers driving dynamics performance drivers will appreciate.
Changes of direction were precise and ride control - even over mid-corner undulations and Melbourne’s tram/train track crossings – was impressive.
We only deduct points from the Dodge Journey for some of the interior plastic trim items which are a bit hard and less tactile than some of the premium Japanese seven-seaters.
For us, the Dodge Journey ranks amongst the best of the seven-seaters. We love the different look – it’s ‘American-ness’ - in a segment dominated by Asian brands and styling.
And for interior practicality and versatility the Journey is right there with the segment’s best.
Feature-packed, the Dodge Journey also presents a compelling value-for-money story.
Considering the $41,990 recommended retail price for the nicely specified R/T model Dodge Journey tested, the Dodge stacks up very well against vehicles like the Mazda CX-9 and Honda Odyssey.
Holden’s mid-range CX Captiva 7 is good value, but it’s some extra coin to get to the LX model. Same for the seven-seat Mitsubishi Outlander XLS.
Head-turning style; practical/versatile interior; great value
Some interior plastics a bit hard
Count Comments to "2010 Dodge Journey - Car Review & Road Test "