Going up against the likes of the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 isn't an easy task. That's why Dodge has significantly upgraded the Journey for the 2011 model year, from powertrain to infotainment and most areas between.
The biggest mechanical change to the new Journey is the addition of the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, rated at 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in this application--a gain of 20 percent against the previous V-6 found in the 2010 Dodge Journey. The new V-6 is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Ride and handling also get improvements from a "redesigned and retuned" suspension, a better OEM tire choice, and redesigned steering for more precision.
The interior remains a five- or seven-seat configuration, but gets what Dodge calls "world-class levels of craftsmanship and comfort." If the Journey follows on the success of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, the claim may not be far off the mark. The new Journey interior redesign includes a larger instrument cluster with a center-positioned, full-color electronic vehicle information center, a center stack that's sculpted to be more comfortable for the driver's knees, more cushioning on the center console, redesigned seats, repositioned cupholders, a larger center storage bin, and a range of six new interior colors and trims.
Dodge is touting the new Uconnect Touch media center system as a game-changer for the Journey buyer. Uconnect Touch offers a central control of most of the major interior systems, from navigation to climate controls and multimedia, plus the ability to check fuel prices, and more. Four versions of the Journey come equipped with the Uconnect Touch system.
Exterior styling stays largely the same as the previous Journey, though a new front clip gets the Dodge "split crosshair" honeycomb grille, larger fog lamp bezels, and, for Pentastar V-6 models, a more aggressively styled lower fascia. New 19-inch wheels, a restyled rear clip, and LED taillights complete the exterior treatment.
The new 2011 Dodge Journey will be built in Mexico at Chrysler's Toluca plant, with the first models arriving at American dealers before the end of the year.