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TheCarConnection.com has prepared this Bottom Line road test summary from firsthand driving impressions. Editors have compared the Journey to other compact crossovers to help you in the shopping process. TheCarConnection.com has also written a companion Full Review, which condenses opinions from other auto-review sites to bring you a comprehensive look at this recently introduced Dodge.
The 2010 Dodge Journey is the company's first shot at the crossover market. It combines a wagon body with available all-wheel drive, car-based running gear, and clever minivan-like seating and cargo features. The Journey comes in front- or all-wheel drive, with a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines, options for manual and automatic transmissions, and an available third-row seat. It's priced from less than $20,000 and competes against strong vehicles like the Subaru Forester, Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento, and Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Journey brings an edgy Dodge flair to a segment that defaults to a sleeker, softer look. It has more in common with Jeeps, Land Rovers, and Mitsubishi's Outlander than with vehicles like the Hyundai Santa Fe. It works in many ways; the upright crosshair grille is distinctive, the silhouette is trim, and it's tall enough to be functional, though it seems a little narrow from some angles. Clearly it's a wagon, but one tending to the SUV spectrum of styling. The Journey's interior falls far below the best in the class, however. The instruments are canted at a strange angle and have a dated typeface. The straight-edge style doesn't play as well on the Journey's dash as it does its sheetmetal and looks less expensive than the Journey can be.
The 2010 Journey's drivetrains are less than inspiring, and its handling is reasonably responsive in front-drive versions, while all-wheel-drive wagons can feel sluggish. The 173-horsepower four-cylinder is a flat performer, and the 235-hp V-6 isn't much more encouraging in low-speed driving, though it's much more capable of passing maneuvers with less noise and angst. Steering comes in two flavors: The front-drive Journey has a little torque steer-the tugging motion under hard acceleration-but is quick and light if not sports-car-accurate. All-wheel-drive Journey wagons require more steering muscle and give less feedback. Ride quality is good, though, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle. Fuel economy hits 19/25 mpg on four-cylinder models, and the V-6 front-drive Journey isn't far behind at 16/24 mpg. The V-6 with AWD drops to 15/23 mpg. A fuel-saver indicator is now installed for frugal, observant drivers, but all figures are below newer class entries like the 2011 Kia Sorento. Braking is strong, and wheel sizes range from 16-inchers on base vehicles up to optional 19-inchers.
The Journey is a functional place for bigger families-just not too big, please. The seats are flat but are given enough head- and legroom in both the front and in the second row. The optional third-row bench is for two children, max. The second row slides for more legroom, and front seats have storage built in beneath the seat cushion. If you're shopping the next larger class of crossovers-Highlander, Edge, Murano, and Pilot-the Journey will seem like a tighter fit, but it's as roomy as the Honda CR-V. Interior storage is a coup for the Journey, which has lots of bins and cubbies under the seats and between passengers, as well as in its door panels. The cargo hold is a big 37 cubic feet behind the second row and 10.7 cubic feet behind the raised third-row seat; with only the front two seats raised, it's a usefully large 67.6 cubic feet.
Safety is a strong selling point for the 2010 Dodge Journey. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) gives it five stars for front and side impact protection and four stars for rollover protection. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) calls it a Top Safety Pick. Standard safety equipment on the 2010 Dodge Journey includes dual front, side, and curtain airbags; stability and traction control; and new for 2010, active head restraints and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control on all models. A rearview camera is available, as are integrated second-row child booster seats.
The 2010 Journey offers a class-beating set of available entertainment features. However, those options add up and you could spend $35,000 by specifying all of them. Standard features include air conditioning; cruise control; power locks/mirrors/windows; a cooled glove box; a telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player with MP3 capability. Options include a navigation system; Sirius Satellite Radio and Sirius Backseat TV, an on-the-go service with a small selection of kid-friendly programming; a DVD entertainment system; and a premium audio system and uConnect multimedia with MP3 player controls.
- Angular, distinctive styling
- Tidy size
- Improved interior
- Wide range of features
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Interior styling and materials
- Lackluster performance in all versions
- Steering feel on all-wheel-drive models
- Can get pricey with fun options