It offers a 173-hp four-cylinder or a 253-hp V-6. But the 2009 Dodge Journey failed to impress reviewers from the major enthusiast and consumer car sites with either drivetrain.
Edmunds.com felt “the standard four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission aren't quite up to the task of motivating the hefty SE's 3,800 pounds with anything close to authority.” ConsumerGuide said the four-cylinder Journey “keeps up with urban traffic acceptably well,” though. The Detroit News compared it to the Little Engine That Could: "I think I can, I think I can make it up this hill."
Even with the available V-6 engine and six-speed automatic, the Journey’s performance doesn’t rate higher than average, reviewers felt. “The V-6 has decent power but isn't the quickest thing on the road,” Cars.com notes, “and fuel economy is a paltry 15 mpg city/22 mpg highway mileage with AWD (16/23 FWD with V-6).” However, both the Detroit News and ConsumerGuide thought the V-6 provided plenty of power; the News “never felt a need for more juice,” but ConsumerGuide said V-6 versions “were prone to overly abrupt downshifts during brisk acceleration.”
When it comes to handling and ride, the Journey fared a little better. It’s “tranquil enough,” Edmunds.com says, but its body roll in corners is “disconcerting at times.” Cars.com noted that the sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels kept the ride motions damped, “but not body lean in corners. Forget pinpoint handling...” ConsumerGuide said that all versions of the 2009 Dodge Journey “filter out road imperfections with commendable ease,” but said that base SE models “are prone to float over larger dips and swells.” TruckTrend was alone in noting that the Journey can tow 3,500 pounds, not too much less than the much larger Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.
TheCarConnection.com’s editors agree with the comments on ride and handling, and add that the Journey’s steering comes in two flavors. On front-drive cars, it exhibits a little torque steer--a tugging motion under hard acceleration--but otherwise it’s reasonably well tuned, not sportscar-accurate but quick and light enough. The all-wheel-drive Journey requires more muscle and gives less steering feedback.