The Journey is a functional place for bigger families-just not too big, please.
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. The seats are flat but are given enough head- and legroom in both the front and in the second row. The second row slides for more legroom, and front seats have storage built in beneath the seat cushion. The Detroit News awards kudos for the wide-opening rear doors: "anyone who has had to lift up a child and strap them into safety seat will appreciate the second-row doors that open out 90 degrees."
The optional third-row bench is for two children, max. Cars.com notes that the third row is "strictly for little kids," and with the third-row seats raised, "there isn't a lot of room behind them." Car and Driver calls it "emergency-size" and deems it fit only for "carpool day."
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. Every review TheCarConnection.com's editors read compliment the Journey on its extreme functionality and use of space. The Journey "excels on the inside," Edmunds reports. It's "loaded with clever, well-conceived minivan-style conveniences" like a cooled glove box for sodas, all those storage bins in the floor and door panels, and an iPod holder in the center console. Car and Driver points out the "most unique aspect of the vehicle by far: the standard, removable underfloor cooler/storage bins that can hold a dozen cans of soda-on ice-without leaking." AutoTrader notes its Tip 'N' Fold seats in the second row "provide quick access to the back with the turn of a lever," and that "both second-row seats and the front passenger seat fold to form a flat load surface." Cars.com appreciates that "the seat backs fold flat at the pull of a strap to dramatically expand cargo space." However, they find it odd that the "liftgate is manual only," whereas many crossovers offer a power liftgate. 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.
Interior quality is a major letdown in the Journey's functional interior. Car and Driver says the Journey has "an ambience about as cheerful as a prison cell fashioned from Tupperware." ConsumerGuide points out the Journey's "excessive use of hard plastics and unpadded materials." TruckTrend finds the Journey's "noise, vibration, and harshness characteristics are good," but considers the four-cylinder rougher than most modern designs.