2015 Dodge Journey Review

Consumer Reviews
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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
May 27, 2015

The 2015 Dodge Journey is at once an alternative to minivans and large crossovers, with intelligent packaging and good value.

The Dodge Journey neatly splits the difference between a wagon and a more upright crossover or SUV. Though it flies mostly under the radar, the Journey has been steadily improving over the years and is now a competent crossover, offering seating for up to seven passengers.

With smart packaging and a far nicer interior, plus better roadholding and handling than the original, today's Journey is more flexible than five-seat competitors and includes a lot of features for the price. While it sells in roughly the price range of compact crossovers, it's dimensionally larger--meaning you get more car for the money. Larger families may find it suits their needs without the thirst for fuel and sheer on-the-road bulk of larger seven-seat mid-size crossovers like the Toyota Highlander or the much longer Nissan Pathfinder.

We appreciate that Dodge has shaken off the same-as-the-other-guy sheetmetal that clothes other crossovers, giving the Journey lines that are refreshingly different, even if they're no longer necessarily fresh. The look isn't totally out there, but different enough to avoid that same-old-family-vehicle styling rut. Inside, the Journey follows a smooth, swoopy look and simple layout, with large dials and knobs and an LCD touchscreen framed by high-quality materials.

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The Journey's base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 177 hp. It is mated exclusively to an aging four-speed automatic and front-wheel drive. Although rated for slightly better gas mileage, this engine feels strained most of the time. The step-up engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 283 hp; power is routed through a six-speed automatic to either the front or all four wheels. The V-6 is much more modern, quieter, and has plenty of power to move the Journey around.

The Journey's handling is reasonably responsive. Chrysler recently reworked the suspension to include stiffer, better-responding shocks and a lower ride height in front, and it's honed some of the duller responses the Journey had in its initial model years. The ride quality remains a strong point, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle, but the rather quick steering ratio feels a little out of place.

Dodge and Chrysler clearly applied some of its long-honed expertise with minivans to the Journey's interior, as people and cargo really fit well and there are plenty of smaller spaces for personal items, toys, and accessories. Front seats are what we’d best describe as ‘American-sized’—think wider than most. Back-seat accommodations are among the best you’ll find in any vehicle this size, and the seats are contoured to fit adults; the seatback is adjustable for rake, and the whole bench slides fore and aft a few inches, so it’s easy to get comfortable back there. The rear seat folds fully flat, and under the rearward portion of the cargo floor there’s a huge space vast enough for a couple of laptop bags.

The Journey is offered in an extensive lineup, with AVP (American Value Package), SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited, and R/T models. You'll need to step up to SE models to get the V-6 engine or all-wheel drive. But even with the base model you get power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; pushbutton start; a cooled glove box; a telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player. Bluetooth isn't included on the base model, but it is a $395 option. Seven-passenger seating is available even on the base model, while you'll need to get the SXT to get the UConnect media center option. That includes an 8.4-inch touch-screen that at the top of the lineup can combine with a Garmin navigation system. Sirius Satellite Radio and TravelLink features are available, along with a premium audio system.

Changes for 2015 are few. Models equipped with the 8.4-inch touch-screen display include five years of free Sirius XM Traffic and TravelLink. Formerly optional 17-inch aluminum wheels are now standard on Journey SE AWD models, previously a $595 option. And there are some new paint options: Billet Silver Metallic and Blue Streak Pearl.

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2015 Dodge Journey

Styling

The Journey's shape is holding up well; its newer cabin is still a handsome workplace.

Like the rest of the package, the Journey's styling strikes a nice balance between wagon and SUV. It has its own look in the crossover space, and nicely blends some minivan practicality into something with a more interesting shape.

While its profile may look a slab-sided, the chiseled sheetmetal and flared wheelwells feel refreshing and different in an era of crossovers that typically skew to either the very boxy or incredibly curvaceous ends of the spectrum. Its square shoulders, crosshair grille and smartly embossed fenders make it look at least a little athletic, especially considering its compact size. 

Inside, the Journey has a smooth, swoopy look. The layout is simple, with large dials and knobs framed by high-quality materials. Open the Journey's door, and a bolt of metallic trim directs you quickly across a more softly sculpted dash, with suave finishes and tight fits. The contoured center stack gets mixed in with round cut-tube gauges and a blocky steering wheel, and it all hangs together, along with a big LCD screen (on some versions) and no-fuss climate controls that ride sidesaddle on that strip of bright trim. Although the interior materials are dark, there's enough well-placed brightwork to break it up and also give it a slightly more upscale feel.

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2015 Dodge Journey

Performance

Pass up the four-cylinder: the V-6 Journey has good acceleration, though handling's just okay.

The Dodge Journey offers power with a modicum of economy, as long as you choose the right engine.

The Journey isn't the right option for those looking for top-shelf fuel economy or a four-cylinder engine. The standard engine is a rough, 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a four-speed automatic that disappoints in virtually every way possible. It's just not powerful enough to move the Journey with confidence. The four-cylinder, if you're still interested, is available only with front-wheel drive.

The V-6 model is the one to aim for. Its 3.6-liter 'Pentastar' engine produces 283 hp and is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission. That six-speed works well when you're really pushing the Journey, but we've experienced some shuddering in stop-and-go traffic. The six is required for all-wheel drive, but it's also available with front-wheel drive.

The Journey's handling is reasonably responsive. Its suspension loads and unloads confidently, like that of a lower and leaner vehicle, and there's none of the excessive bounding or wallowing when you hit a bump mid-corner with some taller crossovers. The ride quality remains a strong point, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle. And while the hydraulic-assist steering system gets it right with weighting, the rather quick steering ratio feels a little out of place in a vehicle this size, and with this purpose.

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2015 Dodge Journey

Comfort & Quality

The Journey's unexpected storage impresses us far more than its skimpy third-row offering.

The Journey seems most intended for families, and parents will find a lot to like inside. Lessons learned in the minivan game have trickled down to the Journey, with intelligent seating arrangements, plenty of cubbies scattered around the cabin, and even some underseat and underfloor spots to stash things. Whether hauling people, cargo, or a mix, the Journey is flexible enough to accommodate your needs.

Front seats are what we’d best describe as ‘American-sized’—think wider than most. Back-seat accommodations are among the best you’ll find in any vehicle this size, and the seats are contoured to fit adults (two of them, or three kids); the seatback is adjustable for rake, and the whole bench slides fore and aft a few inches, so it’s easy to get comfortable back there.

In back, folding the seats forward takes an extra step—you slide the middle portion of the outboard cushions up and forward first—but the reward is that you get a lower, flatter load floor as well as that better contouring. There are also many thoughtful solutions for storing odds and ends, and keeping some of them out of sight. For instance, the cushion of the passenger seat flips up to reveal a bin underneath, while below the rearward portion of the cargo floor there’s a huge space vast enough for a couple of laptop bags.

Journeys optioned with the third-row seat offer good occasional-use space for smaller folks. Adults probably won't want to head back, but that's generally the case in anything with three rows outside a minivan.

The cargo hold specs out at a swell 37 cubic feet behind the second row, and a tight 10.7 cubic feet behind the raised (optional) third-row seat. Flip everything down behind the front seats, and you can fit a half-dozen flat-screen TVs in the Journey's 67.6 cubic feet of space.

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7

2015 Dodge Journey

Safety

Crash-test scores have been about average, but the Journey failed one crash test rather spectacularly.

The 2015 Dodge Journey is generally well-rated for safety, even though its structural layout is aging and wasn't designed with today's specific tests in mind.

Every Journey comes standard with dual front, side, and curtain airbags; stability and traction control; active head restraints; and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control. Integrated child booster seats are also offered for the second row. And we recommend the optional rearview camera and parking sensors, since visibility to the rear can be difficult, especially with a packed vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2015 Journey four stars for frontal crash and rollover protection. While the 2015 model lacks an overall rating or one for the side-impact category, the mechanically identical 2014 received an overall rating of four stars and a top five-star individual score for side-impact protection, both of which should carry over.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2015 Journey its top rating of 'good' on all four tests it conducted: moderate-overlap front crash, side crash, roof strength, and seats and head restraints. But it earned a 'poor' rating in the small overlap frontal test—in a showing that was bad enough for the IIHS to call it out as particularly poor.

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2015 Dodge Journey

Features

It may ride on an older platform, but the Journey has some of the most up-to-date infotainment features in its class.

With six models to choose from, there's no shortage of variety in the Journey lineup. For 2015, the roster includes the American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited, and R/T trim levels.

The built-to-a-price American Value package includes a decent amount of features, such as power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; 17-inch wheels; pushbutton start; a cooled glove box; a telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player. Bluetooth isn't included on the base model, but it is a $395 option. Seven-passenger seating is also available. The SE adds window tinting and roof rails, and makes the V-6 available, as well as all-wheel drive.

You'll also need to get the SXT, at minimum, to get the UConnect media center, an option that we appreciate for its ability to easily control a wide range of devices ranging from iPhones to SD cards (it even quickly indexed one with 16 GB of music). The system includes an 8.4-inch touch-screen that at the top of the lineup can combine with a Garmin navigation system that isn't all that intuitive. Sirius Satellite Radio and TravelLink features are available, along with the premium audio system, and a DVD entertainment system for backseat passengers is also optional.

The Crossroad model is mostly appearance, with 19-inch wheels, platinum exterior accents, and leather seats with mesh inserts. The Limited model includes standard UConnect, leather, and the 19-inch wheels. At the top R/T level you add appearance upgrades like red accent stitching, satin-carbon aluminum wheels, and a six-speaker, 368-watt premium audio system.

Changes for 2015 are few. Models equipped with the 8.4-inch touch-screen display include five years of free Sirius XM Traffic and TravelLink. Formerly optional 17-inch aluminum wheels are now standard on Journey SE AWD models, previously a $595 option. And there are some new paint options: Billet Silver Metallic and Blue Streak Pearl.

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7

2015 Dodge Journey

Fuel Economy

Six-cylinder Journeys get average fuel economy; the four-cylinder doesn't make the grade.

The Journey's gas mileage is acceptable. The four-cylinder doesn't get the sky-high numbers you'd want to see for its thin, noisy performance, while the V-6 accelerates well--as it should for its relatively low numbers.

Technically, the base four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission produce the best mileage ratings in the lineup--an EPA-rated 19/26 mpg. That's lower than most other four-cylinder crossovers, and not at all impressive.

The V-6 versions have somewhat lower numbers, but they're directly competitive with other V-6 crossovers, and we've seen good numbers in real-world driving, with results that meet or beat the Journey's 17-mpg city, 25 highway EPA ratings. Over about 700 miles of driving—across Michigan, and including a mix of freeway driving, family-hauling, and suburban side trips—we averaged 24 mpg. That's not far from what we've seen in four-cylinder crossovers this size in that kind of driving, and those models' powertrains aren't as satisfying as this V-6.

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October 11, 2015
2015 Dodge Journey FWD 4-Door American Value Pkg

awesome couldn't be happier

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Wow....we love our Journey. Got the base 4 banger and love it/ was worried about power but for me, and daily mostly city some highway, I love it. I get high 20's all the time for mpg. There was nothing out... + More »
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September 24, 2015
2015 Dodge Journey AWD 4-Door R/T

Love, love, love it!

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Never owned a dodge or a crossover before, but so far I just love it. Has all the options I wanted, back up camera, wireless phone, heated seats and steering wheel, seats 6-7 people, lots of room for luggage... + More »
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July 16, 2015
2015 Dodge Journey FWD 4-Door Crossroad

love

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We bought the cross road Dodge journey last week we are happy we are on a road trip now . our adult children don't think it's roomy enough well we do .thanks we Live it .
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April 28, 2015
2015 Dodge Journey FWD 4-Door SE

Very Pleased with it.

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We just took it on a short road trip. It was very easy to handle on the road and really good on gas. Very comfortable.
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April 13, 2015
For 2015 Dodge Journey

Steady As She Goes

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My 2015 Dodge Journey SXT now has a bit over 10,000 kms. I have previously owned a 2009 Journey SXT and a 2012 Dodge Journey Crew so I am definitely a fan of this particular CUV. All my Journeys have had the... + More »
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