This week, we’re driving the 2014 Dodge Journey, a midsize Crossover introduced back in 2009.
Available in seven trims, pricing starts at just $19,995 for the American Value Package (AVP) to one of the upper class trims like our Crossroad tester, which came in at a base of $24,995.
Regardless of choice, be ready for some enjoyable road trips with the family followed by multi-tasking galore during weekday demands.
Available as a five or seven passenger vehicle, consumers will be drawn to the low cost AVP for obvious reasons. Under the hood sits a 173-horse, 166-torque 2.4-liter four-cylinder coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission.
The use of a four-speed these days is surprising considering Chrysler’s leadership in multi-speed transmissions. Granted, I know a nine-speed automatic coupled to a four-cylinder won’t return any real value, but perhaps a six-speed might help with the acceleration a bit when fully loaded.
The seven Journey models available are the four-cylinder front drive AVP, ($19,995, front-drive only); SE ($21,995), SXT ($23,295) and SXT Plus ($24,290). All of these Journey’s deliver 19 city and 26 highway, which isn’t bad considering its size and weight.
Each of the four-cylinder Journeys, sans the American Value model and the SXT Plus, can be fitted with 4×4 mechanicals for $1500 to $1850 more, a move which also adds the V6 engine. Front-drive Journeys that come with the V6 and six speed automatic as standard include Limited ($28,395) and R/T ($28,995).
Our tester, however, is the seventh distinct Journey available, and it’s also the one we feel is the best of the bunch with a $24,995 entry for the four cylinder and $28,395 for the 4×4. It’s called Journey Crossroad and is actually an SXT Plus with numerous enhanced features.
Our Crossroad arrived in 4×4 format powered by Chrysler’s trusty and powerful Pentstar V6 coupled to a proven six-speed automatic. The only options were a $145 tow package and $995 for Navigation with a back-up camera.
Notable is that for only $705 more than the $24,290 SXT Plus, Crossroad delivers a more enterprising exterior design, refined interior, gloss black grille, black bezel headlamps and tail lamps, platinum chrome roof rails and front/rear fascias with platinum chrome accents, 19-inch hyper black aluminum wheels and 225/55R19 All-Season Touring Tires.
Inside, leather-trimmed seats with sport mesh inserts and light slate gray accent stitching is standard, as are black leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, light slate gray accent stitching on the center console armrest, liquid graphite accent on the IP, gauge cluster, center console and much more. Your dealer is waiting to explain.
Since Journey can seat up to seven passengers, the 283-horse, 260-torque Pentstar V6 is the better choice. With an EPA rating of 16/24 for the 4x4s, we bettered Journey’s expected highway mileage on a business trip from Baltimore, MD, to Elmira, NY, coming in at 25.5 on mostly turnpike driving.
Inside, Crossroad takes good care of driver and passengers, with a major dose of soft materials instead of plastic. Additionally, if you need to visit the home center or take the little leaguers to a game, there’s lots of room thanks to storage bins under the seats and even the front passenger seat folding down.
Making cargo room “where there isn’t any” is an area where Chrysler engineers always excel. Additionally, every safety item is standard across the board, from 4-wheel ABS discs to all traction control features and air bags expected.
The stereo is great, too, with a Sirius/CD six-speaker Uconnect system with touch screen the standard fare.
Journey may not be the best in class overall, but it has won its share of awards, including “Ward’s 10 Best Engines” for the V6 and a Strategic Vision award for “Most Improved Vehicle In Class.” You also won’t find anything in class cheaper than the AVP, period.
Overall, Journey is a good looking vehicle regardless of trim, and even the outdated four-speed transmission can be overlooked by those working on a tight budget.
Every Journey buyer receives a roomy, capable mid-size Crossover that will deliver good fuel mileage and go over 500 miles on a tank full of gas.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 113.8 inches, 21.1 gallon fuel tank, up to 67.6 cu. ft. of cargo space with all seats folded, 4,238 lb. curb weight, 7.4-inch ground clearance and a 2,500 lb. tow capacity.
Likes: Interior/exterior design, cargo space, suspension, quiet ride, top value.
Dislikes: Rear safety camera not available until you get to SXT Plus, outdated four-speed automatic.
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for BestRide.com, More Content Now and GateHouse Media publications).