Frank S. Washington, Fri, 20 Nov 2009 08:49:32 PST
Good grief. Sometimes I can't believe that the people who come up with some of these names for automobiles actually get paid. That's was my thought when it came to the Dodge Journey crossover vehicle.
The vehicle was introduced in January and I don't know that it has gathered all that much ink. I'm sure the name has something to do with that. Unless you're taking one, how can you take anything seriously named journey?
It's too bad because given the times the Journey is one of the most usable vehicles that has come out of the Dodge, which is owned by Chrysler LLC, in recent years.
First, the Journey is a crossover utility vehicle. It has the look of a sport-utility but it is built like a car. That translates into better handling, a better ride and better fuel economy.
The first time I drove a Dodge Journey I was taken with its versatility. It had stuff like swivel interior lights, a dual glove box with chill box to keep drinks cool and stow and go storage compartments concealed in the second row floor as well as the cushion of the front passenger seat. And the Journey could accommodate up to seven people with its optional third row.
But what grabbed me about the Journey during my most recent test drive of the Journey was its powertrain. In a word, it was smooth. I had the 2009 Dodge Journey R/T. It was powered by a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic and it made 235 horsepower.
There is also a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that makes 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a four speed automatic and gets 19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the hwy.
I had the front-wheel drive version of the R/T, though it does come with all-wheel-drive. My test car got 16 mpg in the city and 23 miles per gallon on the hwy. Add four-wheel-drive and the Journey is rated at 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the hwy. That are not stupendous fuel economy numbers but they are better than most sport-utility vehicles.
The Journey accounted itself well here. Acceleration was spunky, the vehicle handled relatively well for front-wheel drive and there wasn't any torque steer. It also didn't drive big. I never felt like I was in an overly large vehicle. It maneuvered well in parking lots. I was able to get into some fairly tight spots without any trouble.
The quietness of the engine and the smoothness of the transmission quite frankly caught me off guard. It gave me the sense that I was driving a vehicle of much higher quality than I perceived coming from a Dodge.
My vehicle had satellite radio, an in dash six disc CD player with MP3 capability and an AUX jack. It was also wired for UConnect which is Chrysler's Bluetooth system that turns compatible cell phones into hands free car phones.
What really impressed me though was that the Journey was equipped with remote start. It also had a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and an 11 volt auxiliary power outlet.
My test vehicle was base priced at $25,920. The only option it was equipped with was a moonroof that cost $795. Add on freight charges and the total price tag came to $27,340.
That's quite reasonable for vehicle that meant to haul several people and a bunch of stuff around all day everyday. About the only thing about my Journey that I questioned was the light beiger interior. I just don't know how clean it would stay hauling people, kids and their stuff everyday let alone through a real winter.