2010 Dodge Journey R/T

There are a few vehicles out there that don’t get the attention they deserve, I’ve even done a story naming a number of them.  How’s this for overlooked?  I forgot to put the Dodge Journey on the list.  Ouch.  I attended the press launch of this vehicle over a year ago and came away thinking it would do pretty well.  Good thing I’m not your stock broker (but hey we can’t always bat 1000).

2010 Dodge Journey R/T

So I requested a Journey R/T for a week of testing just to see if my initial impression was just plain wrong.  I showed it to friends, I found someone who owned one, a couple folks checked it out in the Costco parking lot where I do the TP test.  No, Journey is not perfect but as I suspected people were impressed.

Here’s why

Crossover Utility Vehicles or CUVs are all the rage with families these days.  Effectively replacing the minivan and station wagon, many people shop RAV4, CR-V, Forester, Escape, Santa Fe, and Equinox.   None of these are as versatile as Journey.  The Dodge can seat up to 7 with the optional 3rd row.  All passenger seats, including the front can fold flat to swallow a huge amount of stuff.

2010 Dodge Journey

But that’s just the beginning.  Watch the streaming video and with the help of some of my kid’s plush toys you’ll see that Journey s the closest thing there is to a Leatherman tool on four wheels.  There’s a spot to keep drinks chilled using the air conditioning.  There’s storage under the front passenger chair cushion.  You will loose things in here, guaranteed.

More power please

A base front-wheel drive Journey that seats 5 starts at around 21 grand, this loaded AWD R/T model stickers for $35,795. Two engines are available.  The first is a 2.4L 173 horsepower 4-cylinder with 166 lb.-ft of torque.  I highly recommend moving up to the 3.5 liter V6 with 235 HP and 232 lb-ft of torque.  At around 4200 pounds as tested the Journey R/T is no lightweight.  I’m seeing 0-60 times of 9.2 seconds, not exactly Challenger territory. I’ve got to believe the 4-cylinder would take over 11 seconds to make the same run.  These days that’s s-l-o-w.

The 6-speed automatic transmission is generally well behaved (the 4-cylinder gets a 4-speed).  It can be shifted manually on the console, no steering wheel paddle shifters here.   My tester has the optional all-wheel drive system that’s completely transparent to the driver.  Antilock brakes are decent with moderate feel. They feature brake assist plus there’s the inevitable traction and electronic stability control.  Again, standard equipment.

2010 Dodge Journey R/T

Journey’s ride quality is good with a cabin that’s moderately quiet while on the highway.  Good visibility too.  Cornering is average in class but buy a 3 Series if your looking to do hot laps.  EPA scores fuel economy at 15 city, 23 highway, up one for 2010.

The Insider

The main cabin is an upgrade from past Chrysler products.  It’s certainly no Audi but much better than the plain expanses of plastic used in the original Caliber, Compass and Patriot.  Cup holders are lighted, there are cubbie holes everywhere and a conversation mirror so mom and dad can keep an eye on the kids.  The Chill Zone that’s good for keeping a couple cans of Coke cool is right above the glovebox.  There are two power ports on the lower console, one keeps the juice flowing even when the car is turned off.

2010 Dodge Journey

For the techies out there the Uconnect navigation system has real time traffic, a 30 gig hard drive and a back up camera.  It’s controlled with a small knob that t turned and nudged.  Good thing there’s voice commands.  Load music onto it with the USB port that also supports iPod control. Bluetooth for phones is here too.  It’s all pretty easy to use and the sound system does it’s job well.

Open wide.

The rear doors open very wide to help get the kids in and out. The second row features the most flexible seating system available on any car regardless of price though it feels like I’m sitting on, rather than in it. Seats splits, move fore and aft, recline and can even come with optional integrated booster seats.  This R/T has a separate climate zone back here too.

2010 Dodge Journey

There are bins in the floor behind the front seats that can hold toys, tools or ice and soda.  A 9 inch screen can descend from the ceiling to delight your children.  No DVD?  No problem.  Journey has SIRIUS Backseat TV so there are kids channels on 24/7.  There’s also inputs and an AC power plug to hook up a game console.  Heaven forbid your kids leave that behind.

It’s easy to get into the 3rd row if Journey is ordered up that way.  Wise adults will avoid this space for long trips.  There’s enough headroom but leg and foot room can get a bit pinched depending on how generous the middle row folks are with the sliding seat.  Everyone will appreciate the focused LED aircraft style reading lights that don’t bother the driver.

With all seats usable there’s a small amount of cargo space behind the third row (one bundle of TP in my measurement system). Under the load floor, there’s room for a couple laptop computers. A rechargeable flashlight lives back here too.  Very handy, I used it to change a camera setting at night. Yes it’ll get lost, Dodge says replacements are affordable. Drop row #3 (easy to do) and there’s a good amount of room for family stuff.   An average score in this class is 10 bundles of Kirkland bath tissue, Journey does well at 13.

2010 Dodge Journey

Summing up this Dodge isn’t the quickest in class but it’s supremely useful and in that regard it gets a big thumbs up.  In the week our family lived in it, all of the spaces and features were used and appreciated (except the R/Ts 3,500 pound towing capability).  Families with storage needs may want to consider taking a Journey.

GALLERY BELOW.  ALL STILL PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CHRYSLER.

2 Comments

  1. Toaster says:

    I’ve never been a big fan of Chrysler products, but the Journey does seem very capable as a mini-van replacement/family hauler. Stylistically Dodge/Chrysler vehicles seem kind of bland when comparing to their competition. I look at the Journey and don’t even see it, whereas the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge and Chevy Traverse are eye-catching. I’ve also never thought they (that is Chrysler/Dodge vehicles) were very reliable/durable vehicles due to some bad experiences my dad had with a couple of Dodge and Chryslers when I was going up. That said, the Ram trucks and the Jeep products are supposedly very dependable so Chrysler/Dodge can build a good product if they put the resources into it.

    I’m curious Tom, in your opinion what is the best buy in a 3 row CUV these days? Personally I like the GM full size CUVs probably the best overall (Acadia, Traverse, Outlook and Enclave) with the Enclave being my favourite of the group. They can get pricey quickly when optioned out though.

    I also like the Kia Sorento from what I’ve read about it so far, and it’s combo of utility, value, features and style is probably going to put it in my sights when it comes time to pull the trigger on a new one in a couple of years (look forward to your review on that one).

    • TV says:

      I firmly believe that there’s no “best buy” because different buyers react to brands and styling in so many ways. That said, in the real world, the Traverse seems to be a good value. It’s roomy, performs well and dealers are willing to move them out the door. I also like Flex but understand not everyone is on board with the design. Pilot is also worth a look but the blocky design also seems to polarize people. In the luxury end MDX is a very nice ride and seems to be forgotten as new stuff comes out. Have not driven the Sorento yet but hope to soon. Hyundai Santa Fe is also a good value.

      I’m looking forward to the updates on the Dodge. It will be interesting to see how the new engine performs and what they do with the interior. Since Ram was done so well there’s reason to believe it should look good.