2011 DODGE JOURNEY REVIEW
Vehicle Style: People mover
Fuel Economy (claimed): 10.3 l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 11.3 l/100km
The base-grade Dodge Journey SXT is one of the cheaper people movers out there, but still manages to pack a great deal of utility into its $37k asking price.
- Quality: There were a few sharp edges to some of the dash plastics of our tester, and plastic quality isn’t the greatest. That said, all lidded compartments latched properly and nothing rattled.
- Comfort: The front seats are good, but the second row seat cushions seem a little firm. The optional third row is short on knee, foot and headroom; it’s really only suited to smaller children.
Opting for the third-row seats brings ventilation controls for rear passengers (which can also be controlled remotely by the driver) with roof vents piping air to each occupant.
The rear doors open a full 90-degrees, aiding entry and egress and making it easier for parents to strap youngsters in.
Integrated child booster seats on the outboard positions of the second row are handy for keeping younger children in place, and are easy to use. They too are an optional extra.
- Equipment: Standard features include cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a trip computer, 3.5mm auxilliary input for the stereo, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, an integrated LED torch in the boot, foglamps and 17-inch alloys.
- Storage: Behind the third-row seats there’s a 167 litre space, along with an under-floor storage tray. Fold the third row and luggage capacity expands to 784 litres. With both the second and third row stowed, there’s 1461 litres of space.
Elsewhere, there are two under-floor storage bins beneath the second row, as well as an storage tray under the front passenger seat squab. The two gloveboxes are sizable, and there’s plenty of storage in the centre console.
ON THE ROAD
- Driveability: The 2.7 litre naturally-aspirated petrol V6 can struggle to shift the 1.7-tonne Journey, particularly with a full load of people aboard. Long hills have it working hard.
Despite having a six-speed automatic gearbox, the 136kW/256Nm V6 simply doesn’t have enough muscle.
- Refinement: There’s a fair degree of wind noise - a consequence of the Journey’s boxy shape. However, the big cabin isn’t boomy or troubled by excessive roadnoise at highway speeds.
- Suspension: The suspension is soft and absorbs broken urban pavement easily. It can be a bit ‘boaty’ on highways, but ride comfort is generally good.
The 11.7 metre turning circle is acceptable for a big people mover, and the steering wheel is quite well-weighted.
- Braking: The brakes can feel a little too soft, but only when carrying a heavy load.
- ANCAP rating: Not tested.
- Safety features: Dual front airbags, dual front side airbags, full-length curtain airbags, three-point seatbelts for all seats, ABS, brake assist and stability control are all standard. A reversing camera is optional on the Journey SXT.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
- Warranty: 3 years/100,000km.
- Service costs: Intervals are scheduled for every 12,000km. A basic service cost $310, with a major service costing $650. The first major service occurs at 48,000km, with the next at 96,000km.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
- Honda Odyssey ($41,990) - The Odyssey is presently our favourite people mover. Superb driving dynamics, a spacious cabin and a solid build make it hard to beat, although the Journey does boast more storage options than the Honda. (see Odyssey reviews)
- Toyota Tarago GLi ($52,490) - The Tarago has less power and torque than the Journey, and is over $15,000 more expensive. It may be spacious, but you pay a huge premium for it. (see Tarago reviews)
- Hyundai iMax petrol ($36,990) - The iMax has space to seat eight adults in reasonable comfort, and can carry a lot of luggage.
Performance from its 2.4 litre petrol engine is worse than the Dodge though (the $39,990 2.5DT diesel iMax is far the better option). (see iMax reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
The Dodge Journey isn’t especially sophisticated, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s well equipped for carrying the average family around, and has plenty of spots for child-related paraphernalia to be tucked away.
The 2.7 litre V6 might not be the best performer when there’s a full load in the back, but it’s the packaging at the price that is the Journey’s main asset.
if you really need more grunt, there’s always the 2.0 turbo-diesel Journey R/T. It costs more, at $46,000, but brings fuel bill savings with the extra-performance.