Journey 2.0 CRD SXT
a car that suits the family
can be a tricky business. Not only
is it necessary to accommodate a mix
of bodies but it also has to look good
and cost substantially less than your
could be one for your short-list...
THE ALL-NEW DODGE JOURNEY is portrayed as a vehicle having the seven-seat
capability of an MPV but with the looks of large high-off-the-ground estate
car or soft off-roader even though it is only two-wheel drive. Priced from £16,995,
the muscularly styled Journey is aimed at younger families for whom interior
space plays a lesser role than image, specification and price.
One of the more distinctive family transport model ranges now arriving in the
showrooms, the Dodge Journey is true to its all-American roots. Like all Dodge
models, it features hard-line angular styling, muscular wheelarches and a distinctive
upright front grille, all of which give it a brash, in-your-face appearance.
Size-wise, its 4,888mm length is similar to that of a Ford Mondeo estate.
Well timed for the '58' plate September new registration month, the Journey
with five-plus-two seating combinations in three rows is available now, with
the choice of three trim and equipment levels (SE, SXT and R/T) and two engine
A 168bhp 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, variable valve timing petrol engine mated
to a five-speed manual transmission is the most powerful offering, even though
Dodge says it will attract only two per cent of customers. Likely to appeal
to low mileage owners attracted by the lower purchase price and lower cost of
petrol over diesel fuel, it could increase Dodge's sales forecast for this model.
For the record, the combined fuel cycle economy is 32.1mpg with CO2 emissions
of 209g/km giving it an annual road tax bill of £210.
The second engine in the line-up which Dodge expect will account for
98 per cent of sales is a Volkswagen-sourced 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit
with power and torque outputs of, respectively, 138bhp and 229lb ft of torque
This engine is available with the option of a six-speed manual or six-speed,
twin-clutch automatic transmission. Around two thirds of customers are expected
to opt for the manual 'box and these models are quoted as achieving 43.5mpg
with CO2 emissions of 171g/km (£170 Band E annual road tax).
Value for money, a high level of specification and versatile seating combinations
are all important reasons to consider the Journey as funky 'n' fun family transport.
As with all Dodge models, specification is high all versions have three-zone
air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system, electric windows, ABS, electronic
stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front, front seat and
side curtain airbags, child seat fittings and remote central locking with a
SE models have steel wheels; all other models have 17 or 19-inch alloys. SXT
and R/T variants see the specification levels boosted still further: some of
the added goodies include a power-operated driver's seat, a more comprehensive
instrument display plus on-board information computer, fog-lights and stain
and odour repellent seat fabric.
Extra cost options include an excellent MyGig multimedia infotainment system
with 3D satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and rear view camera. This
costs an extra £1,500 or £2,000 with the added rear seat video entertainment
The three rows of seats with their slide-and-fold combinations are very clever
and, in the main, easy to use. The added under-floor (or under-seat squab) lined
storage boxes are well thought-out and the cooler section in the glovebox for
drinks is also very handy.
With the middle and rear rows of seats folded down, there is a long flat load
floor that can be extended further by folding the front passenger seat back
down. In many ways the versatile seating is a prime reason for buying the Journey:
that, and its non-conventional MPV styling. A word of warning: the middle row
of seats is not really wide enough for three adults. And with all three rows
of seats in use, the luggage space is, at 302-litres, pretty limited although
the under-floor/seat storage bins do help. With the middle and rear rows of
seats folded down, the load area is a huge 1,914 litres but the hard plastic-covered
rear wheel arches intrude significantly into the load space.
The quality of materials, the design of the dashboard and the build quality
is probably the best we have seen from Dodge so far, but the feel of the materials
and the overall look isn't, as yet, up to the standards set by European, Japanese
or indeed the Korean brands.
What about performance and driveability? Again, the Journey is outclassed by
many of its competitors but by a lesser amount than other models in the Dodge
range. The engine we know well from VW: it's noisy at times, but it's strong,
responsive and relatively fuel-efficient given the size of vehicle it is powering.
My 2.0-litre CRD SXT turbodiesel test car with a six-speed manual transmission
returned 33.2mpg during the first UK test drive on all types of roads and in
all kinds of traffic conditions. Unfortunately there were no 2.4-litre petrol
or twin-clutch automatic models available for testing at the media launch.
When it comes to handling and ride comfort, the handling is definitely 'old-school'
lots of rock-and-roll, not very precise steering (which lacked any feedback)
and not as good to drive as most others in this sector. The suspension generally
coped pretty well with our poor UK road surfaces, but was on the soft side causing
the car to wallow and roll on undulating and twisty roads.
Overall an interesting model range; one to be considered and with looks that
are definitely not copies of other family-capable people movers. The mainstream
Journey models do not have a significant pricing edge over the competition despite
what Dodge showed us for their top-of-the-range model. My 2.0 CRD SXT manual
test car weighed-in at £19,995 plus £2,000 for extras and for that money you
are into Ford S-Max and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso territory. Other MPV rivals
for sales are the VW Sharan, Vauxhall Zafira, Renault Grand Scenic and the Peugeot
For your money you do get distinctive non-'family bus' styling, a high specification
and easy to use, versatile seating. You also get prices that are not as competitive
as other Dodge models. Still, you cannot put a value on being different and
one has to admit that the Dodge Journey is certainly that. David Miles
Dodge Journey 2.0 CRD SXT | £19,995
Maximum speed: 116mph | 0-62mph: 11.6 seconds
Overall test MPG: 33.2mpg | Power: 138bhp | Torque: 229lb ft
CO2 171g/km | VED Band E £170 | Insurance group 11E