Journey 2.0 CRD SXT Automatic
for a family-bus
the bank, thats
equipment, easy to use, versatile
and with seven seats? If so, you
than your local Dodge dealer...
WHILST ITS PARENT COMPANY IN THE USA still waits to see if they are going
to receive a 'Christmas present' in the form of
a share of the US Government's $15 billion car industry bailout package,
Chrysler Group UK plans to combat the downturn in new and used car sales by
running a high-profile retail focus for all of their three brands: Chrysler,
Jeep and Dodge. Each of the three brands will have core sales models which,
in the case of the Chrysler brand will be the 300C and Grand Voyager; for Jeep
the Patriot, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee; and for Dodge the new Journey as reviewed
The Journey a crossover between a seven-seat MPV with the looks of an
estate or even an SUV sports Utility Vehicle is the most recent addition
to Chrysler Group's 'budget' brand Dodge range and the mode of transport for
the annual end-of-year media 'Cruise-to-Bruges'.
Value for money, high specification and bold and distinctive in-your-face looks
are the three core pillars of what the Dodge products stand for, and on the
face of it the Journey offers all of these.
The Dodge Journey is portrayed as a vehicle for people who need an MPV but do
not actually want to drive one. Priced from £16,639 to £22,511, the all-American
muscular-styled Journey is all about family transport families, that
is, with 'attitude'. Not for them the rounded, blandly-styled eco-boxes but
big and bold-is-better are the requirements. Size, however, might be an issue
for parking the Journey is 4,888mm long and fuel economy is not great.
The Journey with five-plus-two seating combinations in three rows is available
with the choice of two engines and SE, SXT and R/T trim and equipment levels,
with SXT being the most popular.
The petrol engine choice is a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, variable valve timing,
168bhp unit mated to a five-speed manual transmission that Dodge says will attract
only a very small number of customers. However, low mileage owners could be
attracted by the lower purchase price and the lower cost of petrol fuel over
diesel. The combined fuel cycle economy for this engine is 32.1mpg. CO2 emissions
of 209g/km give it an annual road tax bill of £210.
The second engine in the line-up that Dodge says will account for 98%
of sales is a Volkswagen-sourced 2.0-litre turbodiesel 138bhp unit with
310NM of torque from 1,750rpm.
This engine is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed, twin-clutch
automatic transmission; around 60% of customers are expected to opt for the
manual gearbox. The manual gearbox models are quoted as achieving 43.5mpg with
CO2 emissions of 171g/km, which puts them in the £170 Band E for road tax. Automatic
diesel models have a 186g/km rating, so it's Band F for road tax at £210.
Value for money, a high level of specification and versatile seating combinations
are important reasons to consider the Journey as funky and fun family transport.
All versions have three-zone air conditioning, six-speaker sound system, electric
windows, anti-lock braking, electronic stability and traction control, trailer
sway control, front, front seat and side curtain airbags, child seat fittings
and remote central locking with a security alarm.
SE models have steel wheels; all other models have 17 or 19-inch alloys. SXT
and R/T variants see the specification levels increase still further and 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 £1,468 or £1,957 with the added rear
seat video entertainment unit.
The three rows of seats and their slide and fold combinations are very clever
and, in the main, easy to use. The added under-floor (or under-seat) lined storage
boxes are well thought out and the cooler section in the glovebox for drinks
is very useful.
With the middle and rear rows of seats folded down there is a long flat load
floor and this can be extended further by folding the front passenger seatback
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. With all three rows of
seats in use the luggage space is pretty limited at 302 litres but the under-floor/under-seat
storage bins help rectify that. With the middle and rear rows of seats folded
down, the load area is a huge 1,914 litres although 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.
As for 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 6-speed automatic transmission returned
27mpg during my Cruise to Bruges around 6mpg less than the manual transmission
model I tested during the product launch earlier this year.
When it comes to handling the Journey doesn't set any new standards it
is no more than capable and the steering responses are lazy. But it scores much
better for ride comfort and generally coped well with motorways and the unforgiving
cobbled streets of Bruges.
Overall the Journey is an interesting concept and good at what it is designed
to do: carry people and lug loads. But in this competitive world there are more
sophisticated vehicles of a similar people and load carrier type being discounted
by European manufactures.
The mainstream Journey models do not have a significant pricing edge over the
competition to make them attractive enough for cash-strapped customers to be
bold enough, in these hard times, to buy a Dodge. Added to which, the published
prices not as competitive as those of other Dodge models, driving and handling
refinement is so-so and the automatic model is more expensive to tax. Reasons
to buy include the distinctive non-family-bus styling, the high specification
and the easy-to-use versatile seating.
On pricing, my '58' registration plate 'Bruges Cruiser' Journey 2.0 CRD SXT
automatic weighed in at £20,749 but I have just seen advertised in my local
paper by a Chrysler Group dealership the same model, same year, same specification
and 3,000 miles on the clock for just £17,800. You see, there are bargains still
out there! David Miles
Dodge Journey 2.0 CRD SXT Automatic | £20,749
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
Overall test MPG: 27mpg | Power: 138bhp | Torque: 229lb ft
CO2 186g/km | VED Band E £210 | Insurance group 11E