Dodge claims the Journey crossover combines the practicality of a minivan and the ruggedness of an SUV, which is almost right. The Journey is a good alternative for small families who want to avoid the minivan and station wagon stigma but still desire plenty of space and versatility.
The Journey was introduced in 2009, but it received a thorough refresh for 2011, giving it a much nicer interior, updated powertrains, and some slight revisions to the already handsome styling. That face-lift was crucial, as the Journey was transformed from a second-rate player in the crossover market to a legitimate competitor. More luxurious interior materials, even on base models, make the cockpit a nice place to spend time, although newer competitors are surpassing the six-year-old Journey.
Overall, the only major fly in the ointment is the Journey’s fuel economy. With the base four-cylinder engine, the Journey only manages 26 mpg on the highway, and that engine is vastly underpowered for the size of the crossover. With the optional V-6 and all-wheel drive, the Journey gets about the same fuel economy as the much larger and more powerful Chevrolet Tahoe two-wheel drive. Perhaps Chrysler’s nine-speed auto would help the Journey in this pursuit.
Otherwise, with tons of interior cubbies and storage binnacles, ample space for two adults and three kids, and competitive pricing, the Journey isn’t a bad choice for many people. And with six years under its belt, another refresh or redesign will surely make it even more attractive.