As the old saying goes, having kids can be a blessing and a curse, and what to transport the little ones in is of the many issues John and Jane Doe have to address as the family expands. Once upon a time, the minivan and station wagon were the usual suspects. Today, there's a multitude of options for modern families, with updated 2011 Dodge Journey one of several choices on Dodge lots alone.

Like its Dodge stablemates, the Journey has been refreshed for 2011 in an effort to make the midsize crossover more attractive to modern families. Journey press materials profess that the mid-level Crew model we recently tested possesses "the flexibility of a minivan, the image of a crossover, and driving dynamics of a performance sedan." The last part is more than a bit of a stretch, but the rest of the statement is spot-on.

While memorable driving experiences and technological wizardry aren't exactly the Journey's strong suits, John and Jane could care less. What's more important is getting little Doe to their play date safely and easily, and the Journey is a viable option if they find the minivan too lame and larger SUVs too intimidating.

The Journey has been criticized for a lack of refinement in the past, and Dodge has made a solid effort to address the crossover's shortcomings with the 2011 model. Not much has changed on the outside, with the Journey retaining much of its original shape while infusing subtle, modern revisions to the front and rear ends for the new decade.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 has been a welcome addition to the Chrysler/Dodge lineup, and not surprisingly, it finds its way under the Journey's hood as well. Our Pentastar-equipped Journey tester with all-wheel drive and six-speed automatic was good for a 7.5-second 0-60 mph time and 15.9-second quarter-mile run, which is spritely enough for the more heroic merges onto the highway. As peak torque and horsepower come later in the powerband -- 4400 and 6350 rpm, respectively -- drivers may experience the need to get the six-cylinder's revs up. There's 4350 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic that won't get moving on its own, after all.