By on June 4, 2011

When I first heard that Chrysler had revised nearly every one of its models for the 2011 model year, I cynically assumed the changes couldn’t possibility make much of a difference. After all, how much could they have done with little money and even less time—and with Detroit’s tendency to make minor changes and expect them to have a major impact? Then I drove the new Dodge Grand Caravan, and was amazed at how much its ride and handling had improved. For those seeking something smaller, or who simply refuse to buy a minivan, Dodge offers the Journey crossover. Underwhelming before, does it now similarly surprise?

The Journey’s sheet metal remains the same. It’s nearly as boxy as the minivan’s, but with the higher stance and the longer, more horizontal front clip of a crossover. Nothing fancy, but nothing off-putting, either. Of course, paint it “mango tango” and even a basic box will get noticed. A revised front fascia and the new 19-inch alloys fitted to the Crew and R/T trim levels suggest that the Journey is now a driving machine. The chrome-clad wheels fitted to the tested Lux, though equally large, aren’t as aggressively styled. One potential mod: even the 19s don’t begin to fill the wheel openings, and the rear in particular could be lowered a couple of inches.

The Journey’s interior revisions are much more extensive, and have an immediate impact. The tan leather fitted to the seats of the tested car looks and feels rich. It attractively contrasts with the black stitching and the soft-touch black trim panels. The thickly padded faux leather on the door panels extends to the inner surface of the door pulls—a premium touch too rarely found even among much more expensive cars. The doors shut with reassuring solidity. The instrument panel was already a soft-touch affair, but the new one has a cleaner, more upscale appearance to match. The various switches aren’t quite up to the rest of the interior. Even so, this is now easily the most upscale interior in the segment. Now in the bottom spot: the Honda Pilot.

The Journey’s ergonomics are also much improved. A large touchscreen, shared with the redesigned Charger sedan, is located where it’s easy to see and reach, without being awkwardly perched atop the instrument panel (as it was previously). The screen’s graphics are larger than most, making it easy to quickly find and tap the desired control (in distinct contrast to the Ford’s newest system). The screen does wash out at times, but simply designed and conveniently located knobs and buttons remain for key functions. A potential source of confusion: the fan speed knob is located between two for the audio system. But I never had the slightest trouble finding the right one. The Bluetooth for the phone works well. It’s possible to dial using the touchscreen, but the voice recognition system got the number right on the first try (simply hit the phone button on the steering wheel then say “Dial 1-234-555-1212”).

The front buckets continue the Journey’s newly premium character, with ample padding and enough contour that you’re coddled within the seat rather than sitting upon it. The driver gets an effective four-way power lumbar adjustment—but oddly a manual recliner. The view forward is very car-like, similar to the Chevrolet Equinox (but with much less of a sense of tunnel vision) and not nearly as high and upright as in the Kia Sorento or Toyota Highlander. The view rearward: not so good thanks to a small rear window and tall headrests that fill most of it.

Unfortunately, nothing could be done about the tight rear seats – short of reworking the metal. The second row—which continues to lack contour but is comfortably high off the floor—must be nearly all of the way back to provide enough legroom for adults, but if this is done there’s almost no legroom in the optional third row.

Adults might occupy both rows in a pinch, but the rearmost is best suited for pre-teens. (Built-in booster seats are an option in the second row.)

The Sorento offers a little more rear legroom (but less headroom in the third row) while the Highlander offers much more. The latter offers more shoulder room as well. The GM crossovers offer about the same amount of shoulder room as the Dodge, but far more rear legroom—easily done since they have no optional third row. Even the Mazda5 microvan, much smaller on the outside, is roomier on the inside.

There might not be much room in the back of the Journey, but Chrysler has equipped it like a large minivan. Every outboard seating position gets an airliner-like aimable LED reading light that looks classy and works well. The third-row seat package includes rear automatic climate control with vents in the ceiling.

In its original iteration, the Journey included an unusually large number of places to stash things. Storage compartments inside the front passenger seat and beneath the floor in the second row have been carried over. A well at the base of the center stack could easily hold a large camera.

There’s a couple inches more cargo space behind the third row than in the Sorento and Highlander—so unlike in those competitors, a single row of grocery bags would fit with no crushing of the eggs. Every seat save the driver’s can be folded to extend the cargo area. The load floor is high off the ground, though, a casualty of the crossover stance.

Like just about every other Chrysler product, for 2011 the Journey can be outfitted with the corporation’s new “Pentastar” 3.6-liter DOHC V6 engine mated to a manually-shiftable six-speed automatic. With 283-horsepower, this mill is considerably more powerful than last year’s 235-horsepower 3.5-liter and competitive in terms of both performance and refinement with the V6s in the Highlander and Sorento. GM’s 3.0-liter feels weak and sounds strained in comparison. Especially when prodded with a heavy right foot, the Chrysler automatic’s shifts have an unusual, firm feel—sporty perhaps, but less refined than the engine. The optional all-wheel-drive effectively blunts torque steer.

Fuel economy as reported by the EPA is a little better than last year, 16/24 vs. 15/23, but the city figure still lags the most efficient competitors. The trip computer confirmed the EPA ratings in real-world driving. Willing to sacrifice performance and/or all-wheel-drive for a couple additional MPG? A 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine remains standard in the base trim level. It’s good for 19/26, well below the 22/32 of the Equinox and 2012 Sorento.

The Journey’s chassis tweaks aren’t substantial. In turns, lean is moderate and body motions are fairly well controlled, but the revised steering is too light and lacks feel, especially on center. For the first 90 degrees, the wheel doesn’t load up at all. The Kumho Solus tires further indicate that sporty handling wasn’t a priority. Chrysler should let the people who tuned the minivan’s chassis have a go at the Journey.

So, if you’ve been looking for the domestic auto industry’s answer to the Audi Q5, this isn’t it. Not that most crossover buyers will mind. Instead, they’ll find a vehicle that is easy to drive and that rides very smoothly and quietly, with a cushier character than the Chevrolet and Kia. The Dodge doesn’t only look more expensive. It also feels more expensive.

The 2011 Journey Lux with all-wheel-drive, third row, sunroof, and nav lists for $36,685, about $3,000 more than the 2010. Roughly $500 of this increase pays for additional features like keyless ignition, Bluetooth, and the four-way power lumbar, according to TrueDelta’s car pricing tool. The rest covers the engine and interior material upgrades. A GM executive once told me that if only the bean counters would let him spend $300 more on interior materials he could charge $3,000 more for the car. Now we have a test. Does the resulting price seem steep? A Chevrolet Equinox LTZ is very close in price to a two-row Journey Lux after a small adjustment for feature differences. A similarly-equipped Toyota Highlander Limited lists for another $3,000 more. Then, of course, there are the Koreans. A Kia Sorento EX V6 with these features lists for nearly $2,000 less. But the Kia has a more truck-like driving position and doesn’t ride as smoothly.

Previously, the Dodge Journey had little to recommend it aside from a relatively low price. Its tight, cheaply outfitted interior did put it at a severe disadvantage. Now, the interior isn’t any roomier, but it is much nicer, even the best in the segment. The new V6 is similarly a match for the segment’s best. Between these two improvements, the Dodge Journey’s higher but still competitive price seems justified. The Dodge Journey’s now deserves a serious look by crossover buyers who don’t need a lot of interior room. Chrysler’s people clearly took the company’s recent brush with death seriously, and in this case accomplished a surprising amount, especially considering the time and money they had to do it.

Dodge provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of car reliability and pricing information.


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58 Comments on “Review & Competition Comparo: 2011 Dodge Journey...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Interesting. I haven’t driven the six, but I test drove the base four cylinder a couple of years ago and it was seriously acceleration challenged. Maybe I should look again.

  • avatar
    UltimateX

    Chrysler has done an amazing job, two years ago I thought that this company was on a death watch. The reliability was bottom of the pack and the interiors were designed by Rubber-Maid. Chrysler outsold Toyota last month, well done Chrysler, well done.

    • 0 avatar

      The question still remains open on reliability. New does not mean reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I have owned, and know a lot of people who own, and have owned Chrysler vehicles over the last 15 years or so, and with one exception, none of us has had any serious problems, and his was fixed under warranty (The motor went out at about 15K after a valve spring failed and the valve dropped into the cylinder). Since 2003, I have owned a 2003 Ram, a 2008 Charger R/T, and now a 2010 Challenger R/T. The Ram had one significant issue, the rear end was incorrectly assembled. I had the truck back the same day, and I was just about to turn 60K on it when I was injured and it’s height forced me to go to a car. The Charger had ZERO issues, except for front end and tire damage caused by the insanely bad roads here in Toledo. I don’t blame Chrysler for that. I traded in the Charger for the Challenger for no real reason other than simply wanting the Challenger, which I would have bought instead of the Charger if the R/T would have been available at the time. My Challenger just turned 7 months old, and so far, it’s been perfect. A couple of my friends drive cars until they fall apart, and most of their Chrysler cars and trucks die of rust before they actually wear out. They can’t say the same about some other of their cars, made by supposedly more “reliable” manufacturers, including Honda, and especially Toyota and Subaru.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    So how does it compare to the Freestyle/T-X?

  • avatar
    RickM

    I am very impressed with the interior, at least from the photos. And I love the versatility of the vehicles in this segment, especially when the front passenger seat folds flat. Tons of cargo space when you need it, or the ability to haul a bunch of people.
    I wish more vehicles had the option of the flat folding front passenger seat.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Looks like a stout Merc GL on profile view.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    My coworker (and wife) just had their second child, he was looking to replace his Fusion with some sort of SUV/crossover kind of vehicle. Since he takes some of his in-laws with him when they go on trips & such, he feels he needs a 7 passenger car. We were brainstorming what 7 passenger vehicles to look at when the Journey was mentioned. I like the Journey in so far as it is similar in size to the Buick Rendezvous in terms of size and overall capacity, which was great for us when our kids were younger.

    He drove one, and seemingly liked it overall, but was scared of the quality reputation of Mopars in general. He’d owned a Neon at one time or another and had many issues with it, and it put him off of another Dodge. Unfortunately for Sergio, he thinks he will try to find a used Honda Pilot or a Toyota Highlander instead. If it were me, I’d go for it, as this would be the wife’s vehicle and she doesn’t travel very far with it day to day. But I can understand someone who’s been burned.

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      Trust is a big problem for Chrysler, and will take years to rebuild. I think they are on the right path with their products these days, but they will have to continue to improve quality and work with their dealers to ensure that any problems customers do have are fixed promptly and efficiently.

      Trust is the reason people continue to pay a premium for Toyotas and Hondas, even though they aren’t quite the same as they were in the early ’90s. These companies have been building their reputations for the past 40 years, so Geozinger’s friend will trust a used Pilot more than a new Journey – despite the fact that a used car comes with some wear and tear.

      The good news for Chrysler is that it seems reputations can be turned round if they stick with it. Both Ford and Hyundai had well deserved reputations for building garbage a few years ago, but have turned around and are now starting to become well regarded. At the same time, Honda and Toyota seem to be resting on their laurels while they decontent their products – kind of like malaise era Detroit. As Bertel has pointed out numerous times, the Japanese don’t even consider the Detroit brands to be competitors at this point (Hubris born of Success?), so it will be easier for resurgent brands like Chrysler to sneak up on them over the next few years.

      In the meantime, Geozinger’s friend should buy a used Pilot – everyone should drive what they like, and are comfortable with.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      You should recommend your friend take a look at the Flex. If he is looking at used Highlanders and Pilots the new Explorer will probably be out of the price range he wants to be in, but the Flex has better incentives, and since it has been on the market for a few years now you can pick one up lightly used for an even better price. It will give a nicer ride, better visibility, and roomier 2nd and 3rd row seats than just about anything else in the class.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @Nullo: He DID try a Flex early in the process, but I think his wife didn’t like it and so that knocked it out of contention. She’s rather petite (5’0″ maybe 100 lbs. when not pregnant) and I suspect she thought it was too big or something.

        I wasn’t brainstorming with him when they drove the Flex. He only asked my opinion after running out of ideas. I was whipping out all kinds of ideas, from a Gelandewagen (as a joke) to the Mitsubishi Outlander. They just had the baby, so this whole exercise is on hold right now.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Am I the ONLY member of the B&B whose (soon to be) wife likes the FLex’s styling?

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        EotD: Am I the ONLY member of the B&B whose (soon to be) wife likes the FLex’s styling?

        Nope. Mrs. Psar was a Flex fan as well. She didn’t like driving it (too large, too heavy-footed), nor did she like that she couldn’t walk through to second row, but she did like the way it looked.

    • 0 avatar

      There might not be enough room inside the Journey. A rear-facing child seat won’t fit in the third row, and I wouldn’t want to put an adult back there for more than an hour, if that. The Journey is only viable if you either have no children under two or no need to put more than one adult in a rear seat. Frankly, he’d probably be best off in a minivan, which would have a much more livable third row than any of these crossovers.

      Reliability remains to be seen. The 2009 Journey was worse than average in its first year or two, but its been about average recently and the 2010 has even been better than average, based on responses to TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey–additional participants always helpful:

      http://www.trudelta.com/car-reliability.php

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        “Frankly, he’d probably be best off in a minivan…”

        That’s what I was trying to tell him. Apparently, short wife + minivan = no deal. Some guys have all the luck…

        I really think Chrysler was on to something with the Man Van. Maybe they could have come up with a WoMan Van, too…

      • 0 avatar

        The Chrysler is the woman van. Also very easy for shorter people to see out of, though it might nevertheless feel larger than she likes.

      • 0 avatar
        okiegirl

        You seem more trustworthy than some of the other review sites I’ve been to, so I would like to tell you what I’m needing, and get your opinion.

        While recently (2 weeks ago) buying my husband a new Dodge truck, we decided it would be time for me to get a new vehicle in the the next 4-6 months. While finalizing on his truck, I was wandering the lot and came upon a Journey. I’m thinking it would be perfect for what I need it for.

        I’m 39, with two grown children, one child starting his senior year, and I have three grandchildren, 2.5 years, 1.5 years, and 1 year. I very rarely have the babies all together, but will have the oldest and youngest a couple of evenings a week. The middle granchild lives with us part-time, so I may have to take him to daycare occasionally during the week. And, of course, the older they get, the more time I’m sure I will have them for sleepovers.

        I don’t want a minivain – yes, my husband and I are being a little vain – and I don’t necessarily feel the need for a full-size SUV.

        Other than the three blocks I drive from home to our store on weekdays and the weekly grocery shopping on Sundays, I don’t drive too much. My husband and I take the occasional road trip for a weekend, and maybe a weeks vacation once a year.

        I’ve looked at quite a few minivans, crossovers, and SUV’s and so far, seem to be heavily leaning towards the Journey.

        Your thoughts?

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Some years back we had one small child and were working on adding more, in a way that made us think twins may be coming. We replaced an aging Volvo V70 XC with a Tribeca 7 passenger. Mistake.

      I suspect that the third rows get used in non minivan cars very, very rarely. The reality is that they dont work very well and a hard to access in all of these SUVs. You cannot get access to baby seats back there and older kids, in boosters, don’t fit will either.

      So for the theoretical possibility that you may want to haul more than five people, and that taking two cars is impractical, you drive a car the other 99% of the time that is too big for you and gets horrendous mileage. If you really need the room and will use it often, get the van. If not, get a five seater that will be more pleasant to drive and save you money. The in laws can follow behind in their car when you run to the local restaurant.

      Your friend’s 5’0 wife could have something a little more maneuveable and accessible, at less cost.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Looks good and I even dig the color.. One thing though, I don’t care for the part of the dash that houses the speedo/tach. Hyundai, Kia and GM do this same theme and it doesn’t jive with me for some reason. Other than that, thumbs up.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      I have no issue with the instrument binnacle structure used these days, it’s a similar design that’s been used for decades by many automakers, heck, even Honda used a variation of this binnacle display for the instrument cluster back in the 70′s with the Civic and Accord.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I mentally remain within the “Plum Crazy” era.

    “Rubber-Maid”

    And, please, inform me what is so bad about one of the finest consumer offerings to grace the retail shelves of the finest purveyors of general consumer goods?

    I would be proud to possess a vehicle interior made to the keen level of a Rubber-Maid product.

    The advantages of such would overwhelm me with ecstatic glee.

    A high-pressure nozzle at garden hose end would allow a thorough cleaning.

    Spilled sundry liquid, semi-liquid, semi-solid (is there a certain percentage of solid to liquid to differentiate between which of the two previous labels is applicable?), and solids could and would be easily herded out of the vehicles interior.

    Currently, I am unable to conceive an advantage of the famous Rubber-Maid “burp”… or was it Tupperware boasting of its “burp?

    Anyway………

    If I ever have a son… heck, even daughter, I would consider naming him/her/it anything but Rubber-maid. That would be too kinky.

    Now… Ghengis Kahn!!!! THAT’S a name!!!!!

    Do I need to get out of the shanty more often?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Hose-able interior? Good in a truck or Jeep, bad in a $30,000 CUV. (Now if someone wanted to make a $20,000 hose-able version…)

      And yes, it’s tupperware that burps.

  • avatar

    The thickly padded faux leather on the door panels extends to the inner surface of the door pulls—a premium touch too rarely found even among much more expensive cars.

    Michael, why would you want a soft-touch, low-durability surface on one of the most high-wear areas of the interior? It only feels luxurious until the vinyl tears.

    • 0 avatar

      I could be proven wrong, but I don’t think this will be a major wear area. Armrests and steering wheels received much more wear, yet steering wheels are commonly covered in leather.

      • 0 avatar

        In my experience, the cheap padded vinyl used by various Detroiters, to cover armrests and dashboards, wears out far quicker than a typical leather-wrapped steering wheel.

        I really doubt Fiasler has managed spectacular strides in this area, but I guess we’ll see.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    GM and Chrysler are on a HUGE roll…now if only we could light a fire under that “3rd wheel” of domestic automakers…Ford still has a chance at greatness…but they need to change their entire lineup first.

    • 0 avatar
      ciddyguy

      Silvy,

      You are hopless, just absolutely hopeless.

      You seem to find every opportunity to rag on Ford as much as possible, and much of what you rag on about, has no basis in reality.

      If anything, it’s GM I worry about, Ford and Chrysler seem to be doing good so far.

      I think we have a fanboi here of some kind.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      While I have never owned a Ford product, and in the past have really been repulsed by their “styling”, I have to admit I actually like the looks of many of their cars and trucks now, and I wouldn’t have to have some sort of “$25,000 Ford Gift Certificate” to actually buy one now. If I was to go out and buy a new pickup truck, I would pick the Ram first, the F-150 second, and the Sierra next, with the Chevy after that. This is based on both test drives and looks. The GM trucks aren’t in the slightest bit attractive anymore. I really liked the looks of my 2000 Sierra, but a new one repels me. A little less than the Silverado does, but it still repels me.

      GM has a lot of cars that I don’t like the looks of now. N ever used to be that way. Sad.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      GMs on a roll? I can’t think of any model I would buy (except for a Corvette) and I see no GM cars in my neighborhood. Based on what I see on the streets, I’d guess that the entire new Buick lineup is a flop.

      I do see *a lot* of new Fords, and to a lesser extent, Chryslers.

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        GM’s full size cars beating Ford’s in sales, the Cruze beating the Focus with retail sales increasing 150%. The large crossovers HANDILY beating anything from Ford, Buick MURDERING Lincoln, etc.

        But yes, I would consider myself a “fanboi”…..I absolutely love Chrysler’s new lineup!

  • avatar
    slumba

    Can I ask, given slightly older folks getting into and out of the car, do you have the B pillar and/or the steering wheel getting in the way? Rented a 2011 Malibu and had to move the seat back in order to get out, though it was comfortable to drive once you were in driving position; but for short trips it would be murder.

  • avatar
    SV

    I was very impressed with the Journey’s interior when I sat in it at the car show. Attractive design and surprisingly plush materials. It’s just a shame that interior is saddled with such a “blah” exterior (though the changes they made are a big improvement).

    Overall I’m surprised at how much more attractive this facelift has made the Journey overall. If I were in the market for this sort of car I still doubt I’d buy one, but I’d at least consider it. It makes me excited to see what the new Chrysler will do with the Caliber replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      akitadog

      I disagree about the exterior. When this first came out, I thought it was the best-looking and most “manly” of the 3-row non-minivans out there. Unfortunately, I also thought that the exterior was the only thing it had going for it.

      Those interior photos look really good now and my wife and I are strongly considering a 3-row mini-minivan in a few years, especially for when child #2 shows up. Looks like we’ll be able to compare this with the Mazda 5 (with Sky engine, not current dog) and the Ford C-Max (with the DI turbo 4). Hopefully Dodge will have a competitive 4-cyl by then.

      • 0 avatar

        The Journey is much larger than the Mazda5 and C-Max on the outside–it’s larger than it looks–but about equally roomy (maybe a little less so) on the inside. It also weighs quite a bit more. So it won’t match them in fuel economy. It also handles like a midsize SUV rather than a compact car.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Maybe now the Journey IS the “World’s Most Perfect Vehicle”?

    • 0 avatar
      MrRams27

      Not in the slightest chance. What the review doesn’t tell you of is te lack of attention to even the slightest of detail that every other car maker has shown. When you open the rear liftgate, the taillight unit’s edge is sharp as a knife. That not only scrams to me cost-cutting, but also a sense of carelessness. Just imagine what they penny-pinched on that you can’t see.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    If I would even think about buying one of these, the tan seats would have to go. Give me dark grey/black, anywhere and everywhere inside a vehicle, and I’m happy enough. I don’t want to see tan/white/light grey anywhere inside a car or truck.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Seeing these in traffic them seem to be “right sized” in comparison to other rides. Somewhere between a too small (for some) CUV and the way too common oversized, massive SUVs. A manually shifted auto in a CUV? So maybe there is hope for the day when I can buy a paddle shift pickup? Just happy to a vehicle in a color other then silver, white or black… but I don’t many people will actually buy this orange sadly.

  • avatar

    I took one of my many uncles to Chrysler yesterday to look at a new 300 or Charger. He really should be looking at one of these since he has 2 kids, so perhaps we’ll go back.

    I love all of Chrysler’s new cars, but, there are a few things that annoy me.

    #1 There are no hard seat controls for temperature. You have to use the touchscreen to activate seat heating/cooling. That wouldn’t be great during winter. Every car manufacturer should take a lesson from Mercedes when it comes to seat control placement.

    #2 The new steering wheels should have volume and tune buttons on the front – not the back.

    • 0 avatar

      Two good points. I didn’t mind the first much, because the touchscreen is very easy to use. But turning on the seat still requires two taps rather than simply hitting a switch. The radio controls–I assume owners figure them out after a week or two, but controls you can’t see aren’t the best idea from an ergonomic standpoint.

    • 0 avatar
      ErRocEthier

      As the owner of Chrysler vehicle with the rear steering wheel controls for the radio functions, I very much like them there. After about 1 week of owning the vehicle, I was totally adapted to the change.

      Each side has a a paddle (for lack of a better word) on the back with a circular button in the middle of said paddle. These 6 easy to use buttons control everything you need. I am a huge fan and wouldn’t want to see them move to the front.

      In regard to Michael’s review, I knew you would like it. I drove one when they first dropped onto lots and was similarisly impressed. My grandparents bought a 2010 Journey R/T AWD, and while I find it to be a great vehicle at a great price for their needs, the modern customer really will appreciate the 2011 version’s enhancements.

      Another win by Chrysler.

  • avatar
    SP

    “There might not be much room in the back of the Journey, but Chrysler has equipped it like a large minivan.”

    ‘Cause it is a minivan.

    “…the 19s don’t begin to fill the wheel openings, and the rear in particular could be lowered a couple of inches.”

    ‘Cause it is a minivan with a body lift.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    These car manufacturers need to get a grip with there tire sizes no pun intended. Does this size vehicle really need 19″ low profile tires? Wouldn’t a meatier 18″ be plenty sufficient? Hell yes. Customers are getting increasingly sticker shocked when these newer vehicles are due for tire replacement as tires themselves have doubled in price since 2008 and skyrocket as the size and width increase. It’s alarming sitting in a muffler/tire repair shop and hearing the quotes given for late model SUV’s, trucks and certain cars especially with odd ball 19″ sizes and 20 or more inches. 90% of the population seldom drive these types of vehicles the way they are tested by the rags or us enthusiasts so rarely ever reap the benefits and often curse the pitfalls. It’s really worrisome to see the tire sizes going up, curb weight getting heavier, windows getting smaller, distracting electronic gadgets at an explosive rate and engines getting smaller and more stressed. End rant.

    On the Journey it’s good to see all of the improvements Chrysler has bestowed upon these vehicles with the superior drive-train and interior enhancements. I would have liked to see a little more exterior trim or sheet-metal enhancement on this one as the current car is too bland and plain, especially on the side. This done to death clean side look only works on certain vehicles. Large tall slab sided vans not so much. The current Sienna is a perfect example. The only way to differentiate between a stripper base model and the upper version is the wheels.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I understand the rant, Amigo. Smaller rims and higher sidewalls would benefit most of us, especially considering how crapy and undermaintained most American roads are.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Agreed on all points. Can’t wait to see how much new tires for my MX5 will be, as I will need to replace them within the year.

      Ahhh…sure feels good following Educator Dan again!

      • 0 avatar
        slance66

        Agreed. My Tribeca had 255 x 55 x 18 tires. The same exact size as the Porsche Cayenne (at the time anyway). Seriously? On a Subie? They were Eagle RSAs and the thing was lousy in the snow, since it was riding on pizza pans. Expensive as heck to replace those. Can’t even imagine 19″ rims. Apsect ratios of 60 should be the maximum (or is it minimum) for cars with no real sporting pretentions.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    A 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine remains standard in the base trim level. It’s good for 19/26, well below the 22/32 of the Equinox . . .

    In other words, it probably does better than the Equinox in any scenario beyond the EPA test dyno.

  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    I just rented one of these for a week, and am very impressed. I liked the size despite the slightly cramped back seats. My brother-in-law, his wife, and my 5-month nephew fit well in the 2nd row with the seats all the way back (& reclined a little, which is a nice option to have). My sister-in-law did complain after a 3-hr trip squeezed between her mother-in-law and rear-facing infant seat in the 2nd row. As 1/2 time driver I liked the adjustable display between tach & speedo – I set it to mpg and it had a sliding bar just like my Prius. During a week of city, highway, twisty mountain road, and rough soft-roading/mild off-roading, the Journey averaged 24 mpg. Not bad! The FWD 3.6L vvt & 6-speed trans did very well in accelerating & chosing gearing to keep mpg down. So well that I wish it would have downshifted a little more aggressively when accelerating up a slope. Wish it found gears faster when manually selecting too – took 2-3 seconds to downshift. I definitely kept expecting the volume knob for the stereo to be the big one in the center of the console, rather than the fan speed control, which should have been the smaller one toward the driver. Must have messed that up 3 or 4 times.

    Anyway, great interior quality, great ride (don’t need sporty, especially not in a 7-pass), good fuel economy, decent interior space, and I liked the styling. Have to agree with Michael’s review for the most part. We’ll have to see about reliability, but as I only buy used this might be a minivan alternative – it gets the same mileage and is capable of mild off-roading even without AWD. I loved the Sirius radio, especially in middle-of-nowhere where there are no FM stations.

    Sorry for the whole mini-review. Could have just said “MK +1″

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    my sister has a previous gen with the 4 cyl and it is lacking in power, specially in city driving and passing power is also weak, on the plus side it is quiet and has good seats for long distance driving, however she had to have the brakes redone at 10k miles.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I can vouch for the new 3.6L Pentastar. Very impressive and I have a 2008 3.5L DOHC Toyota, 2010 3.5L SOHC VTEC Honda and 2008 3.5L Infiniti/Nissan VQ to compare it to.

    Drove a new Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4X4 700 miles to Montreal recently and was extremely impressed by the new 3.6L…Even in the ‘portly’ Jeep, acceleration was decent, it was silky smooth at higher revs and returned nearly 24 mpg on the trip.

  • avatar
    whiteragtop

    my wife drives a 2009 journy r/t ,has every option except AWD,we love it, does great in the snow ,only if it got better gas mileage.She wants to trade it in on a new 2013 ford focus for the gas mileage,SHOULD I STOP HER?

  • avatar

    Transport Canada has just issued a recall on the Journey because the Ignition module will switch to the Accessory position all by itself, thus shuting off the engine! Has anyone else experienced this problem? Also the CBC TV Program Market Place did a article on this very problem that happened to a Customer in British Columbia, the dealer there could not find the problem?


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