By on December 10, 2015

2009_Dodge_Journey

There comes a point in our lives when we all fly off the handle. It can happen when we’re still young and ready to believe anything or when we’re old and the voice of those young’uns make us instinctively say nasty, insensitive thoughts.

Temporary insanity comes and goes with the seasons. With that I am about to recommend a car truckster minivan lame duck vehicle that has a surprisingly good fit for one type of buyer in particular: Those with large families who want a new car but don’t really give a shit about cars.

The all-new still leftover and molderizing 2015 Dodge Journey with the American Value Package is a kind-of-okay vehicle in much the same way as a basic Windows Phone is a perfectly good device for those who just want to text, talk and have easy email access.

You need to do the basics of driving? Just want a slightly higher seating position? Do you need to seat three kids across who are at least two years apart? The Dodge Journey may just be the perfect no-name shoe to satisfy your non-exciting driving experience.

 

Still better than CUE

Still better than CUE

I’ll be brutally blunt folks. The Journey is basic, humdrum, and pretty much as generic as you can get if you’re looking for a vehicle that’s already served as a bare-bones 2008 crossover. It’s not very pretty and it sure as hell ain’t fun. But you can get it in blue and it’s big where it counts, which apparently matters to thousands of people. Like most Mitsubishis, this is the vehicle that no enthusiast ever recommends because every other competitor already surpassed it five years ago.

Every. Single. One.

Yet I’m recommending it for the automotive apathetic. Right here. Right now. Why?

Take that inflated windshield sticker and knock five grand off. According to TrueCar, a new 2015 Dodge Journey with the American Value Package starts at only $14,700 in Powder Spring, Georgia. That’s how much you can get a basic Journey before adding incentives. Do you already own a Chrysler? Are you a lease junkie? The TrueCar total can pretty much fall through the floor and straight into new car nirvana at only $11,790. That’s a $9,900 discount off an MSRP that may or may not be jacked back up once the local dealer does his bogus fee happy dance.

That’s insane. But does it exist? Is the Journey a unicorn that, in the real world, requires you purchase a boatload of features in the four-figure range? Possibly, and I’m getting more than a bit suspicious after doing a fair bit of research.

My neighborhood Chrysler dealership, which was just acquired by a dealership conglomerate because they couldn’t sell cars, still has over 250 current model year FCA vehicles and nearly 500 additional units with “2016” in multiple colors witten with neon marker on their windshields. Thankfully, they were wise enough during this recent year not to invest too heavily in Journeys. The mega dealer on the other side of Atlanta is actually showing 50 of these American Value Package 2015 models for an asking price that is well north of $20,000.

 

Welcome To The House Of Stain!

Welcome To The House Of Stain!

To be diplomatic about it, I know that the mega dealer isn’t actually that bad (except maybe their IT department), and I know my local Chrysler dealer definitely isn’t that good. Then again, neither is this version of the Journey, so it all equals out. The 2015 Dodge Journey (to nowhere) offers an archaic 4-speed automatic mated to a 2.4-liter engine that dates all the way back to 2006. This happens to be the exact powertrain combination that guided a million heavily decontented Sebrings, Stratuses and Calibers into the gates of federal bankruptcy, and it also launched a half-million rental quality Chrysler 200s, Jeep Patriots and Jeep Compasses into Chrysler’s post-bankruptcy existence. It’s proven to be, well, cheaper than a worn out mop as far as vehicle powertrains are concerned.

Is this Dodge Journey worth the money? Can it even be bought for only $12,000 and change if you opt for the well-regarded UConnect upgrade? Or is this just another case of certain dealers and TrueCar offering cars that are the equivalent of a modern day fake war story?

What says you?

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108 Comments on “Why Would Anyone Ever Recommend The Dodge Journey?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Up here in Canada they are advertising Journeys with the Canada Value Package for $18,995.

    It actually ticks all the boxes, except one for what we are looking for in our upcoming vehicle purchase. Fits 5, above average visibility. room for a dog, all the required passive safety features, generous size and pricing.

    However, it scores at or near the very bottom in reliability ratings. If it had a longer/better warranty or at least acceptable reliability scores, we would be driving one of the lot before the end of this month.

    Instead for an extra $1,500 we are seriously contemplating a new Grand Caravan to the driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      When I saw “Canadian Value Package” I immediately thought why not Caravan?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Because cheaper!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          $1,500 CDN more for a vehicle superior in nearly every way? I say more expensive to get the Journey.

          Actually, Bball can those in the D head over to Ontario, buy a car priced in CDN, and bring it back?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @28

            Then you’ve got a car which is in KM’s, though. I thought there were other import restrictions as well. It’s why you can’t just go get a X-Trail or that other little SUV thingy and bring it over.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t know. I am not aware of anyone that has done that. Car prices are typically cheaper here, and it would be a hassle to get all the paperwork done. I’d also bet that Ontario AND Michigan would make you pay taxes on the purchase. Detroit area FCA dealerships price Caravans and Journeys cheap enough that you don’t need to make a run for the border.

            The dealership up Telegraph from where I work is selling Journey R/T AWDs and Town and Countrys for under $25K.

            My sister inlaw did have an Escape that was supposed to go to the Canadian market but it was damaged in a hail storm at Louisville Assembly.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            I don’t honestly know but I do know there used to be announcements for Canadian market vehicles at BAA (now Manheim Pittsburgh) so someone was bringing them here. On Km vs Miles, the C-body Cadillac’s digital dash had a button which would toggle between KM from Miles, I imagine most newer cars are the same (or just swap the dash). I used to click it in the Caddies and screw with people on how “fast” I was going. You’re doing “80” omg but why doesn’t it seem like it?

            @bball

            My thinking is the CVP Caravan is like 20K CDN but this is less than $15K USD (USDCDN: 1.36)… can you acquire a new Caravan in Detroit for less than $15K USD?

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            I’m not sure about the Journey , but with last 3 cars I’ve owned you can switch all of the display from Metric to American at the flick of a switch .

          • 0 avatar
            BigOldChryslers

            As long as there are also MPH markings on the speedometer, even in a smaller font, it shouldn’t matter that the major markings are in KM when you import it. At least it’s not a problem going the other way, registering a US-market car in Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            “You’re doing “80” omg but why doesn’t it seem like it?”

            Lol, driving that thing always feels like you’re going about 45, even when on the highway. Just a little more wind noise to let you know.

            My 87 5000 had a F/C button on the climate control. That was my first example of real unit conversion in a car.

            Going into Canada, my mom exclaimed upon seeing the first speed sign “Oh my god the speed limit is a HUNDRED!?”

            “Uh, KPH mom.”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            No. But I think you pay 13% sales taxes on cars in Ontario. The State of Michigan is probably going to try and hit me up for another 6%. Plus all the time and paperwork it will take. I will also lose money on the exchange from USD to CAD. I’d rather just buy a stripper Caravan in the Detroit area for $20K.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Seems annoying but straightforward.

            http://www.ezbordercrossing.com/the-inspection-experience/import-a-vehicle/importing-vehicle-from-canada/

            “will also lose money on the exchange from USD to CAD.”

            How so?

          • 0 avatar
            NOSLucasWiringSmoke

            There are regulations designed to attach a cost to that sort of thing. Despite NAFTA (which is designed to facilitate industry and commerce rather than personal transactions) import duty would probably kick in for personal importations of new or late-model vehicles (I think in Canada it applies up to ten years old).

            Then you might be hit up for the equivalent of the sales tax to register a new vehicle imported into your home jurisdiction. At least, I’m pretty sure Ontario would charge you sales tax if you bought a new car elsewhere and tried to register it here.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            When you exchange USD to CAD, somebody gets a cut. In my case, it wouldn’t be terrible because I have a Canadian bank account and a Canadian USD bank account. But if someone when to their local bank and wired the money to Canada for the purchase of a vehicle, there is a fee baked into the bank’s exchange rate. The key is to send US dollars and have the foreign bank to the exchange (that requires the dealership to settle on a USD price with you). Chase, BofA, Wells, etc do not want to go buy foreign currency in the marketplace.

          • 0 avatar
            NOSLucasWiringSmoke

            @CoreyDL

            Some GM cars (maybe others?) Have “flexible” speedometers/odometers that have only one scale but switch between US and metric at the flick of a switch. My father’s Impala does.

            Canadian dealers sell ex-US cars all the time, but they import them in quantity and probably have some kind of NAFTA break on duty as businesses. I remember looking at a late-model Buick Regal at a big dealer here in Ottawa a couple of years ago that was a hail-damage import from the US. Being a US car it had the mph in large font on the principal scale of the speedo and the kph scale in small font inside – there was no way I’d want to live with that in Canada and the alternative digital speed display didn’t do anything for me either.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball & NOS

            I don’t have the infrastructure to really do it, but if I did I would put it on my Chase card (with no currency conversion charge) with enough of a limit, leave it parked in Canada, until everything cleared in three weeks or so, and then drive it back. Even if paying 13% GST its still Canadian dollars. Assuming the Looney keeps falling to USD if you’re 15K all in before coming back dealing with the BS and subsequent theft on return to the US, if you can shave $4K USD off isn’t it worth it? Another end around tactic in the US is don’t register it and use a dealer plate. Dealers in PA do not pay sales taxes on their purchases as long as the dealership holds the title. Only the proles pay such taxes… the dealer is only liable for inspection and emissions ($10/$40 year respectively) on the car itself and a hefty registration on the dealer plate (which can be transferred to any vehicle they own, it used be like $400). So that 6% in the US could just be pocketed or put toward plate registration which the dealership has to pay in any event.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Technically, you can do that in Maine. Maine accepts Canadian titles no questions asked, and having the gauges in KM is not a problem either. I have no idea what the FEDS would have to say, but all my state cares about is the tax money. You would get a sales tax credit for the Canadian PST, but you would still have to pay excise tax on MSRP to your local government.

            BUT, I can’t imagine you could get a better deal on one over the border once the taxes are paid, and I assume you would have no warranty without taking it back across. Of course, given the number of families that are split by the border in Northern Maine I doubt it would be much of an issue.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You raise a good point on the warranty Canada vs US. However if you’re pocketing 5K for doing this, how much tax do you end up having to pay?

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            One of my clients provides IT services to people and companies moving cars from Canada to the US, or vice versa. One of their clients is a major logistics company, so it’s a pretty serious business.

            They told me the other day that their transaction volume has soared in the past 3 months. I can’t disclose numbers, but it’s a LOT more than one would suspect.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @ECT

            Thanks for the info, there seemed to be a business case for it and you offer confirmation.

    • 0 avatar

      Does the Canadian Value Package include a poutine holder and a maple syrup dispenser?

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Yup. Caravan does everything far better than journey. You buy the better drive train and way more room for just a little more. Journey never makes sense unless youre really poor and refuse to shop used.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Ironically (or maybe not), the Journey was explicitly intended to replace the SWB (non-Grand) Caravan.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Trouble is, the Caravan is a minivan. And there are plenty of stupid people who will refuse to buy it simply because of that. The Journey is really a smaller minivan with normal doors, but people can delude themselves into believing it’s an ESS UUU VEEEE.

        I’ve had a couple of Journeys as rentals over the years, and my opinion is much the same as Steve’s. It’s perfectly adequate transportation. I don’t see much wrong with them. I think it is usefully smaller than a Caravan, which is much bigger than I have any use for. But not anything I would ever buy, no matter how cheap. I’m not on a budget. But if I were, I’d rather have a Journey than a 200. More useful by far and no worse really.

        • 0 avatar
          geozinger

          You know krhodes1, your observation of owning a Journey before a 200 is quite insightful. Unless you had a specific reason for choosing the sedan, for the same dollars the Journey would inherently be more useful.

  • avatar
    NN

    Strangely, these are popular in Europe as the Fiat Freemont, and I’ve seen a few on the roads in China, also. A successful Mexican export for FCA North America, I guess.

  • avatar
    RetroGrouch

    Price Is Right announcer voice: “It’s a blue car with four wheels and a radio!”

    It is transportation with the above mentioned features. Someone will buy it. GM survived for decades with nothing more than the same.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Convenience package 4C, and block heater!

      …I’d rather just play Plinko.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I used to watch when Bob Barker was on. I loved all the base model cars with manual transmissions you hardly ever see otherwise.

        Most price-averse buyers buy a program (rental) version with auto, A/C, power windows/locks etc so they are more often seen than the actual most basic car. Ive seen exactly one Ford Contour with 0 options. Manual trans, windows, locks, no cruise, am/fm, no options and like 93k miles in showroom condition. A Zetec/5spd Contour is a decent fun lil commuter. Take the terrible CD4E transaxle out of the equasion and the Contour is usually reliable. Ive seen them with 250k+.

  • avatar
    wumpus

    Maybe this is the answer for driving enthusiasts. If the answer is always a miata, then what is its practical grocery getter? My guess is the real answer is a used Mazda 5 (with visions of a “cheap” jaguar that gets next to no miles dancing in my head).

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Twelve, new or near new? Make it so… otherwise screw it.

  • avatar
    Litesaber53yi4

    This is so funny. My sister in law and brother in law in Detroit just leased one with the R/T package. I recommended the Subaru forester but this one was cheaper per month. They really like it and so much so that other young families in their neighborhood are starting to buy/lease them on their recommendation.

    Personally I would never recommend a Dodge. They look and feel to me like the color beige.
    Love me some Jeep though.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Metro Detroit Dodge dealer = CHEAP Journey lease!

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        *ANY* metro Detroit domestic dealer = CHEAP leases and prices. It’s a big enough difference to make me want to drive two hours across the state to get a new car there.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This doesn’t seem horrible for what it is:

          New 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
          Lease for only $189/month
          3LN6L2LU9GR624719

          *$0 sec. dep. 24 month lease with 10,500 annual miles. Total due at signing: $1399 down plus tax. RCL Renewal included. Based on A Plan pricing with Lincoln Automotive Financial
          Services tiered credit approval. Payment does not include tax. Residency restriction apply. See Varsity Lincoln for details. Expires 12/31/15.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I bet they got a smokin deal on it. I wouldnt go with it or the Subaru for reliability reasons, but if the deal were right, I dont blame em.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Irony defined: A Ford Motor Company product fanboy, and a Ford Taurus lover at that, lecturing others not to purchase or otherwise drive Subaru vehicle due to “reliability” concerns.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Biggest shocker? That you can buy a new 2015 model vehicle with a 4-speed automatic. I was under the impression that 6-speeds were pretty ubiquitous these days with a few 5-speeds here and there in less recently updated models. Hell, my new car has an 8-speed. My last two 4-speed cars all dated to the mid-90’s.

  • avatar
    ajla

    No FCA products.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Ajla, what exactly has gone wrong with your Charger? I’m incredibly leery of Chryco stuff, but I find myself looking longingly at Chargers on the road. I’d be more than satisfied with a pentastar car, even with the old 5spd I think.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I have a 2013 300 with 70k miles. I have had small problems: a muffler resonator that buzzed, a dead Bluetooth module, a fussy oil pressure sensor, a weeping radiator. Not enough to turn me off. No big mechanical problems like a fragile transmission or chronic head gasket.

        I love the car enough that I bought a Maxcare warranty to 105 k. The platform is mechanically reliable, it’s just I wanted a longer worry free period. The Chrysler extended warranty is a very, very good one. For example it covers loaners. Chrysler runs promotions sometimes that gives a 100k maxcare warranty free, or for like 1000 bucks.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    A leftover product from the good ol’ DaimlerChrysler synergy days.

    Fitzmall has the 4 cylinder for $19K, $7k off MSRP. The V6 variants have a $4-$5k discount.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s so fracking awful. Look at that silver painted plastic, the horrible seat fabric which won’t wear well – and a 4-speed. I think I’d rather have a current model Mitsubishi, and THAT’S saying something.

    Oh, and it has the same front (I just realized) as the old Pontiac Torrent.

    But for $~12 new, can’t be beat for a family mover – unless you can get a base Caravan. Keeping in mind that a Japanese used van in this price range will be from 2008 (like this Journey is, ha) and have 100k+ miles.

  • avatar

    Ugh, Journey. It’s like taking a lump of floral foam and putting 4 wheels on it.

    Someone brought their R/T to me with the fault “the rear wiper comes on when you select reverse”. It was a hair-thin ground wire broken in the rubber grommet between the body and the hatch. Voltage from the LR reverse light was back feeding through the wiper motor since it had no ground.

    Another time it needed a battery and the owners couldn’t find it. After shoving a new one up through the left front wheel well and cinching it up, I took it for a spin. Coarseness is the default operating condition of this sad appliance. My Sienna also has a 3.5 FWD and it’s a cloud by comparison.

    A lump of gritty floral foam with bad component packaging and nearly-acceptible wiring. Woot!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Sounds about right. My brother deals with a lot of Chryco electrical gremlins, most of them stemming from cost cutting gone crazy. Now to make his job ‘interesting,’ even the wiring diagrams from the factory are often full of errors!! Where’s that “Billfrombuckhead” guy, he was a rather strident Mopar proponent.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    My mother almost bought one of these things. Afterca bit, she reconsidered and bought a Ford Escape that ticked all the right boxes for her. It was fun to drive, good in snow, the right color, and the right size for someone who doesn’t have any passengers, doesn’t want a truck, but needs cargo room. I think she made a better choice. She was never into Dodges anyway.

  • avatar
    MWolf

    My mother almost bought one of these things. After a bit, she reconsidered and bought a Ford Escape that ticked all the right boxes for her. It was fun to drive, good in snow, the right color, and the right size for someone who doesn’t have any passengers, doesn’t want a truck, but needs cargo room. I think she made a better choice. She was never into Dodges anyway.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    The Grand Caravan is the argument against buying this. Its much roomier, looks better, and has the excellent pentastar V6 standard. If I need a basic people mover I’d buy a caravan over this every time.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Bringing U.S. spec vehicles to Canada requires a number of changes, plus duty.
    As an example daytime running lights are required in Canada.

    Vehicles in the USA are generally cheaper, although there are some exceptions. Used cars in the USA are much less expensive. And due to the extensive use of salt up here, old used cars are very much a gamble.

    Journey versus Caravan. Journey replaced the short box Caravan. So easier to drive in tight urban traffic. Also believe that the Journey has higher road clearance, so it could be better in the snow.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    A new four door vehicle with air conditioning and automatic for less than $20K is a bargain, no matter who makes it. For this reason Dodge vehicles, especially Journey’s, sell very well in Nevada where I live, and the dealers will deal.

  • avatar
    BigM4x4

    My wife and I purchased a 2012 Journey Crew AWD in August of 2014 with our first child on the way. It had 28K miles on it and was listed at $19,995. It does not have the uconnect, but it does have things that other car on my wife’s list (it is her daily driver) did not have! The biggest one for me was a real transmission with actual gears, and only 6 of them! After test driving three other CUVs with CVT we both decided we did not like them. But for her it came down to the Journey or a Mazda CX-5. The CX-5 is a little more fun to drive(even with a CVT), but has less cargo space. Plus the Journey was better equipped, and around $10K cheaper than a base new AWD CX-5.

    All that being said, we have had no issues, and my only complaint with the drivetrain (3.6L V6, 6-speed auto) is that it seems to shift slower in manual mode. But it makes plenty of power, and handles pretty well for what it is! and i have recommended it to family and friends!

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      The Mazda CX-5 does not have a CVT. Not even close – it’s a 6 speed regular automatic. Did you actually drive one? Because it’s pretty obvious there’s no CVT in the thing when you do.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Yeah ..I started squinching my eyes at the screen then I realized that maybe he is talking about a Nissan product. I hope so. If not ..well. never mind.

        • 0 avatar
          BigM4x4

          Admittedly we only test drove it around the block and maybe didn’t make it out 3rd. Max sped limit was 45mph. So i may be remembering incorrectly. I know every other vehicle we test drove had CVTs. (Crosstrek & Rogue)It was almost exactly a year ago, and i was just typing off memory. Either way we did like the CX-5 (and maybe that was why), but went with the Journey for the extra size. And better price.

  • avatar
    morbo

    I driven three of these over the years. They are worth every penny you pay Enterprise or Dollar when you rent through hotwire or priceline with the no-name / name your own price type super cheap feature.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The school district has some of the old pre-refresh pre-bankruptcy models. Thankfully they are V6 equipped so they get out of their own way in a satisfactory fashion. The interior plastics may be harder than a granite counter-top but with 30,000 plus hard fleet miles on them I could’t find any real scratches in that plastic.

    Plus it didn’t complain about being hustled at 85 mph from Gallup, NM to Phoenix, AZ for a conference. The drive was fairly pleasant.

    Just think of it as an Avenger wagon and enthusiasts should be falling all over themselves.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    You’re double-incentivising, but those are good numbers anyway!

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    The Caliber/Patriot/Compass trio never used a 4-speed auto. They started out with a CVT, while the Jeeps eventually got a 6-speed automatic.

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    I think you could option to second-row captain chairs in the Journey, which for a while I thought was a must have, for me.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The Journey is on the smaller side of three-row crossovers, and it’s definitely for the budget-minded customer. The newer ones are perfectly solid; they just aren’t nice or particularly desirable in any way. I would recommend the Journey over its primary competitor, the Mitsubishi Outlander, which has the nerve to ask for premium fuel on the V6-equipped GT, despite making a paltry 225 horsepower.

    As far as a 4-speed, the Caliber, Compass and Patriot actually used a CVT early on. There’s no telling why the Journey has a 4-speed. Maybe some of the older mid-sized Chrysler cars (Avenger, Sebring/200), had a 4-speed if you got the base 2.4-liter.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Outlander GT is too expensive, as well. You have to go all-in top trim if you want leather and/or navigation. And by then you’re at $35,000+.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        And for that, I’d get a one or two-year-old loaded Highlander, Santa Fe Pathfinder or Explorer if I really needed the space.

        This is correct. At my previous job, my office was in the Mitsubishi dealership that was within our dealer group. They actually tried to give me an Outlander GT as a demo when we were negotiating salary. I was just like, “How about you just increase my salary by whatever tvalue he demo would have lost over a year?” Maybe if it was a Toyota or something.

        Then one of the sales managers (of the week) copped an attitude with me for borrowing a new Outlander off the lot to get lunch, since my car was blocked in by the delivery truck. My response was something to the effect of, “It’s a leftover 2014. And it’s June of 2015. It’s not like anyone is going to buy it. You should be grateful that I went and drove it around so the fluids and battery would stay fresh.”

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Outlander GTs may have high MSRPs, but locally are available for $25,5k (advertised, no haggling). Now, even that is too much IMO. Curiosity killed the cat and I test drove one about a month ago comparison shopping against an Outback. Around town, the V6 feels absolutely no better than a 4 cylinder, in fact due to the throttle calibration it felt less zippy than a 4cyl Rav4. Third row is uselessly small, as expected, and due to it, maximum and seat-up cargo space is smaller than other CUV competitors. “S-AWC” is supposed to be some super advanced AWD system with torque vectoring in corners and all that, but it’s a family crossover for chrissake, nobody cares! I think the Outlander to get is a “SE,” you get an AWD crossover with heated seats for about $19k real world dollars, that’s decent.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          How would you compare the interior quality of the Outlander and the Rav4?

          Because I have been in the current Rav, and I found the interior horrendous. It was also very uncomfortable and bouncy/jittery in the ride department.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah the Rav4 rubs me in the wrong way in regards to material textures and quality on the interior, and suspension tuning that is needlessly harsh. Outlander is much more straightforward in terms of design, and has more soft touch parts, but there’s still something cheesy-feeling about it and I can’t put my finger on it. The Outback really blew my socks off, even a midlevel Premium with cloth competes favorably with MUCH more expensive vehicles in terms of interior design, material quality, etc. Excellent velour-type cloth, door cards are incredibly well padded, seats are finally European-male sized. Color me VERY impressed, considering the previous Outback was somewhat lackluster in the interior department. So a 2.5i Outback Premium with no extras for $27k even with fees minus sales tax (the going rate after negotiations it seems) would be the car for me. I just couldn’t stomach the low trade offers I was getting on the Civic so I walked away, we’ll see I might try to sell it privately or just hang onto it a few more years. There’s no pressing need to upgrade, really.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m guessing the fuel penalty you pay with the 3.6R version isn’t worth it, assuming there are no bits you can only get with that trim. I was sort of surprised at how Subaru (being Japanese) did their options so a la carte.

            I just keep thinking about how close in scope the Outback is to the XC70, and how much -better- value it is. Though I’ve always liked the XC70, Volvo’s always pricing itself into my no-go section.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The current RAV4 is one of very few cars that are on my “will not rent” list. Just completely awful. Terrible ride, terrible seats, terrible handling. And I actually like the previous gen a lot, to the point I recommended my roommate buy one, which he is very happy with.

            Not a fan of the Forester either, but I would take one way before the RAV4.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I love Steve’s use of a “DougBot” style title, but then flips it around and offers some sound real world shopping device.

    My inherent fear of Chrysco vehicles and their various failure modes would make it a non-starter for me, but they are a great value.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I honestly didn’t even realize the Journey was available with the World Engine. It’s unpleasant enough in Avengers and old 200s that I’d hate to see how it handles another 600 pounds.

    I’ve only driven one Journey, with Pentastar, and it drove just like a Grand Caravan with cheaper interior materials and less space. It’s dirt-cheap transportation for two adults and lots of small kids, and that’s all it is.

  • avatar
    kit4

    No standard Bluetooth or backup camera on these. Unacceptable in this segment. The only consolation is that they’re not as terrible as the even worse Compiss and unPatriot they still make.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    Some people value prestige when buying a car. Some value options. Some value reliability, while others value price. And nothing else. Those that only worry about price and nothing more end up in vehicles like the Journey. And a lot of them probably have no issues with it because they simply aren’t aware that there are better options – because those better options don’t have the attractive price point.

    Shoot, I know someone that just bought (bought, not leased) a 2016 Jeep Patriot. And they are really excited about it. To each their own, I guess.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    I disagree. The one shown is VERY plain jane. My wife is leasing a 2016 Dodge Journey R/T AWD. It’s not a bad car. We test drove a Ford Edge and a GMC Arcadia before leasing the Journey.

    Why:

    1) VERY POOR experiences with FOMOCO lemons in the past. Plus my wife felt the Edge was too “Bubble car” for her.
    2) The Arcadia was nice, but she didn’t like the red lite info center screen in the center of the dash cluster.
    3) The lease on the Journey was lower, with more miles. And was move of a loaded (i.e. luxury touches like AWD, Heated seats, etc.) then the other two at that same price range.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Several years ago, a friend was looking to replace his RAV4 as they were expecting again. Being the office motorhead, he asked me for advice. His wife’s list of equipment was pretty simple, must seat 7, have all wheel drive but not be much bigger than their RAV4. Also, no minivans.

    The must seat 7 while not being bigger than a RAV4 was the killer. It instantly eliminated a number of SUVs immediately. I was able to recommend to him the bigger Mitsu Outlander (not the Sport) and the Journey AWD models.

    Unfortunately, his wife was shooting down any and all recommendations. Finally, after weeks of brainstorming and negotiating with the wife (just to *look* at the cars suggested), he put his foot down and bought a slightly used Honda Pilot.

    But after that little exercise, I’ve never completely lost sight of the Journey. If you can stand to deal with the Russian-Roulette style of Mopar reliability, it would be a good set of cheap wheels. Particularly the higher optioned models, as they seem to pack a lot of stuff in them.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I rented a refreshed Journey 3.6 last year when I flew to Milwaukee to attend a company event with two other colleagues. It was more than sufficient for its class and performed well with plenty of room for us and our accoutrements.

    Granted, my exposure to driving any type of SUV/CUV is quite limited–I’ve only driven my grandmother’s WJ Grand Cherokee and my in-laws’ GL320–but I was really impressed with the Journey and its handling.

    With the steep discounts off of the MSRP (or conversely, the depreciation FCA vehicles tend to have, if buying used) it’s a value. However, I would opt for the Pentastar over the 2.4 World engine in the Journey. The 2.4 does very well in smaller cars (like my 200 Limited) depsite what the naysayers have to say, but it may be pushed to its limits in a CUV loaded down with passengers and cargo.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    That’s why the Fiat Freemont has the 6 speed auto behind the 2.4l to make the fuel economy more acceptable.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    I have an ’06 Caravan with the 2.4/4 speed transmission combo and it now has 223000+ miles. I have probably put a grand total of $1500 in repairs excluding maintenance into it in the last 9 years. I have no idea why you would NOT recommend the Journey to someone. It has better steering feel than a Toyota, I hate the Toyota Dead steering feel. The interior materials aren’t really that much worse than a Pilot. It has lots of space inside and drives . . . adequately, but you’re just as stuck in traffic in a 160 hp Journey as in a 400+ hp Camaro. No, it’s not the most exciting thing to drive but it will LAST and for a very good price, and be extremely useful at the same time. I’d go for another Caravan first, but come on! The thing is less expensive than a Focus and lots more useful. I really don’t care how many speeds it has, as long as it’s not a CVT. Really, there are a lot less useful/exciting/practical cars out there at any price.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Most people buying in this segment don’t care one whit about steering feel, but they’d prefer to not deal with absolutely bizarre electrical gremlins. My coworker has rotated through a 3 Chrysler vans in the past 2 years, first a fairly faithful ’07 that was starting to need a lot of repairs (inop A/C, valve cover gaskets, some other neglected things). Then came an ’08 which started to exhibit some almost comical issues with the headlights flashing on and off when switched on. The fault is most likely rooted in a faulty “TIPM” (Totally Integrated Power Module), google around to read up on that fun class action lawsuit. He’s now in a ’11 which thankfully has been good to him so far. Pentastar recalls are being expanded as well now for the cracked head issue that causes misfires. It was initially claimed to only affect first run vehicles, but now seems to be springing up in Chryco cars/SUVs made up to 2013…

      Don’t get me wrong, I respect the hell out of Chrysler vans for the bang for the buck factor that they offer families, and know people that ran some of the 3rd gen vans up into really high mileage, but I’ll take a similar vintage Sienna with lifeless steering any day given the choice as a long term vehicle to own.

  • avatar
    iamcanjim

    What competes with it if you need the 3rd row? Outlander? Mazda5? In Canada Kia Ronda or Chevrolet Orlando. I don’t think you can get a Flex, Edge or the the GM twins for anywhere near 20K. Japanese minivans will be a lot more.

    The biggest problem with the Journey is a Grand Caravan isn’t much more.

  • avatar
    missmySE-R

    As someone who lives in a more dense urban area, where parking space at home and in town is at a premium, these offer a nice set of features in a right sized package. Only the Outlander and Rouge can give you 3 rows in this narrow of a package, which is a big deal when you’re combining kids and non-sliding doors in small parking spaces.
    Other nice / unique features of the Journey that give it a charming swiss army knife vibe are (mid or higher trim levels required):
    – Fold flat front passenger seat
    – Storage compartment underneath the front passenger seat
    – In floor storage bins in front of the second row seats
    – Integrated 2nd row child seat boosters
    – Most power/torque by a significant margin vs. Rogue and Outlander

    I find myself rather torn on the Journey – I love the size and unique features but just don’t trust they’re going to hold up as well as some others. Moreover, I don’t really need a 3rd row, which opens up many other options within this vehicle size, chiefly for me, a 3.6R Outback.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      The Journey seems like a reboot of the Aztek/Rendezvous; shorty minivan chassis, FWD or AWD, swinging doors instead of sliders and with the right engine, a fair amount of punch for hauling and merging.

      I noted earlier that I still keep my eyes out for them, and I imagine one may appear in the garage someday.

      But not for a while yet. I’m enjoying my time of no car payments.

  • avatar
    otter

    I cannot believe Chrysler is still building anything with the 41TE in it. I drove vehicles with this powertrain when I was an engineer at Chrysler in the early 2000s and it was crappy even then.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    FCA certainly is putting a lot of bang-for-the-buck vehicles on the road these days. Here is an add from a local dealer:

    http://www.southcountychryslerjeepdodge.net/specials/new.htm

    New 2016 Jeep Patriots for $10,999. Journeys for $15,888. Grand Caravans for $16,988. Ram Promaster City (Transit Connect competitor) for $17,888. The list goes on. They may not be the best vehicles in their class, but they sure are priced to sell. I’m seeing a lot of new FCA vehicles in our area.

  • avatar
    415s30

    I feel bad looking at it

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    Two people I know bought a Journey: 2013 and 2015 models, both purchased new. Both buyers are credit & cash strapped, car-dumb (meant lovingly but with mountains of truth) and they are not sensitive to some of the Journey’s characteristics (things which would make most of us crazy, dissatisfied). The Journey’s pricing, seating configuration, and features-per dollar are likeable qualities. I recommended the 2013 as an upgrade for a single mother whose rural lifestyle with chickens, dogs, a farm, and 3 kids was killing her 2013 Veloster. The 2015 Journey was for a 70-year-old relative who needed easy ingress-egress and whose mobility restrictions were no longer suited to a Ram 1500 for which he’d overpaid… just 18 months prior. Roll that negative equity into the deal, and drive home your shiny new car today!

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Not sure why anyone in their right mind would buy a Journey, but I know why my brother did: Two years ago he was closing the deal on a new 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L Ecoboost. After haggling to a price agreement he bolted for a work assignment leaving his wife to sign all of the paperwork. But later he received a text from her. The agreed-upon monthly payment hadn’t changed. But the amortization date was no longer five years but rather, seven. The dealer tried to sneak that little change past the wife but she was too savvy to allow that. Brother was so incensed at being screwed after four straight vehicles purchased from the same dealer that he left work and bought his Journey from the dealership next door 15 minutes later. He’s not sorry he passed up the Ford, but he’s now regretting the Journey.


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