By on April 21, 2016

2016 Dodge Journey SXT, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

You’ll have to forgive me for having a bit of fun with you yesterday. Somewhat odd/disturbing was that some of you actually enjoyed it.

If you want a review that mostly talks about everything you can learn about a car from reading the manufacturer’s website, or one that just reprints the press materials, I’m afraid you won’t enjoy reading a typical Bark rental review. However, if you want a story about my experiences while driving an everyday car that can be selected from a rental agency, by all means, keep reading.

My experience with the Journey was not a voluntary one.

When I arrived at Detroit Wayne County International Airport last week, I had exactly four choices: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Chrysler Town & Country, RAM 1500 pickup, and the Dodge Journey SXT.

As I stood there in the much-too-cold-for-April Detroit evening, I sent my options to our Managing Editor, Mr. Mark Stevenson. Foolishly, I typed “Journey” first. As I believe Mark to be somewhat of a sadist, he refused to hear any other option.

“JOURNEY.”

“But what about that Ram 1500?” I pleaded.

“JOURNEY.”

Damn you to hell, sir.

Fine. Journey it is. I threw my bags in the back — well, let me correct that statement. I had to fold down the third row of seats first. Otherwise, my 27-inch suitcase wouldn’t have fit.

2016 Dodge Journey SXT interior, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Next, I situated myself in the driver’s seat to prepare for my two-hour drive to Midland, Michigan. Before I go anywhere in my rental car, I make sure to do two things:

  • Find the USB port so I can plug in my phone for charging and audio purposes
  • Pair my phone via Bluetooth so that I can talk on the phone and obey all local ordinances

Number one was no problem. The USB port was placed logically in the storage compartment between the seats. Bluetooth? That proved a bit more vexing, mostly due to the fact that this 2016 Dodge Journey SXT — which is not the base model, and stickers for nearly $25,000 — did not have Bluetooth functionality. That’s right: if you want Bluetooth on a Dodge Journey, you have to option that sucker up an additional $550.

Oof. I accepted my lack of circa-2008 technology, and started up the car. I exited the rental car lot and turned onto the adjacent road, when I noticed that everything was very dark. Oh. I didn’t have my headlights on, because the Dodge Journey SXT doesn’t have automatic headlights. As far as I can tell, automatic headlights are only available starting at the second-highest trim — Crossroad Plus, which stickers for $27,395.

2016 Dodge Journey SXT Headlight Switch, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Once I managed to make the street visible, I set off on my, well, Journey.

The first thing you’ll notice about driving a Dodge Journey is the abysmally bad steering wheel. It’s so big that it feels like you’ve just signed a union contract to become a school bus driver. Well, except for the fact that the school bus wheel would feel less like it was directly sourced from a Power Wheels product. The plasticky feel of the Journey’s wheel is probably the worst I’ve experienced since the 2008 Mazda CX-7.

Are you sensing a trend here, perchance?

Acceleration and braking are mere suggestions. The Journey isn’t what one would call responsive. The accelerator and the brake pedal travel nearly to the floor before anything happens. I thought maybe something was broken, until I realized the pedals were just as bad as the rest of the car.

The first thing you’ll notice when you put the 2016 Dodge Journey SXT into reverse is the complete lack of assistance you’ll get from the car in doing so. No rearview camera, no beeping noises if you get too close to anything. It’s just you, your mirrors, and your finely tuned senses.

Next, let’s talk about the heating/cooling system. You can follow my Instagram for more detail — or exasperation — on this. In my rental, the dashboard vents didn’t work — at all. Again, I thought that something might have been broken, but upon further review, there’s simply no way to select them with a normal button. You can only select front or rear defrosters on the dash, and I was beyond perplexed by Uconnect’s climate screen. The vent selection “button” didn’t call attention to itself whatsoever. As a result, no air came out of the vents, because I only figured it out after I returned the car.

2016 Dodge Journey SXT Uconnect 4.3 Infotainment, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Let’s move on to the stereo, shall we? It was nightmarishly bad. Changing the tone settings made no difference whatsoever. Tinny and thin on the high end, and distorted on the low end. Thank God that Spotify randomly suggested the great Kenneth Gorelick’s “Sax Attack” for me to listen to as I drove along — the awfulness of that song meshed perfectly with the Journey’s purpose for existing. I felt as though I was being attacked by the plastic ghosts of CUVs past.

The rear seats are pretty spacious, so that’s a good thing. You won’t find more room in anything at a comparable price point that isn’t a Caravan. Getting kids in and out of car seats would be a breeze in the Journey. There’s also an option for built-in car seats, which seems like a great idea until you realize that children have a tendency to grow.

2016 Dodge Journey SXT Rear Seats, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Visually, the Journey is embarrassing. I felt like apologizing to people for driving past them on the freeway, lest they accidentally catch a glimpse of the Dodge somehow before managing to avert their eyes. It feels as though somebody accidentally approved a child’s rendering of the Mystery Inc. van, and somebody back in the days of DaimlerChrysler said, “Well, let’s see if anybody notices.”

Now, with all that being said … it’s not that bad to drive. I had to put quite a few miles on the Journey throughout the course of the week, starting with that nighttime drive from DTW to Midland, and then another four-hour jaunt to Traverse City and back, another hour or so each way to Gladwin, followed by the return drive to Detroit. So, all in all, I had over ten hours of windshield time in the Journey, which is more than any auto journo would normally get in any car.

2016 Dodge Journey SXT Intrument Panel, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

It’s a passable way to get from point A to point B if that’s all you need it to do. Visibility is actually quite good. Fuel economy was around 24 miles per gallon. Considering my average speed of nearly 90 mph for most of my drive time (I was running late for no real reason), that’s 24 mpg figure isn’t bad.

If you can get past the barebones nature of the vehicle and accept it for what it is — a bargain basement multiple-person mover for people who don’t like minivans — then it’s perfectly acceptable. The name “Journey” is completely appropriate, though, because driving one is indeed a journey … back in time to 2003. We all would have been thrilled to drive something like this for this price point around the time that John Kerry was flipflopping around like a dying fish.

Unfortunately, this is 2016, and a car like this just doesn’t fly any more. If we were to add Bluetooth and Uconnect to the Journey — and remember, this isn’t just a convenience, it’s the law in several states around the country — we’re looking at a sticker price of $26,000, with current bonus cash offers bringing it down by $1,250. Yes, it’s still going to be one of the cheapest seven-passenger CUVs you can get, but let’s be honest with ourselves here: there ain’t no way that anybody bigger than Peter Dinklage is riding in that third row for any length of time. And if you do have to have the rear seats up, then storage space is equivalent to a Tic-Tac box.

There are cheaper Journeys available, though. The SE model can be had at $21,490, and you don’t lose that much in comparison to the SXT. In fact, you even gain folding, heated side mirrors. At that price, minus whatever bonus cash/negotiating you can do, the Journey becomes slightly more palatable.

But only slightly. And, as many of you pointed out yesterday, it’s very difficult to accept the value proposition of a Dodge Journey when the Caravan exists. Heck, it’s even hard to accept it over the Kia Sportage, which looks and drives a million times better, and has much better standard features.

In the end, whether you preferred yesterday’s “Just the facts, ma’am” review, or a little more of today’s storytelling, all around the world, it’s the same song.

The Journey does, in fact, suck.

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168 Comments on “(The Real) 2016 Dodge Journey SXT Rental Review, This Time with Actual Content!...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    “I felt like apologizing to people for driving past them on the freeway, lest they accidentally catch a glimpse of the Dodge somehow before managing to avert their eyes. ”

    as I’ve read Jack write, “Nobody is thinking about you as much as you think they are.”

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      A silly comment. You want eye averting ugliness. Look no further than the clown car comical Nissan Juke and Murano or that goofy box thing (Cube)they thankfully put out to pasture. Chrysler vehicles are many things but ugly is not usually one of things I hear.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Also, at least it wasn’t a Caliber.

      For a company quite capable of making a handsome car, Dodge has an odd tendency to put out baffling stinkers.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Heavens!! No back-up camera! No auto headlights!
    First World Problems.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Seriously.

      “The first thing you’ll notice when you put the 2016 Dodge Journey SXT into reverse is the complete lack of assistance you’ll get from the car in doing so. No rearview camera, no beeping noises if you get too close to anything. It’s just you, your mirrors, and your finely tuned senses.”

      Good heavens! I have to turn myself around and look out the back window and use the rearview mirrors like a pleb!

      No mention of how it rides, or of seat comfort either front or rear, or NVH. Less moaning about how you’re not being ‘infotained,’ more practical information, please.

      • 0 avatar
        fremontwatch

        I love my Journey and mine doesn’t have any tech either. A backup camera? That’s lazy driving. I bought a 2017 used V6 SXT for 16,000 bucks mostly for my pet rescue. It is perfect for that. I has everything I needed in an SUV including a V6 engine, privacy glass, lots of storage and vents to the 2nd and 3rd rows.
        It’s a great car for those of us who don’t want to pay a fortune. A car is to get you from point a to point b.

    • 0 avatar
      kyleck

      Was going to say this. These kinds of things have nothing to do with the car itself, and just because this particular vehicle did not have them does not mean they are not available. Is it oh-so-hard to move your hand a few inches and rotate a knob to turn on the headights? Or is that kind of ghastly behavior below you?

      • 0 avatar
        Whatnext

        Indeed. I was relieved the poor soul could summon the strength to rotate that knob past it’s détente and summon the wherewithall to glance ahead to confirm the headlights were indeed on. I shudder to think of how ghastly actually turning one’s head to see what is behind one’s vehicle might be.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      The worst part about that is Dodge claims the SXT comes with auto headlights standard.

      So one problem here is thinking a fleet model is the same as the SXT people can actually buy at a Dodge dealership.

      (Though … a standard *four speed* automatic?

      Is this 1993?)

    • 0 avatar
      kurkosdr

      Well, if you are shelling first-world amount of money, you kinda expect first-world luxuries. Aka, what counts as standard.

      If you don’t want that, there is CarMax and their warranty to get you by for much cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      fremontwatch

      Exactly. I was laughing when I read that. My 2017 Journey does have automatic headlights but no tech otherwise. I’m fine with that. I got it used at a great price. No complaints

  • avatar
    Sobro

    I preferred the previous sub-prime review.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Its a journey. It is a piece of garbage which is 15 years out of date. You’re first review was apprpriate.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I would tend to agree with the car’s assessment, but reviews here deserve more content and meat on their bones. That stands no matter how bad and Chrysler a car is.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I enjoyed yesterday’s minimalist review. I don’t expect much from the Journey, but we shouldn’t have to pull the manual to learn how to work the HVAC controls, that’s just nuts. And for heavens sake, Bluetooth a $500 option in 2016? More nuts.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Despite Bark’s gripes, the Journey will apparently cruise at 90 MPH for hours on end. More support for the “there are no truly bad cars anymore” thesis.

      The Journey is a generation or two behind in technology, but it’s sold well under the usual price point of other 7-passenger CUVs. Seems fair.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “… the abysmally bad steering wheel.”

    The thing is, that steering wheel and interior are about 5 times better than what was available from ChryslerCo during the Diamler and Cerberus eras on a ~$25K vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Oh yeah, those steering wheels were awful looking and feeling. It was as if they found a bunch of wheels from the 80’s Chrysler line-up in a warehouse, modified them for airbags and slapped them in. Just ugly and cheap. Even the large airbag steering wheels from the 90’s would have looked better.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I like large airbag wheels. Audi and Mercedes both had nice ones.

        http://germancarsforsaleblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/90V84.jpg
        http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/05/19/15/32/1996-mercedes-benz-s-class-4-dr-s500-sedan-pic-24206.jpeg

        So did Jag.
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Jaguar_X300_interior_(1995,_Warm_charcoal_%26_Cream).jpg

        Just balanced and nice, no flim-flam. Oh hey, just like ’90s cars in general.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        It was just Dodge’s corporate steering wheel at the time, and I think it’s still used in the Dart as well as the Journey. It was fine in other cars that were better-equipped. Ditto for the Jeep equivalent (currently Wrangler, Patriot and Compass) and Chrysler equivalent (Town & Country). The Jeep variant was used on the SRT cars, except for the SRT Viper—now Dodge Viper again—which had its own version.

        The newer wheels (2014-present Durango, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee…2015-present Charger, Challenger, 200, 300…Renegade, 500X) are better, though.

        • 0 avatar
          SC5door

          The wheel feels awful because it’s urethane, not wrapped in leather. The leather versions are fine.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            True. And not that I’m trying to vindicate the automaker in any way, but that’s pretty standard practice for any automaker. They’ll use the same basic hub and airbag cover, but the rim will be different depending on how nice the car is…as will be the switchgear.

            One thing that I don’t like on the newer FCA wheel is that it uses button blanks for the missing adaptive-cruise buttons on cars that don’t have them. It’d be nice if they just left that spot filled in, but that would require making different molds for each hub and they are apparently too cheap to do that.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Should have stuck with the first review! This one did nothing to add value to the Journey’s rep. Wow, so much better out there for $25k (realizing, of course, that $25k is likely only the starting point for negotiating price).

    The RAM, while probably quite a bit thirstier, would have been a more enjoyable ride (just got done renting one, by accident, a few weeks ago).

  • avatar
    NN

    The weirdest fact about the Journey is that it is a relatively successful export product. It’s made in Mexico on an old Chrysler/Mitsubishi platform and sold here and in China as the Journey, but also throughout Europe as the Fiat Freemont. Ive seen Journey’s on the streets of Shanghai and in Europe. I look at the Journey as the modern equivalent of the old Dodge Aries or Dodge Shadow…a car that is 15 years out of date that is sold stupid cheap and only rental companies or bottom-rung price buyers will consider them.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I am glad we got the follow up to yesterday’s satirical (though accurate) review. The only car I can compare to this review was an 04 Focus a friend had as a rental when his car was in the shop. He complained about it so much, I asked for the keys. It was that bad. So I have to ask Bark, were you red lining this thing and it still would not move? If that is the case, then that is absolutely unforgivable in this day and age. Never mind 10 years ago.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    It reminded me of reading Hemingway.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      More like a Hemingway parody. “I went down to the cafe for lunch and had a sandwich and the house wine. The sandwich was good, full of fine sandwichy things, and true, not like so many of the false sandwiches enjoyed by too many washed-up old matadors. After lunch, I walked down to the harbor and watched a few fishermen mending their nets. One fisherman had caught a dolphin in his net, and he went to cut it free, but the animal thrashed itself to death on the rocks before he could help it.”

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    “Unfortunately, this is 2016, and a car like this just doesn’t fly any more.”

    TTAC could help all the readers out just by putting a “Trudeau” tag on the crap cars in the reviews and we can get the entire information content without reading more than one word.

    I suppose you could have him planking in full “First Peoples” regalia while saying, “It Is The Current Year!”, but that might be considered gilding the lily.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    The last Dart I was in also didn’t have Bluetooth and no USB port I could find. Yes, it’s a rental, but every other rental car in the compact class (and I think I’ve had them all) managed to have USB if not Bluetooth. We as car enthusiasts understand that rentals are usually decontented, but the average person might not. Someone rents a Dart and can’t find (or it doesn’t have) Bluetooth and USB, but the Chevy, Toyota or whatever they rent next does, that might swing them. I bought a Focus ZX3 in 01 because I liked the rental LX sedan I had.

    My last experience in anything this old from FCA or Chryslerus was a brief stint in a 2012 Dodge Avenger. It went much like Barks experience here, except there was little good. If you needed a new mid-size car on a budget, it was that. Like this Journey, the Avenger had the 2.4/ 4spd combo that moved my 04 Lancer Sportback well enough, but the Lancer was a much lighter vehicle. The 2.4 and 4 spd combo 12 years ago was much more acceptable when my Mitsu was new.

    I managed a run across Ohio in the Odyssey at 85+ and managed 22 mpg. It was also winter and on Blizzaks. I can’t imagine a Caravan or Town and County( or Pentastar Journey) would do much worse. I can’t imagine a four cylinder without boost in something that large. Not even 9 years ago when the Journey was born. You can have relative economy and power now, we have the technology! Toyotas attempt to put the 2.7 four in the Sienna didn’t go well either.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s what I’m saying. These cars are damaging to an automaker’s reputation. I can easily see someone shopping for a new car and saying, “Eww…Dodge? No. I rented a Journey and it sucked.” Never mind that the company’s other cars—even the Dart—are quite a bit nicer.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’m in a Sonata rental right now that doesn’t have Bluetooth either. I never really expect it in lower level rentals because agency fleets like to cut corners. I never judge a car by a rental, but this Hyundai certainly doesn’t coax me to find out what the nicer models are like.

  • avatar

    I can’t speak to the dynamic qualities of the Journey since I’ve never sat in one. Visually, however, I find it very clean and attractive. In profile it strongly reminds me of the Isuzu Axiom, which was way ahead of it’s time (again, visually) when it debuted and now would fit right in.

    • 0 avatar

      Reminding one of the Isuzu Axiom has never been a ringing endorsement.

    • 0 avatar

      oddly this was designed by car guy extraordinaire Ralph Gilles. He has said he thinks it’s one of his cleanest designs. I find it kind of boring but inoffensive.
      As mentioned there is a reason the car is till on sale and why it sells. It offers very good value for money with little to no updating costs from FCA. As mentioned by Jack middle class families can’t afford 30k cars but 20k cars are much more in range. As mentioned for pure practicality a Caravan is better but really not everyone wants a minivan and this represents 80% of the utility of a minivan in a more compact package at a very reasonable price. True car says here in CT I could buy an AWD SXT for 24K. A FWD for 20k. if you need a new family car on the cheap there really isn’t much better value then this other than the Caravan.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “oddly this was designed by car guy extraordinaire Ralph Gilles”

        It doesn’t matter who the designer is or was. A designer can design the best thing in the world, but management decides how important a particular thing is and how much it will cost to produce it. That’s the bottom line. All else is relative.

        Budgets determine how much to dumb it down or to cheapen it!

        Honestly, the Journey by itself is a rather attractive vehicle, but a lack of “flash” meaning bright trim makes it look plain ugly to some. This car would benefit from some nice bright trim around the side glass and a few other touches.

        I go on about “bright window reveal” and chrome door handles, but put any vehicle that has those features next to one that doesn’t, well – it can make all the difference.

        Of course I speak strictly for myself.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’ve driven a V6 FWD model decently optioned from the pre-refresh days. (The district fleet has several from 2009 all optioned almost the same and likely bought stinkin’ cheap before the old Chrysler franchise folded during the bankruptcy.)

    I tried and could NOT scratch the hard plastics that abounded. That is a ringing endorsement for family duty. Buy it, use it up, throw it away.

    Dynamically it was an Avenger wagon without being badged as such.

    Here’s the reasons I could find for buying one in my area: http://tinyurl.com/jhrja2v

    (Autotrader search for new and CPO)

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Journey had its best sales year in 2015: 100K. Rhymes with sweet.

    http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2011/01/dodge-journey-sales-figures.html

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    This review reminds me how spoiled Americans are – it seems that we cannot go anywhere without our smartphone – bluetooth not available – the world ends – steering wheel size paralyzes the driver – lack of rear view camera and sound causes psychological issues.

    I am thankful to not have to live or need any of this. I am no pavlov’s dog and I determine when I answer my phone and I get my messages sent to email where I only have to consult one place to see all my digital messages. There is value to having people to leave messages when only you determine the time that works for you. I have no digital distractions – and when working, I always let the phone go to voicemail which then sends the message to my laptop where I can scan the preview transcription or I can play the voicemail from there on wonderful headset.

    As for the vehicle here – we all know it was going to be a horrible product.

    I just marvel at the foolishness of today’s smartphone users – the only thing smart about them is conning you into thinking you need them and not being smart enough to be able to incorporate them in your schedule without having to bend to their small or big size or horrible speakers.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Probably the first time ever I fully agree with one of your posts. It’s quite comical that a car review puts down a certain model because god forbid it doesn’t have a rear view camera or aka a band-aide for poor styling and rear visibility.

      • 0 avatar

        Except that every other entry in this class has one, or at least some beeping backup aids. The Journey? Nope. You don’t think that’s important to mention to somebody who is considering buying one? Really?

        • 0 avatar
          TonyJZX

          I dont need every mod con but realise that if you spend $25k on any car in 2016 you should get the basics… that is rear sensors, especially important on a big van and one designed to be used with kids.

          The expectation is that a modern car has bluetooth and usb…. do people not notice that everyone has a smartphone now?

          One particular car that springs to mind does not have steering wheel buttons, nor does it have a color car information display. You may say you dont need these things… realise then that a low end Korean car has these things… then why doesnt a $25,000 japanese car?

          We live in the western world where we have expectations for what may be the 2nd largest purchase for most people. Why then are certain products like the above stuck in 2006?

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          My son was looking at a 2016 Scion iA and it had streaming Bluetooth and a backup camera, 7 inch touchscreen, along with keyless entry and pushbutton start. We’re talking about a $15,000 entry level car.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Don’t buy a Scion right now unless you plan on getting nothing for it at resale time. The brand is dead, and once the model switches over to Toyota for next year it will hold value much better – for all time.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            And if you do buy an iA, you should buy the Mazda front fascia and logos, and rebadge it as a Mazda2. So much better looking.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            They’re offering 60 month 0% financing along with $1250 cash on the hood to a 23 year old not even a year out of school. He’s pushing them further down since it’s a manual transmission car and he’s probably the only potential buyer they’re going to see for a while.

            His $2000 high school car finally died after 7 years and 70,000 miles. He’s the 2nd ranking scientist at a biotech company that’s making a good profit and applying for his first set of patents, so he can easily afford a new car. Scion seems to be throwing the most in his direction so far. Their college grad program (which includes trade schools too btw) gives them the best financing rate automatically, so that can be a big factor. He can almost pay cash for the iA, but it’s hard to say no to 0% financing.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @kyree I was thinking about attaching a fishing pole to the front end:

            http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/anglerfish/

          • 0 avatar
            JLGOLDEN

            The iA is a good value. If the buyer is keeping it for the long haul, and running it into the ground, I would overlook resale value concerns and jump on a good deal while the opportunity is here.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            They are offering him a $138/month lease with $750 down as an option. That would insulate him from any depreciation. In the end, it’s his decision. I’ve just gathered information and presented options. He does like the idea of getting 0% for 60 months though.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Driver aids have been increasing over the decades. They (mostly) are related to safety matters. Would you accept a car without airbags? ABS? Exterior mirrors? Backup lights?

        My point is rear camera tech is cheap and an extra effort to NOT install (the wiring is already there). A back up camera is not a luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      ferdburful

      When I’m on the road, my boss/company expects me to pick up my calls. No Bluetooth means that it is illegal to take a phone call when driving. My voicemail also alerts me to and gives me a recording of the voicemails, but my boss expects me to answer. Why are you going on about this item that is standard even in most crapwagons today.

      • 0 avatar

        Correct. If you’re in a job where you can let calls go to voicemail…well, you’re probably very happy about the $15 minimum wage law.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Damn, what kind of work environment is that (both of you guys)? What happens if you’re on the sh!tter?

          I’m expected to return calls quickly, but no one has an issue if I don’t pick up the first time.

          • 0 avatar

            Bark, Your actually too low on the totem if you answer. While most of my bosses over the years answer their phones, the ones who made big money never answered their phone and rarely answered questions in general. You basically couldn’t get in contact with them unless they really wanted you too. I had a client (CEO) who no matter what had his phone redirected to his secretary 24 hours a day. She would always say he was in a meeting. If I told her who I was and I was calling about one of his expensive toys she would immediately patch me thru to his cell . Funny.

          • 0 avatar

            Maybe you’re too low on the totem if they don’t take your calls. My company president takes every call I make to him. Just a thought.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Answering/not answering has less to do with pay scale and more to do with how much of a turd you are at your job. Yes, sometimes turds roll uphill.

            Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t. A sense of urgency matters at all levels, though.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        If your calls are that important then you should have a Bluetooth or other hands-free headset on you if needed.

        Like, what happens if the rental Optima’s BT stops working on you?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      You can get an aftermarket stereo for under $100 that includes Bluetooth and USB. It would cost almost nothing for Chryco to include them standard. Nickel-and-dimeing your customers is a lousy way to do business, especially when many of your competitors aren’t doing it. But I guess I’m spoiled.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      The smartphone isn’t my master either, but it is a tool to be used. Using Bluetooth if the phone rings is good (and mandatory hands-free is a law in many place), having GPS directions available without carrying another device is even better and so on. Some of us like our music commercial-free, I gave up on commercial FM radio years ago. I don’t stream music but many people do. If I want local flavor, I’ll find an NPR station.

      None of these, including the rear view camera are musts. But they sure are nice to have, especially when you travel a great deal. And many folks do rent cars before buying if they can. If you’re looking at a vehicle and every other competitor has Bluetooth, USB ports and a rear backing system of some sort, you’re not going to buy the vehicle without them. IF you want those things.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    1) I personally HATE autolamps. I’ve had cars with that feature and NEVER use it. And when my wife activates on our ’15 Journey, I turn it off when I drive. Don’t need some car telling me when to turn lights on.

    2) The climate controls on the Journey are not the easiest. But the option is in the climate feature. Took me a while to figure it out. I prefer manual knob controls, but I’m old school

    3) no backup camera. GROW UP! It’s a rental car. It’s not going to be a loaded model.

    4)No Blutooth. We had a ’14 Grand Caravan without Bluetooth. It’s a great feature, but it can create chaos if two or more phones are synced. Again, the rental company probably didn’t want a ton of people syncing their phones.

    5) Styling. What is so bad about it???? It’s not terrible. There are ALOT of CUV’s out there that look worse (Nissan Juke and Rogue, Lincoln MKX, MKC and MKT, etc.)

    • 0 avatar

      I rent ALOT (that’s actually spelled A LOT) of cars—about forty a year. This misconception that rental cars are base trim most of the time simply isn’t so. You’d know this if you had read any of the other rental reviews I’ve posted.

      Every rental car I’ve had in the last three years has had Bluetooth—I nearly always mention how easy/difficult it is to pair a device. Every single one, that is, except the Journey. Do you know why? Because many states and municipalities require handsfree communication, especially on the East Coast. They’d prefer you not sue them when you get a ticket.

      However, I see that you mentioned “my ’15 Journey,” so you’re just here to be emotionally validated. Sorry, brah. Not gonna happen on my watch.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        First of all “brah”, the ’15 Journey is my wife’s car. I don’t care for “Cute Utes”. I would not own one if it was for me. I’d rather have a nice RWD sedan or a truck.

        But I’ve driven a lot of rentals as well, including on a trip to Florida with my family, that do not have Bluetooth. Even some that were fancier then the Journey.

        I’m not here to be “emotionally validated”. You make some valid comments (Radio is junk, engine is underpowered, etc.) which I will agree with. But there is ALOT of other cars that are worse and deserve the “junk” label more the Journey.

        So don’t try and patronize me with your snide comments.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s still spelled “a lot.”

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            If my wipers are on, it’s very likely raining and I’ll have my headlights on so I can drive safely and be seen.

            It’s called common sense.

          • 0 avatar

            Not buying a Journey=common sense.

          • 0 avatar
            FOG

            Read your comment “Not buying a Journey = common sense” and had to chuckle. I have not experienced this side of you before, Bark. Why are you so denigrating to a whole model based on one experience forced on you by management? The quote, “Common sense is not so common” fits here. Most of the comments in both threads about the Journey seem to be emotional responses not based on science or fact.

          • 0 avatar

            Chuckle away, chucklehead. It’s a terrible car.

            And while I adore Mark like the little brother I never had, I wouldn’t say he’s my boss in any meaningful way. I’m a freelancer.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Don’t need some car telling me when to turn lights on.”

      So you’re that guy who’s always driving around with lights off in the rain and fog because turning them on would be letting The Man tell you what to do.

      I honestly don’t know why cars even allow driving with lights off. What purpose does it serve? Cars should be like motorcycles and turn the lights on with the engine.

      Also, Bark is right — I haven’t had a rental car without Bluetooth in quite a long time. Usually unless the car is brand-new there are several phones synced. This doesn’t create any chaos whatsoever, even if two of them are in the car at the same time. The phones are listed in order and whichever is first on the list is the one that will be paired.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I like how there’s an implication in his complaint that the car somehow takes pleasure in turning on the lights. It’s just sitting there waiting to piss him off, so disabling the auto lights lets him “win.”

        I don’t mind letting Twilight Sentinel make my lighting decisions at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Polishdon

          Nope, it has ZERO to do with the system turn them on. My issue? Leaving the car and the light turn themselves off. I wind up waiting to make sure they turn off.

          I’ve had cars (Lincoln Town Car, for example) that sometimes would not auto lamp turn off and I’d have a dead battery.

          Sorry, I don’t need a nanny in my car. I’ve been driving for 30+ years and I am fully capable of turning a knob.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Yeah, I like auto-headlights, myself.

          It’s not like the cars I have with the option are *bad* at figuring out it’s a bit dark and switching from DRLs to headlights.

          (On the SuperDuty, it’s just manual lights.

          So I habitually turn them to “ON” every time I start it.)

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        So you are probably the person driving with their high beams on in my rear view mirror.

        I turn them on when it is needed, and normally it is BEFORE the system turns them on. And they do have lights on when the engine is on, it’s called DRL (Daytime Running Lights). Problem with that feature is that when everyone’s lights are on, it defats the purpose of making your car more visible! Try it sometime…. Look at a mass of traffic with their lights on, do you see individual cars ?

        And I rented a car in Florida recently that didn’t have Bluetooth. And I’ve have local loaners are well from Enterprise without Bluetooth.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          When did I say anything about high beams?

          DRLs only light up one side of the car. Taillights and marker lights should come on automatically too.

          The issue isn’t what you look like when you are in a mass of traffic (except when it’s raining or foggy and dumba$$es, usually in pavement-colored cars, refuse to turn on their lights because it’s not legally required). The issue is whether you are visible to someone approaching you or immediately behind you. The research is clear that you’re more visible in both cases with lights on, even in the daytime.

          How does it benefit you to drive with lights off? Why is everyone so attached to the ability to drive with lights off? I just don’t understand.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            “When did I say anything about high beams?” When you stated that I’m the person driving with my lights off in the rain, etc.

            The only reason DRL exist is to benefit the replacement part manufacturers. I have not seen one article that 100% proves DRL are a benefit. I can find minimal benefits at best.

            However, I can find a article by NHTSA (Tech Report HS 811 029) that finds no significant benefit of DRL.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You’re really not very good with the reading comprehension, are you? I asked “When did I say anything about high beams?” You answered by citing a remark that had nothing to do with high beams.

            Also, this is the second google result for “DRL studies” and it cites a ton of research backing up my conclusion:
            https://www.ibiblio.org/rdu/DRLs/studies.htm

            But if it makes you feel better about yourself you can continue to believe it’s all a Big Bulb conspiracy. Just don’t be surprised when someone plows into you while you’re driving your Journey with no lights in the rain to stick it to Big Bulb.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            You are not very good at reading comprehension either. When did I ever say that I don’t turn my light on in rain, etc. You made that “assumption”. And I just continued to make the same generalization.

            I prefer to, as a licensed driver, to determine when items need to used (Wipers, headlights, etc.) Why do you feel that I shouldn’t have that choice? Basically that’s your opinion! The car should turn lights on and off as needed, Wipers should operate when needed, etc. WITHOUT any input from the driver. Of course, I’m making the leap of faith jump on the wipers, but that is based on your headlight belief, so it not really that far off in concept.

            Of course, you might say that wipers shouldn’t turn on automatically. If so, why? Why are wipers different from headlights? What about automatic parking? Can that be done manually or must my car decide how to park? You must be excited about the concept of auto driving cars, since it’s obvious that humans can no longer handle simple operations.

            I prefer to DRIVE the car, not the CAR drive me.

          • 0 avatar

            In most places, it’s the law that your lights must be on any time that your wipers are on. Do you rage against that machine, too?

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I don’t want to drive with my lights off, but I might want to start the car and sit there for 30 seconds getting situated, without blinding my neighbors.

            I’ll turn the knob before I start rolling. And it’s easy enough to notice that the dash isn’t lit appropriately (no lighting at all in the MX-5, no dimming effect on the 3’s always-on dash lighting).

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          ” Problem with that feature is that when everyone’s lights are on, it defats the purpose of making your car more visible”
          Uh, no. The purpose isn’t to make you stand out from other cars, it’s to make you stand out from the background. A silver/grey car on an overcast morning is nearly invisible.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            Really ? a silver/grey car on an overcast morning is nearly invisible?

            What about a white car in snow? Beige car in the desert? Green car in a meadow? Orange car on the Sun?

            Based on that statement, I’m going have some fun and carry it to the umpteenth level. Ok, what about people crossing the street in dark clothes in early morning/late at night? I can’t see them, so they must have headlight (or some light on) at all times. What about pets? Same policy. Of course, we can’t forget bicycles. And what about buildings and other items (dumpsters, etc.). I could turn the corner and if it’s placed in the right spot, I might not see it with my headlights or because of all the lights on, my eyes cannot adjust in time to see the item. So we need to have flashing lights on them so I can see them if I need to. Of course, all these lights flashing and blinking lights only add to the distraction.

            So simple rule. The world must be fully lit 24/7 so people can see something. That if they open their eyes and pay attention, they can do just fine.

            How in the world did the older generations manage to do anything? All I hear now is young people complaining that some trivial issue like “my car doesn’t have a backup camera, etc.” Take the just off your rear view mirror and use it!

            When you are driving, you need to pay attention. Just because you want to make things easier by forcing people to have lights on isn’t going to solve it.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “forcing people to have lights on”

            Again, I ask: why do you want so badly to drive with all your lights off? How does it help you?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I can think of a few situations where I might want my car running but have the lights off.

            Maybe have the lights on only if the vehicle is in gear?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            ajla, that makes sense for an automatic. Lights turn on when car goes into gear (but with option to turn them on earlier), lights turn off when ignition turns off (but with button to turn them off earlier if car in Park).

            For a manual I think you’d need to have them turn on when the car goes into gear and then stay on until the ignition turns off.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        “forcing people to have lights on”

        Again, I ask: why do you want so badly to drive with all your lights off? How does it help you?

        Never said it did, did I? It’s a PERSONAL CHOICE! Why do I need to have headlights on at 1pm on a sunny day?

        However, you feel that I MUST have headlights on at all times. I guess that’s why car companies give us both choices. Until some moron in the government decides that we drivers cannot handle a car anymore and must be coddled with the cars in control.

        Backup cameras, blind spot detectors, etc. are meant to AID the driver, not replace him/her.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          So your only answer to my question is “because having a PERSONAL CHOICE is so important to me that I’m willing to make myself and others less safe, even though that PERSONAL CHOICE actually results in zero benefit for me?”

          If there were some benefit to driving with lights off, I’d get your objection. But there isn’t. Your life would not get worse in any way, at all, if your car switched the lights on automatically. You’d still be able to drive your car wherever and however you want. The only consequence is that you’d be, according to the bulk of the research, a few percentage points less likely to get into an accident. But evidently flipping Big Bulb and/or Big Government the bird is more important to you.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            Well your only answer is that it is “supposedly” more safe, even though government studies have not proven it as fact. And at best, it is a marginal improvement and probably within a statistical anomaly, Your exact words “a few percentage points less likely”.

            Just to prove a point, I turned on my auto lamps today before I left work @ 5:30pm (I just so happen to be driving the Journey today) and it was raining sufficiently that I needed to have wipers on standard speed (no intermittent) all the way home. I was following “your theory” that I am now more visible!

            Guess what? My headlights NEVER CAME ON! Had I been driving normally (my way), I would have manually turn them on because I knew I should. To add additional insult to your theory, my Journey is the same Graphite Gray as the test car. So I was even more dangerous because of no lights and a gray car on a gray and rainy day. All because I wanted to be lazy and had my car decide if headlights should be on or not.

            I know this because I purposely looked for the reflection of the lights in the vehicles in front of me when stopped in traffic. I even stopped at a gas station under the roof and checked as well. They didn’t turn on till I pulled into the garage. Well that sure helped a lot!

            Technology is great, but you need to be able to make human judgment when the situation requires it. To rely on the car to always be right is silly and dangerous.

            I wonder if that excuse will fly if I am pulled over for no headlights. “Officer, I’m sorry, but my car doesn’t think I need to have them on! Can you give the car a ticket and not me ?”

            You go right ahead and use Auto lamps. You have every right to do so. As for me, I know when those light should be on and I know better then that silly sensor.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I don’t use auto lamps for exactly the reason you describe: I want my lights on any time the car is moving. What I want is for both my own car and others to have the lights on automatically whenever moving, not just automatically whenever it’s dark.

            I also don’t like accidents. The research seems pretty conclusively to indicate a small improvement, getting bigger with higher latitude and darker skies. Guess what… I live in the northernmost major city in the United States, a place that’s notorious for being unpleasantly dark 6 months a year. I’ll take that small improvement, and any other small improvement I can make to my chances of not having my family, myself, and my car bent up.

          • 0 avatar
            Polishdon

            “What I want is for both my own car and others to have the lights on automatically whenever moving, not just automatically whenever it’s dark.” OK Comrade!

            Why don’t you get the government to make a law so you can force your will upon everyone for what is probably a variance that is within the margin of error.

            And if they do, I will have no problem with it. But until then, I will be in control of my car’s features.

    • 0 avatar
      sutherland555

      In Canada, bluetooth was made mandatory in all new cars in 2012 (as I recall). From our perspective, it’s ridiculous for a new vehicle to not have it. In Ontario, the fine for distracted driving (eg even touching your cellphone) is $400. I suspect it’s the same for many states in America. This is FCA just being super cheap and greedy at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I will say the ones in my Golf SportWagen come on prematurely. Since it has pricey HIDs, bulb life is of some concern.

      The Jeep Cherokee I’m driving as a rental now does have auto lights, but they weren’t activated when I picked it up. It has one of those instrument panels that stays completely lit even when the lights are off. Moreover, the DRL LEDs are bright enough that you’d think the lights were on if you didn’t know better. Suffice it to say that I drove all the way across town with the lights off.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Maybe my view on this is purist, but I tend to think that if the cost of bulb replacement is even a slight factor in deciding when to turn your lights on then (if HID) you have the wrong kind of headlights or (if conventional) you probably can’t afford to have a car.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Well, it’s not that I can’t afford the car, but—assuming I don’t sell it back to VW—the car will need replacement HID bulbs at some point, and I’d rather it were later than sooner. They really do turn on too early in Auto mode. But my Jetta SportWagen didn’t even have an Auto mode—nor was one available at any trim level—and that annoyed me more.

        It’s the same as how you probably don’t leave the lights on in your house willy-nilly, either, even if you can afford your electric bill quite comfortably every month and a box of lightbulbs. It adds up.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The difference is that I’m not counting on the lightbulbs in my house to reduce the odds of people crashing into me.

          Both the LS460 and Forester have HID low beams. The LS460’s are on at all times when driving. In the Forester, you can have the parking lights and DRLs together, and I’ll use that mode during full summer sun, but in any other conditions the HIDs are on. The bulbs will burn out when they will burn out (and that’s probably soon in the LS, because both bulbs are original from 2008). Having the safest possible lighting configuration is more important to me.

          • 0 avatar
            never_follow

            After about 3000 hours, your HID headlights are only putting out the light of a halogen bulb…

            They last a very long time, but their failure mode is different from a filament bulb. A bulb will start not igniting every time, requiring a flick of the switch, which is stressful to the lighting system. Your best bet would be to replace them if they’ve been going for 8 years. It’ll be much cheaper than replacing ballasts or igniters.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My car is so low-mileage, and came from such a bright place, that the HIDs in all likelihood have a three-digit number of hours on them. They remain very bright, and only very slightly bluer in color than new.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I just saw 3 2016 V6 SE AWD Journey’s with the all weather group, Uconnect and Bluetooth, 17″ alloys and other items for $25995. The MSRP was $29380 or 3385 off sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      That’s a terrible deal. Demand at least $2000 more.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Wondered whether that was a good deal or not. Checked the website of the no haggle dealer here, where I found that $5,500 off sticker is still getting hosed by at least a grand, but then I saw this:

        “Sub Prime Bonus: The Fitzway Low Price includes $500 Sub Prime Bonus. Must have a credit score below 620 to qualify. Please see dealer for details. Offer expires May 2, 2016.”

        Either the kid putting the website together has a sense of humor that hasn’t been beaten out of him yet or FCA is being more candid about their customers than the business of commerce typically allows.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    “Visually, the Journey is embarrassing.”

    Funny, I always thought its looks were the only positive thing it had going for it. But then I like boxy, trucky, station-wagony styling.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    A friend bought one of these some time ago.

    His was much more optioned than the subject above, and I had to give it guarded praise. I said “guarded” because I was holding my breath for the first sign of trouble.

    Later, he bought a Jeep GC. I didn’t have to hold my breath long – trouble raised its head almost right away. Tranny issues, electrical issues and a couple other things that FCA can’t seem to fix. Thing is, it’s one fine ride.

    I think he still has the Journey, and I believe it’s been reliable for him. His wife drives it and she actually likes it!

    Good reviews yesterday and today – hey! only two mild bad words in today’s review, that’s progress!

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I don’t understand what the issue is with the ’14 and later Grand Cherokee. It sounds like it’s as troublesome as the European 4x4s it tries to emulate (X5, Range Rover Sport, Cayenne, etc…)

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’m glad they build these. We need new cars (and low mile used cars) that people with lower incomes can afford. Sure it’s not what a middle class mom would want, but I suspect that’s not the target market for this model.

    Often I find myself wondering when they stopped building modest homes. The same thing seems to be happening with cars. No one seems to be allowed to build basic transportation anymore. We’ll all be sorry the next time a bubble bursts.

    So this, the Mirage, and Spark need to keep being built despite our collective distastes.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Kia builds cars a step up from basic transportation at basic transportation prices…along with the best warrantee you can get.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Kia and Hyundai are no where near the bargains relative to Honda & Toyota they once were.

        IN FACT, the Honda or Toyota equivalent is LESS EXPENSIVE (while being significantly more reliable, long-lasting and refined) than their Kia/Hyundai counterparts (Accords, CR-Vs, Camrys, etc.), which probably explains the halt in market share capture of both Kia & Hyundai of the last few years.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          DW, I thought you really liked the Sonata and Genesis?

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @deadweight: In Canada a comparable Kia or Hyundai sells for a significant amount less than the comparable Honda or Toyota. And Kia/Hyundai offer a longer warranty.

          As for Bark’s review, I prefer yesterday’s.

          And vehicles like the Journey fill an important niche. As demonstrated by sales figures, there are a great many consumers who prize cost and utility over looks and handling. And who would rather buy a new car than a similarly priced used one.

          If FCA just put some better parts into the Journey and Caravan, making them at least mid-level reliable, then I would bet that they would see a massive bump in sales.

          After all, Corollas sell regardless of what enthusiasts say about them.

          • 0 avatar

            Her in CT Toyota has come down in street pricing close to H and K for cars and a little higher still for CUV’s. Honda is still more expensive then everyone it seems when optioned the same.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I have nothing against a modest, low-priced, low-option family hauler.

      But, why get a 2.4L Journey (or Outlander) over an equally-priced Grand Caravan or Transit Connect LWB? Fuel economy on the 4cyl Journey is one better than the GC and one worse than the TC.

      If this Journey was ~$18K I could see the argument for it, but at this price point it still has competition.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Because you HATE MINIVANS and won’t let anyone tell you otherwise. A very large slice of the American public fits this description.

        If forced to choose between a similarly equipped Journey and Grand Caravan, my wife (who is one of these people) would choose the Journey without a second thought, even though she’s perfectly aware it has less space inside.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Which is fine, no one be spending $20K+ on something they hate.

          But, in that case I’d say you aren’t a “modest, basic transportation” buyer any longer, you’re a “I want the CUV coolness appeal and the basic Journey/Outlander is all I can afford” person.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            But the Journey’s whole reason for existence is that, at real-world transaction prices, it gets you a 3-row CUV for a “modest, basic transportation” price. As hateful a car as it is, nothing else does that.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Dal. Outlander and Sorrento are both neyter

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Forgot about the Outlander entirely (unsurprisingly) but you’re right about it. In the real world the Sorrento is at least a couple thousand more $.

        • 0 avatar
          Polishdon

          My wife liked her Grand Caravan and the two Town & Country vans before it. Why did she get rid of it…. two reasons:

          1) She wanted a AWD vehicle
          2) She hated the cloth seats, she had leather for years and missed them.

      • 0 avatar
        Land Ark

        ajla: You know as well as I do that no one is paying CLOSE to sticker for these. There are several SXTs out there in the $18-$20k range as listed online. I wouldn’t be shocked to see people getting them for $18k at the end of each month.

        Just because there are better options out there doesn’t mean there should be fewer options.

    • 0 avatar
      ItsMeMartin

      A relatively similar thing is happening in Europe. There is no way to buy a cheap, large car anymore. If you want to buy a midsizer and up, you better be prepared to shell out almost twice as much as you would for a compact. Better yet, in the upper-midsize/fullsize segment there is literally no non-premium offering to choose from.
      In the past you could easily buy a basic, modestly equipped, large Ford, Opel or Peugeot on a middle-class salary. Now, if you want anything larger than a Golf but less expensive than a proper executive sedan you must either pay through the nose for an overstyled Rube Goldberg device that the producer desperately wants to promote as luxurious, or buy a bastardized offering of some premium make.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        What is “Rube Goldberg” about a Ford Mondeo or Opel Vectra or Peugeot 508? All are available in Europe at reasonable prices (after discount).

        • 0 avatar
          ItsMeMartin

          I beg to differ; while those cars that you mentioned are relatively simple by today’s standards, I think they are overloaded with many potentially problematic technologies:
          -Dual mass flywheels in manuals,
          -Dual clutch automatic transmissions,
          -Automated manual transmissions (e.g. base model Pug 508 1.6),
          -Electronically actuated everything,
          -Electronic parking brakes,
          -Turbo/superchargers in almost every engine,
          -Common rail injectors (in diesels),
          -Clustering of all the controls in the central touchscreen,
          -Direct injection,
          -Diesel particulate filters,
          -Thousands of sensors whose failure cripples the car,
          -Laughably undersized engines,
          etc.

          The reason why I find them needlessly complicated is that I don’t look at them from the perspective of a first owner that keeps it for the warranty period and not a day longer. Almost every car sold in 2016 can endure that. I, on the other hand, am interested in the car’s long-term longevity since the only examples of them that I will be able to afford for the foreseeable future are 10+ year-old ones with well over 300K km done. While these state-of-the-art technologies might be desirable for the initial owner, for people like me – and the majority of people from 2nd World countries such as mine who will end up owning them when they are past their prime – they represent the danger of huge repair bills. You might say that the situation of me and the other 3rd/4th etc. owners is irrelevant to the automakers – and you would be right. I’m not railing at the injustice of it all. I’m just longing for the days when you could buy either a Rube Goldberg device or an automotive version of a crude, primitive tool no matter which segment you chose, unlike now when the only cars left that are cheap to run are compact-sized or smaller.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Wow, no Bluetooth but it has key less start. I would think more people care about Bluetooth than care about key less start.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    The first review actually reminded me of old ttac… A website that I really miss. Idk why I still tune in to this site everyday anymore, its nothing like it used to be. The junkyard finds and baruth articles are the only things that are keeping me here, and the hope that things will change.

  • avatar
    rcx141

    I found myself in a Dodge Caliber rental once. It was so appalling, I seriously considered turning round and demanding a different car. Literally a 1976 Austin Allegro would have been preferable.

    The odd thing is, Chrysler can make decent cars. I had two 300s and have rented various Chargers. All excellent.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    If you go to the Dodge website and “build” a Journey, the description of the 4 speed transmission is rather funny…and I quote…”The four-speed automatic transmission automatically changes gears so you don’t have to shift gears manually.” Really? I did not know what an automatic transmission was for until I read that! Reading a little further and one must conclude the web page developer must have a bit of a sense of humor, the description for the 4 cylinder engine reads, “The 2.4L DOHC 16V I4 engine with Dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT) delivers 173 horsepower, 166 lb-ft of torque and up to 26 highway mpg[1] to satisfy your need for power.”…….to satisfy your need for power? LOL

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      173hp is … enough, for 3,800 pounds.

      I mean, my old Toyota pickup had 116 hp vs. about 3,000 pounds (inclusive of the canopy and rack).

      Remember, the “need for power” spoken of is not the gearhead’s, but that of the *person who would spec a Journey and not immediately pick the Pentastar*.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “173hp is … enough, for 3,800 pounds” My 4Runner supposedly made 183hp when new, and it weighs exactly that much. The big difference there is that 183hp comes along with 217ft/lb at a reasonable 3600rpm. I’m willing to bet that even a 4cyl Journey would give me a run for my money away from the lights, but I’m also willing to bet that my creamy-smooth V6 would sound/feel much more pleasant doing it, likewise climbing hills I could probably keep the torque converter locked up in overdrive longer.

        I doubt this thing is “dangerously slow,” just out of step with the expectations of people used to midsize 4cyl sedans running 0-60 in the low 8s and v6 minivans in the low 7s.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Kia Sportage could fit in this thing’s second row. Not really a competitor.

  • avatar
    PhilMills

    “The rear seats are pretty spacious, so that’s a good thing. You won’t find more room in anything at a comparable price point that isn’t a Caravan.”

    I would be very surprised if the rear seats out-class the ones in the current Subaru Outback. Those are without doubt the most spacious rear seats I’ve been in outside of a minivan (speaking as a 6’1″ parent with a rear-facing carseat installed behind him). I’d take an Outback over the Journey any day of the week. Probably more comfortable stuffing two extra people in the wagon’s hatch than in a pop-up 3rd row, too. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      I think it’s close but the journey is slightly bigger inside from what I recall plus it sells for about 5k less then an outback so not really in the same basic transport class.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The outback is still more sedanlike in terms of roofline, same applies to the cargo area. The Outback actually has more seats-down cargo capacity than the Journey, but the Journey edges out the Outback in terms of cargo space behind the second row (with the Journey’s third row stowed). I agree, it is apples to oranges, although the Journey Crossroad with it’s butched up styling and AWD could definitely be cross-shoped.

  • avatar
    FOG

    Okay, what I get out of this “real” review is that FCA needs to pound on the Fleet sales people to get better product on the rental lots and that Bark took out his disappointment of not getting to drive a cool truck, on the vehicle his boss made him drive. Basically this is all Bark’s boss’s fault.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “I was beyond perplexed by Uconnect’s climate screen. The vent selection “button” didn’t call attention to itself whatsoever.”

    Ah, come on, Bark.

    I glanced at the illustration in the Owner’s Manual just now and it’s a button that says “Mode” with a *diagram of a seat with airflow arrows pointed at it*, right there on the climate screen.

    That’s not exactly hiding it in an unlit basement with the stairs out and a sign saying “beware of the leopard”.

    It’s not awesome UX, but it shouldn’t have been difficult to suss out, especially to someone with your experience in J. Random Rental.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      (And note, “Have bluetooth” is not the law anywhere in the US.

      “Not holding your phone in your hand to make/take a call” is the law many places.

      While car Bt integration is arguably the best way to do it, it’s not required for compliance; any number of other solutions exist, from the primitive “put it on speaker” to the more involved “since this thing doesn’t have nav, put in a GPS with Bt”, or “get one of those rearview mirrors that does reverse camera and Bt”.

      I concur that it’s ludicrous for a car with a 27k price to not include Bluetooth integration, though. As a missing feature, it’s baffling – it’s just not something that makes a Journey illegal in some states, as implied by that wording.)

  • avatar
    scott25

    I can safely say I have never used Bluetooth in a car, I only just learned how to pair my phone to it when I got my Mazda3 a few months. It was one of the few features my Scion xD actually had and I just ignored it. Then again I only use my cell phone as a phone probably 5 or less times a year.

    As for the styling I always thought the Journey has been the most inoffensive generic thing on the road since it was introduced, like the crossover version of a 1998 Corolla.

    I’ve driven a few Journeys and personally I think they’re unsafe. No feeling of control whatsoever and every piece that your hands and feet touch feel like they are connected to the vehicle by melted cheese strings, and the steering wheel feels like it’s improperly attached. On every one I’ve driven.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    I just had one of these last week and used it for 8 days in Tucson. Hot fucking garbage. How this got out of a product planning room is mind boggling. That’s a lot of words to say it sucks.

    Don’t pay more than $.30 for this vehicle.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I’ve seen the engine line of this vehicle in Chyrsler’s Toluca plant.

    They use clicker wrenches to bolt a lot of the engine’s top hat together. Every other auto plant I’ve been in uses nothing but DC tooling hooked right up to Ethernet to capture torques and angles for control plan purposes.

    I was there as a supplier due to the engine line’s inability to use Chrysler standard tools to build the engine.

    Not even the Chrysler engineers were able to comprehend the amount of non conformities I documented as a supplier. What started as a supplier quality concern / yard action ended up being a Toluca concern/yard action.

    That plant is a giant piece of sh1t.

    The FCA plant supplier quality engineers ended up kicking me out of the plant. They didn’t realize I understood their colluding horse sh1t they thought I couldn’t understand when they switched back and forth from espanol to english. They also thought I was a sub component supplier rep rather than the tier 1 quality engineer. They didn’t realize the tier 1 and tier 2 were under the same Japanese umbrella. I saved my company a lot of money that day. Hopefully FCA quality followed through on the control plan compliance issues that were identified in that facility.

    I have utmost respect for the FCA engineers I worked with. I have absolutely no respect for Toluca Assembly.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Is this the same 2.4 engine they use on the other products as well, or does this factory just make for the Journey?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Weirdly, FCA’s media page doesn’t say anything about Toluca Assembly building engines itself. The nearest plant that builds the 2.4-liter is in Satillo, Mexico.

        There are other plants building the 2.4-liter, including one in Trenton, MI and another one in Dundee, MI, so it is not clear which one actually supplies the engine for the Journey. It might be the one in Mexico, but it might not.

        Additionally, it’s not clear whether the 2.4-liter World Engine and the 2.4-liter Tigershark are two different engines. If what I’ve read is correct, the Tigershark is a newer version of the World Engine, with Fiat’s MultiAir technology. The Satillo and Trenton plants build the Tigershark, but the Dundee plant builds the World Engine. I believe the Journey—being an older product—has the World Engine and *not* the Tigershark, so that would narrow it down to the Dundee plant.

        Here’s the page, so you can see for yourself:
        http://media.fcanorthamerica.com/newsrelease.do?id=9117&mid=1

        As far as Tresmono’s story, it’s possible that some final work on the engine is done onsite at the car assembly plant, in which case Toluca *does* handle the engine…and you can then assume that they only handle the units that go into the Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont, which are built there.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Your last paragraph is correct. It’s not the head / block – it’s everything around it. Harnesses, air boxes, power steering components, etc. Essentially what you’d imagine wouldn’t be ‘safe to ship’ from the engine plant to the final assembly location due to dunnage constraints and contamination issues. They would ‘dress’ the engine prior to decking it to the subframe then body.

          I would guess it’s the older world engine due to the architecture / prints of the components I was on site for. It had roots in legacy product, just modified for the Journey. I could be wrong. We also saw all the Fiat badged diesel Journeys going down the line.

          I essentially bought information from some final guys by buying cans of mountain dew from the break area. They filled me in with the BS that I was suspecting and I reinforced it with my own documentation. Playing dumb gets you an incredible leg up on most manufacturing ‘conflict’ resolution situations.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Tresmonos, THIS is what I read TTAC for. Thank you.

  • avatar
    IwantmyEXP

    I love the automatic headlights on my commuting vehicle. On the weekend fun car turning on the manual pop-up headlights is an event and makes me happy.

  • avatar
    pacificpom2

    Perhaps the Journey in America does deserve it’s tarnished and poor reputation. All the experiences I have had with FCA export models seem to indicate that there definitely is a us and them marketing mentality. Like I mentioned before my Base model Freemont aka Journey has all the goodies that seem to be missing from the SXT. Bluetooth, auto lights, reversing sensors, 6 speed auto. The things I missed out on are the extra passenger seat storage. Camera, 8″ screen & nave only come in the upper models Urban, Lounge(?) and Crossroad. Accounting for the difference in currency conversion, yes you are getting a raw deal with the car. Apart from that, sometimes you think some manufacturers only aim to better than the bottom marker, I’m looking at you Great Wall. Fit finish, general driving dynamics are not in the brilliant, lets go xr8/SSV hunting, more like I can out manoeuvre a Hyundai Trajet or a Kia Carnival if I’m not loaded with groceries!

  • avatar

    What this review fails to account for is that most Journey buyers aren’t cross-shopping Muranos, Edges, and Traverses for anything beyond a sales brochure; they’re coming out of Intepids, 626s, MPVs Windstars, ’02 Maximas, Grand Ams, and tired Sonatas.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Exactly.

      “Look, we can finally afford a new car”, or “I got a new car which will be safer for you and the kids” or “I bought a new car that we can fit the family in”.

      What is so different between purchasing a new Journey and purchasing a new full sized bottom line model D4 sedan every 2 or 3 years in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s?

      And if Bark had rented in Canada it would have had bluetooth and automatic day time running lights. Those are mandated by law.

      Look forward to a follow-up by Tresmonos, as what he said piqued my curiosity.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s my point. I would never buy one, either for myself personally nor for my inventory; I have options. Some do not. This is a bit more economical and easier to handle than a Grand Caravan while extolling 7/10 of its virtues. These people don’t care about Bluetooth connectivity, audio quality, NVH characteristics, or if it can hold its own on the skidpad. They care that it has air, room for the family, and a dash that isn’t peeling up from the airbag cover.

        Name another dead-affordable 3-row crossover that is not only priced this low but also something the average subprime buyer can quality for. Think of it like an Obamaphone by FCA.

        Now contrast that with utter garbage like the Mirage for which there are comparably-priced alternatives which are better in every regard.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          This comment makes me feel better about fighting the good fight for this POS.

          I’m a firm believer that everyone should have access to modern, reliable and safe transportation.

  • avatar
    brn

    I think I’ll wait for Alex Dykes to do a qualified review.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    He won’t this is a dying model,to be replaced by an all new design, hopefully, they will do a much better job, like in the new Pacifica. But if they price it too high, then no one will buy it.

  • avatar
    midnite_clyde

    FWIW, we are very pleased with our ’13 Journey Crew. The 3.6 6 sp auto is a really good running gear. The vehicle has been trouble free, loaded with extras. I’ve always turned on lights myself, and turn around to see while backing up. I guess old habits are hard to break. Silly me. My only complaint is the stereo.

    OBTW, my pet peeve is people driving at dusk/dawn without lights. I’m always afraid to pull out and pass or cross an intersection thinking I’ll get smashed by an idiot with his lights off.

    • 0 avatar

      We have a 2014 Grand Caravan AVP, also lacking auto lights, backup camera, Bluetooth, power rear vents, etc. I’d be happy to have that stuff, but we have always been content with basic cars. And I love the 283 hp V6 / 6 spd auto that I assume is also in the Journey.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    After going domestic, well Euro-domestic with a Sonic that was replaced by a Focus, I would never buy a car that has a headlight dial and no automatic headlamps. The Japanese/Koreans do much better with the headlight switch on the end of the turn signal stalk.

    At this point, FCA is just letting the Journey rot on the vine when their main priority is rebadging them as Freemonts with more standard equipment and selling them overseas. On the other hand, I would hope that the next Journey would be as well executed as the Pacifica which knowing Chrysler’s record, could be another LH car, beautiful, innovative and durable as polvoron.

  • avatar
    fremontwatch

    Wow I just bought a used 2017 Dodge Journey and love it. I can’t believe how spoiled some people are. My budget was tight, I don’t like spending a ton of money on cars and this fit the bill. My last car was a 2007 Ford Focus so this is definitely a step up. The air works great, it has privacy glass and it has controls for air and climate in the second and third row seats. I have a pet rescue so this was ideal. Not used to having any tech in my car anyway so I really didn’t care about a back up camera and blue tooth.
    I was able to get a 2017 used former rental with only 18,000 miles on it for 16,000 bucks. I added an additional warranty and gap insurance. Got this all for under 20,000 bucks and am thrilled my car payment is not like a rent payment.
    I would never pay a lot of money for a car without the technology which is why this was perfect for me. 16,000 dollars was more than reasonable for this car. Realize that buying a car is a very personal decision and what one person needs in a car may not be another person’s needs. I’m really happy with my Dodge Journey and when I work an extra job next summer I’ll add some tech.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      What can I say about a comment like yours? Yes, the Journey works. It’s a very basic, the most basic car. It’s cheap for a vehicle with a third row seat (even though it has no cargo room in this configuration). But besides that, there is nothing good to say about it.

      The electronics are horrible. For one, like the reviewer said, the car does not have bluetooth, in 2016! I guess this shouldn’t bother you much since you come from a 2007 Ford, the time when Ford used to make ridiculously noncompetitive cars too, like Dodge today. In 2007, Ford had to put wads of cash on the top of car to sell one, because only an idiot would choose a Ford then over say a Toyota or a Honda (today, Ford actually makes decent cars) for the same price.

      The second thing I notice is the horrendous climate control. No matter how many times I have tried to switch my rental Journey’s front climate control to sync for both seats, eventually and strangely it would switch back to “driver-only” control when I push the red-blue heat buttons. It happens almost every day. Very stupid.

      The transmission and cruise control are ridiculous. The car’s speed is at 60 mph, but I need to set the cruise control setting to something like 65 until the transmission and engine decide, hey we gotta go faster. The transmission is lethargic, so when I need to overtake someone on two lane road, I need to mash the gas pedal to the metal for the car to realize, hey, I think he wants me to go faster. In all respects is a very mediocre car. I guess it’s ok if you need a three row seat vehicle for the least money.

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