By on November 26, 2019

2016 Dodge Journey Crossroad, Image: FCA

Just this past week, a base Dodge Journey that shacked up with a family member four years ago headed off to not-so-greener pastures. Life for the four-speed, front-drive crossover might not be easy at its new home, but at least it has a new, non-corroded oil pan.

That particular model is worth mentioning, as it’s one of only two Journey trims available for the 2020 model year. While the model’s future remains uncertain, a new report hints at a looming replacement for Dodge’s pedestrian people hauler.

Right, you say, rolling your eyes. I’ve heard this before.

We all have! Under a previous plan, Fiat Chrysler intended to move the Journey off its old bones and onto the Giorgio platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Giulia. That was supposed to happen for the 2019 model year; clearly, it didn’t.

Eleven years after its debut, the Journey soldiers on with a lone powerplant (the ancient 2.4-liter four-cylinder) and an even more ancient four-speed auto, in either front-drive SE Value trim or all-wheel drive Crossroad guise (an apt name, as the Journey finds itself at a crossroads in its life).

Image: 2017 Dodge Journey SE, via FCA

According to sources who spoke to Mopar Insiders, a plan is afoot to replace the Journey with a brawnier, more Dodge-worthy successor. It’s the same plan as before, however, so take it with a grain of salt. If true, the replacement will offer a rear-drive layout and optional AWD, coupled with an athletic persona. Four-and six-cylinder engines are a given. The five-passenger vehicle is said to be about the size of a Stelvio, with distinctive Charger-esque styling.

If the Dodge brand is to continue to exist as a performance-oriented presence in FCA’s lineup, products like the Journey need to undergo an extreme makeover. The model’s also long past its best-before date. Groupe PSA CEO Carlos Tavares claims neither his company nor FCA plan to shed any brands in the looming merger and, with reports of a new three-row crossover in Dodge’s future, the brand’s two-row space will need attention.

However, in this era of efficiencies and consolidation, is it sensible to offer both a Journey and Durango? Will a new Journey, said to be offered in a muscle-bound Scat Pack variant, step on the other model’s toes? And what of the previously-rumored Italian production site and associated shipping costs?

Many questions and few answers. This Journey business remains unconfirmed, but it would be easy to speculate that Dodge will ultimately decide to go with a single two-row model, a single three-row model, and its existing Charger and Challenger passenger cars. The supposed timing of the next Journey backs this up. Production, sources say, isn’t expected until 2022 — around the same time the Durango’s current generation runs out.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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27 Comments on “Rumor Mill: Dodge Journey Revival Back on the Table?...”

  • avatar

    It wont be called journey, it’ll have nothing to do with journey. Think of this as an American Mercedes Benz GLC, including the AMG63 version as well. Perfect for the north east gearhead that only has one parking spot and doesn’t want a big grand cherokee or 7 passenger durango. Another hint they dropped is that it’ll be built in North America, with a tip to Canada. Make mine a 392!

  • avatar

    I would say the JCUV (aka Journey) was one of the more popular FCA vehicles on the road the last time I was in China. Not that that’s saying much.

    • 0 avatar

      I just came back from a 2-week vacation to Beijing and Chengdu and I was completely aghast at how many JCUVs I saw. It seems they only come in black, and I kept an eye on the license plates to make sure I wasn’t seeing the same one, but I counted at least 6.

      How anyone would conclude their car-buying ritual with one of those, I have absolutely no idea.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d say an old Dodge may still be competitive with many Chinese-branded products. But I’d have to think it costs more too, as an import, so why bother? White and black were the only colors I saw, but that covers about 95% of the Chinese market anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw at least six in Geneva three years ago, some marked diesel, some not.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    FCA already imports the Renegade (and 500X) from Melfi, Italy, so there’s precedent for a volume model assembled in Italy and shipped here.

    As far as this Journey, they’d almost do better to call it something else. It’s not as though they’ve built up any equity in the Journey nameplate, especially not among the customers they’d be trying to target with a RWD-based performance crossover.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry but I don’t share the hate for the Journey. Build it with only the Pentastar engine/transmission driveline from the Caravan. Sell it as a 2 row of seats only vehicle. Keep the pricing low (in line with small CUV’s from other companies) and FCA would have a vehicle that appeals to ‘value’ buyers who want something high and ‘large’ but otherwise ‘plain’.

    In my neighbourhood the Journey appears to be the favourite vehicle for the many retirees. Easy to get into and out of. Room for the kids and/or dogs. Decent visibility. Neither too big, nor too small. And for those driving less than 10,000 miles per year, with light duties only, ‘relatively’ reliable, yet affordable.

    • 0 avatar
      Thomas Kreutzer

      Absolutely this. I think FCA would do well with a “value brand” that continues selling vehicles that are one or two generations old – so long as they can meet the minimum safety requirements. A truck like this would end up in a lot of people’s driveways.

      I think we are moving away from the system of regular updates, anyhow. It’s just not sustainable over the long term. Six, seven, eight-year (and more) loans are going to drive people out of the new car showrooms eventually. The reality will hit hard when a customer brings their “old” car back in after four or five years and finds out that they are still way underwater in the loan. At that point, someone will need to take a hit – a manufacturer buying them out or the customer rolling that old debt on top of new. And even if you can convince people to continuously burn themselves on these bad deals, how will that work when the customers’ monthly payments from all those old rolled-up loans become so high that people can’t afford to switch?

      It seems to me, that once a manufacturer has a line set up and the tooling paid off, they would want to use it as long as possible. It would be like printing money. Build the older models, offer them at reasonable prices on four or five year contracts and move people through the system.

  • avatar

    The path forward seems pretty logical here, and has been trod before by Nissan and Honda. Develop one vehicle with two wheelbase lengths, put a third row in the longer-wheelbase version (only), and sell it under two different nameplates. That describes the Pilot/Passport and Pathfinder/Murano combinations to a T. Ford has also done this with the Edge in China but they don’t sell the LWB version here.

    Obviously the long one would be the next Durango. I think it would be weird to put the Journey name on the short version, though. The Journey name means “cheap three rows” at this point. It doesn’t mean two rows and it doesn’t mean performance.

  • avatar

    In it’s Q3 report, FCA announced a write down of the platform under the Giulia and Stelvio. That implies they anticipate never selling enough cars to fully amortize it, which implies no new models will use that platform.

    The cancellation of other impending Alfa models and write off of the Giulia’s platform, while investment in Maser is ramped up, implies the Alfa division will be wound down in favor of Maser.

    So, where would this rear drive platform for a purported next gen Journey come from? I can’t see anything out of a Maser decontented enough to sell at a Dodge price point.

    My suspicion is, if there are any new non-Jeep SUVs offered, they will be fake SUVs using a PSA front drive only platform. Maybe a 3008 (2 row) badged as a Chrysler Journey and a 5008 (3 row) badged as a Chrysler Durango (or Aspen) to fit the Chrysler mommymobile image, rather than the Dodge pavement ripper image.

    But my bet would be no non-Jeep SUVs at all, so the FCA sources are yanking us, as they have for years.

    • 0 avatar

      I am sorry but how did you somehow figure they’d just pack up their 3 billion dollar platform and never use it again from that report? Oh its going to be used alright, grand cherokee, this vehicle, charger, challenger, possibly the next gen cherokee and every maserati as well. Alfa failed to make them their money back so the other brands will.

  • avatar

    I gave up understanding the rational behind FCA product decisions – seems random to me like depended on what dreams Sergio had last night. Totally expected from heir of Roman Emperors. In any other company if they spend money on some platform they make it flexible and utilize it for as many models/brands as possible.E.g. VW and even Ford. Or GM, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Volvo, Nissan, MB, BMW, and list goes on and on.

  • avatar

    The Dodge website tells me a base model is eighteen grand after rebate. Outdated or not, that’s a lot of brand-new vehicle for a really low price.

    • 0 avatar

      That the Journey is “outdated” is a virtue. Proven design, wide ranging parts availability, ease of finding service, time tested mechanicals. I’m sure Chrysler has worked the bugs out of that 4 speed automatic by now. If not they’re cheap in the rebuilt market. Perfect vehicle for buying and driving till the wheels fall off.

      Add in the fact that arm chair internet experts and the knee jerk Chrysler = POS crowd hates the Journey adds value to me rather than detracts from it.

      $17995 @ Larry H Miller Dodge here in Tucson.

  • avatar

    “is it sensible to offer both a Journey and Durango”

    Evidently we need midsize, large compact, compact, sub-compact, and sub-sub-sub compact in the fake SUV space so why not?

  • avatar

    The fact that two of the biggest sellers are the RAV4 and CR-V and Dodge or Chrysler don’t have a competitive CUV in this class is mind boggling. A decent product in that class prints money for the manufacturer.

  • avatar

    We shouldn’t have any articles about future FCA products unless there is a spy photo of a prototype attached. Too much vaporware in FCA’s 5 year plans.

  • avatar

    Swap in Pentastar and 6-speed auto and keep selling it forever. Who wouldn’t want a usefully big car with a Pentastar for the price of a tiny Hyundai?

    • 0 avatar

      Sounds like the Pentastar is being replaced with an inline 6 but you couls sell them all day long until that actually takes place. We saw one tank on the rental Pacifica get better than 33mpg on a long highway stretch. The Journey should do as well or better.

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