The Dodge Journey of yesteryear was rather ho-hum, a sleeper on four wheels, sluggish, you didn’t even have to close your eyes to not notice it. Times have changed and the latest incarnation of the 2012 Dodge Journey is a real eye-opener, a crossover SUV that would make any family proud to own.
The Journey has gotten kind of lost in the fray of compact/tween utes. The spotlight has instead been turned on such competitors as the Honda CR-V, Kia Sorento and Chevy Equinox. Even though the little elves at Dodge went to work at improving the up to 7-passenger ride, it somehow still manages to not elbow out the others who are more prominent on the scene.
More so reminiscent of a station wagon with bits of sport-ute cues, the Journey has a strong stance and aggressive look, flared fenders, lower bumper styling and crosshair grille, an overall design feel that is appealing.
The Journey’s former five-and-dime cabin is a thing of the past! The interior of the Journey is now modern and ultra neat all around. The fit and finish is absolutely noteworthy and the materials used, appear to be made from higher quality sources. A nicely sculpted dash, fuss-free controls, artsy metallic trim touches, a Uconnect touchscreen interface (available in 4.3 or 8.4 screen sizes on most models) that you can clearly see and an Alpine premium six-speaker sound system, makes you want to not leave the Journey’s cabin.
Families will love the storage areas in the Journey. There is a hideaway bin under the passenger seat cushion that is so ideal for hiding purses (it comes as part of the American Value package option) and an under the second-row floor storage bin as well. Even though the vehicle offers a total capacity of 68 cubic feet with all rear seats folded, the space is actually smaller than what its competitors are offering.
The seating in the Journey is by far one of the MOST comfortable of all of the vehicles I’ve tested thus far! The seats really support every inch of you, padded and then some. No elbow ouch on either the driver’s side or the center armrests, the folks at Dodge have certainly covered body cushioning to a fare-thee-well! Mom and dads with young tots will appreciate the optional integrated second-row child booster seat. Third-row seating, for comfort’s sake, is kid but certainly not adult-friendly.
Another great comfort factor worth mentioning is the easy entrance/exit of the vehicle which is a godsend for older folks and for those, who have back issues and can’t contort every which way to get in and out of their car.
There are four models to choose from the AVP (base), SE, SXT, Crew and R/T (top). If you want to cruise down the highway with a smile on your face, opt for the 3.6 liter, V6 SXT or Crew. Both models crank out 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, more than enough get-up for the average Joe or Josephina with their 2.5 kids in tow. Six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional.
The driving dynamics of the Journey was a pleasurable and confident one. The ride is cushiony, the acceleration does not frustrate, providing plenty of oomph when needed. The steering was easy-breezy, braking was responsive and the cabin is hushed so that you can enjoy the melodious sounds of music being pumped from the vehicle’s great Alpine system.
What’s not so great is the Journey’s fuel economy which is kind of a disappointment. I averaged 21 mpg on a good day (V6 engine). So if you’re truly into pinching quarters at the pump, you can always opt for the 2.4 liter, 173 horsepower model which offers an EPA rating of 26 mpg hwy. But the weaker engine will not make you a happy camper as you’re trying to beat out someone for a parking space and you need to give the vehicle some gas pronto.
Safety-wise, all of the Journey models are equipped with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front and side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Four out of five stars is what the feds gave the Journey for overall crash protection. It passed the Insurance Institute’s for Highway Safety’s test with flying colors (good) in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests.
Hands-down, the 2012 Dodge Journey is a sound buy, a real family hauler with lots to offer. It’s a one-size fits all vehicle and a value to boot. Prices start at $18,995.
Still want more info? www.Dodge.com/Journey
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