KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Based on the same D-segment platform as the Avenger, the 2009 Dodge Journey is a new crossover utility vehicle that fits in between the compact Caliber and family-hauling Grand Caravan. The Journey provides the utility of an SUV, the passenger capacity of a minivan, the driving characteristics of a car and has a multitude of storage bins and spaces. Making its debut into the crossover marketplace, the Journey compares favorably with the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota RAV4, and it's especially ideal for those with families, or those looking to start new families, as it offers different trim levels with a choice of seating configurations and amenities that should suit a variety of needs and budgets.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for minivan utility and storage space, without the minivan look, the Journey is a viable option. With its available third-row seating, it offers more room than the Ford Escape and Chevy Equinox.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Dodge Journey lacks in interior quality compared to other cars in its class. The dashboard and paneling and available leather seating are not the Journey's strong points.
What's Significant About This Car?
According to Dodge, the all-new Journey is a "right-sized" crossover, which fills the needs of young singles or families with children with its available seven-passenger capacity and many storage solutions for numerous types of cargo, big or small.
The 2009 Dodge Journey indeed drives like a car, but with the comfort and space of an SUV. On our test drive its tall ride height didn't affect stability much as the suspension had a good amount of firmness to handle corners but was still comfortable, as compared to the rugged stiffness of the Ford Escape. The four-cylinder engine was peppy and had enough power to get us up moderate inclines, but the V6 seemed to be a better fit, although not as powerful as the V6 in the Toyota RAV4. We also appreciated all the convenient storage spaces. The Chill Zone beverage cooler above the glove box kept drinks cold surprisingly well, and the second-row in-floor bins, that were holding snacks, didn't leak a single drop of melted ice-water during a two-hour drive along bumpy back roads.
Flip 'n Stow Storage
The front passenger-seat cushion flips forward to expose a big storage bin that can hide valuables from prying eyes, or just keep things in place.
In-Floor Storage Bins
Behind the front seats are two bins in the floor that can accommodate up to twelve 12-ounce cans and ice -- or whatever else you can put in there. The bins have locking lids and are removable for easy cleaning.
The spacious cabin of the Dodge Journey is lined with soft-skin paneling and chrome trim accents, is available with cloth, YES essentials stain-resistant fabric or two-toned leather seating and can accommodate up to seven occupants, depending upon the trim level. The front passenger seat, second and third rows fold flat for nine feet of load capacity, and in-floor storage bins are located in the second row and rear cargo areas. Other convenient features include the available Flip 'n Stow compartment in the front passenger seat and the Tilt 'n Slide feature, with which the second-row seats fold upward and slide forward to allow third-row access.
For a crossover, the Dodge Journey is fairly large, with a wheelbase almost ten inches longer than those of the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, which allows for more cargo and third-row room. The Journey has an aggressive look, with its sculpted wheel arches and angled beltline giving it a sportier, SUV-like appearance. The front of the Journey exudes muscularity, with a signature Dodge crosshair chrome grille and Ram's-head stamp in between quad-halogen headlamps and available fog lamps. To finish off the look, the composite lightweight rear liftgate has an integrated spoiler that provides form and function, improving the Journey's aerodynamics.
Notable Standard Equipment
A base 2009 Dodge Journey comes with a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine with a four-speed automatic transmission, four wheel anti-lock disc brakes, power steering, power windows, power locks, air conditioning, Chill Zone beverage storage, AM/FM radio with a six-disc CD changer and six speakers, second-row in-floor storage and a rear-cargo area covered storage bin. Standard safety features include dual front and side airbags, side-curtain airbags in all rows, Electronic Stability Program and Electronic Roll Mitigation.
Notable Optional Equipment
Available options for the Dodge Journey are a MyGIG infotainment system, UConnect Hands-free Communication, ParkView rear back-up camera, navigation, rear-seat eight-inch screen, wireless headphones and video remote control, six premium speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, third-row seating, Tilt 'n Slide second-row seats, Flip 'n Stow compartment, automatic temperature control and heated front seats. These options are made available by opting for certain packages.
Under the Hood
Engineered for commuting and good gas mileage, the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder provides a sufficient amount of power for the weight of this crossover, but the potent 3.5-liter V6 does the job even better. The 2.4-liter is fit outfitted with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.5-liter has a six-speed.
2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/25
235 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
232 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (FWD), 16/22 (AWD)
The 2009 Dodge Journey's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $20,000, while the SXT trim with a V6 engine approaches the $23,000 mark. The more loaded R/T trim starts at around $27,000 and adding four-wheel drive bumps the price to just over $28,000. Before you buy, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Prices to see what the Journey is typically selling for in your area. The Dodge Journey is expected to hold residual values that are higher than those for the Chevrolet Equinox, stay on par with those of the Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe but remain lower than those for the Toyota RAV4.