KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 4/4/2011
As part of Chrysler Corporation's massive full-line overhaul, the 2011 Dodge Journey has been given a thorough makeover that breathes new life (and respectability) into a vehicle many critics had given up for dead. Like so many Chrysler products of late, the original Dodge Journey was a well thought-out design that suffered from poor execution. Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, however, Dodge engineers looked to repair the Journey's weakest links, namely its suspension, interior and engine. In all three areas, the Dodge boys have hit a home run, creating a comfortable, quiet and well-built crossover with all the flair and sportiness we've come to expect from the brand.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a vehicle with three-row seating, but a minivan is definitely out of the question, check out the 2011 Dodge Journey. The Journey has a large and versatile interior, and offers high-tech audio, navigation and connectivity features rarely found in this segment.
You May Not Like This Car If...
Although the 2011 Dodge Journey has been completely overhauled, those looking for a well-established vehicle with equally well-established reliability and resale ratings should probably look to the Toyota Highlander, Honda CR-V, or even the new Ford Explorer.
What's Significant About This Car?
The 2011 Dodge Journey receives a new 283-horsepower V6 engine, a completely retuned suspension and steering setup, a gorgeous new interior, and an abundance of high-tech communication and connectivity features.
The 2011 Dodge Journey doesn't drive like a tall SUV. In fact, it doesn't drive like any SUV or crossover we've been in lately. The new suspension and steering tuning create a car-like ride that is comparable to some sport sedans. Turn-in is rapid, the steering responsive and body roll and lean are kept well in check. Remarkably, the same stiff suspension that allows for such good handling also returns a smooth and comfortable ride, even over harsh and uneven pavement. We placed people in all three rows for an extended period of time and found that front seat and second-row passengers had nothing but praise for their accommodations. The third-row occupants, however, were not as kind. They roundly agreed that the Journey's rear-most seat is best suited for children, and not for any great length of time. While the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine doesn't have to strain to move a lightly loaded Journey, Dodge was wise to make its Pentastar V6 standard in all but the base trim. This new Pentastar is one of the best V6 engines ever produced by Dodge, and may even rank as one of the best V6 engines of all time. From its abundant power to its excellent fuel economy, we found the 3.6-liter to be a real gem.
Flip 'n Stow Storage
The 2011 Dodge Journey's 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.
Comparing last year's interior to the one found in the 2011 Dodge Journey is like comparing night and day. The new interior is every bit as versatile as before, with a flush-folding third-row seat, Tilt 'n Slide second-row seating, and flat-folding front passenger seat. There's also loads of hidden storage space, including storage bins located under the second-row seats and the available Flip 'n Stow front seat. But, it's the new interior's overall execution that has us smiling. There are now five different trims with six different interior color choices. Soft touch material covers just about every touchable surface, and a handsome new three-spoke wheel plays host to controls for the cruise and audio. On upper-end R/T, Crew and LUX trims, an advanced Uconnect suite of communication and connectivity options abound, including Bluetooth and voice activated controls for navigation, audio and iPod. There's even a subscription option to Sirius Travel Link, which can provide updates for traffic, find the cheapest gas prices, plus report on sports scores, weather conditions and even movie times.
In the world of compact crossovers, the 2011 Dodge Journey is on the larger side of the spectrum. Its long body makes the Journey look like a big station wagon. When placed side-by-side next to the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape, the Dodge Journey surpasses both by a good 10 inches. The 2011 Dodge Journey receives some new exterior styling, including a revised crosshair grille, a different lower air intake on V6 models, and a number of aggressive wheel designs that range from 16- to 19-inches in diameter. The Journey also sports new "ring of fire" LED tail lights and a less-angular rear fascia.
Notable Standard Equipment
A base 2011 Dodge Journey Express comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission, power heated side mirrors, three 12-volt outlets, a 4.3-inch touch screen AM/FM radio with a single CD player, an audio input jack and USB port, second-row in-floor storage, and a rear-cargo area covered storage bin.
Notable Optional Equipment
Beyond the base 2011 Dodge Journey Express, there are four other Dodge Journey trims: Mainstreet, Crew, R/T and LUX. All feature a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Options vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, UConnect Hands-free Communication network, leather seating surfaces, ParkView rear back-up camera, ParkSense parking assist, navigation, power moonroof, six premium speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, third-row seating, 17- and 19-inch wheels, three-zone automatic air conditioning, Tilt 'n Slide second-row seats, Flip 'n Stow compartment, and heated front seats.
Under the Hood
Engineered for commuting and good gas mileage, the 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder provides a sufficient amount of power for the weight of this crossover, but the potent 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which pumps out 283 horsepower, is really the engine you'll want. Coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, the 3.6-liter never fails to deliver power when asked, and once up to speed, requires only minimal fuel to keep the Journey cruising. The Journey's V6 is also E85 compatible.
2.4-liter in-line 4
173 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
166 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26
283 horsepower @ 6350 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (FWD), 13/18 (FWD, E85)
The base 2011 Dodge Journey Express has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $23,000. The Mainstreet starts close to $25,000, the Crew at $29,000, and a fully loaded LUX at about $35,000. All-wheel drive adds another $1,700 to the Dodge Journey's bottom line. Before you buy, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what the Journey is typically selling for in your area. The Dodge Journey is expected to hold residual values comparable to the Ford Escape and Hyundai Santa Fe, remain slightly below the Chevrolet Equinox, and fall far below the five-year values set by the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.