2012 Dodge Journey Review
By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Dodge Journey SUV fits comfortably between a full-size and compact SUV, giving it the room to hold up to seven passengers in a package that is not unruly to drive or park. Fresh from a complete overhaul last year, the 2012 Dodge Journey SUV offers families a roomy and versatile environment with cabin styling and features more commonly found in high-end luxury cars. Crew models, for example, offer a choice of colorful leather seat trim, UConnect touch-screen radio with available Garmin navigation and keyless entry and start. But perhaps the best thing about the 2012 Dodge Journey is its available V6 engine, which is not only one of the most powerful engines in its class, but also one of the most fuel-efficient.
You'll Like This Car If...
If driving a minivan flags a big red check mark on your "no can do" list, but you need the kind of room and versatility a minivan provides, the 2012 Dodge Journey might be the answer. With a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder engines, and available AWD, the Journey can take you and your family safely, comfortably and perhaps most importantly, in style wherever you need to go.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The 2012 Dodge Journey is nice vehicle, but it is not as modern or well-equipped as a Ford Explorer or GMC Acadia. Compared to a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, the 2012 Dodge Journey does not hold its resale value nearly as well.
The 2012 Dodge Journey SUV receives a revised trim line with five models: SE-AVP, SE, SXT, Crew and R/T. The new American Value Package (AVP) brings an entry-level price that makes the 2012 Dodge Journey SUV the most affordable 7-passenger midsize SUV in America. Later in the model year, the Crew and R/T will offer a rear-seat DVD entertainment package.
Driving the Journey
The 2012 Dodge Journey crossover might look like a tall SUV, but its ride and handling characteristics remind us more of driving the Dodge Avenger... sedan
. Careful attention to the 2012 Dodge Journey's suspension and steering calibrations give it a nice balance between agile cornering ability and comfortable, quiet ride. We were surprised how rapidly the Journey responded to steering inputs, and even when pushed hard into sharp turns the Journey exhibited only minor body roll and lean. With all three rows occupied, we discovered our front-seat and second-row passengers had nothing but praise for their accommodations. The third-row occupants, however, were not as kind. It was the general consensus that the Journey's third-row seat is best reserved for small children. The 2012 Dodge Journey's standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine doesn't have to strain to move a lightly loaded Journey, but for overall performance and peace of mind, we'd recommend going with the Pentastar V6. The 3.6-liter 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 2012 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 a dozen 12-ounce cans and ice – or whatever else you can put in there. The bins have locking lids and are removable for easy cleaning.
2012 Dodge Journey Details
If you're all about good design and a handsome, smart interior, we think you'll like what Dodge has done with the 2012 Journey SUV. Of the five trims, the SXT and Crew are the most flexible, with various interior color choices in rich fabrics or plush leather. Soft-touch surfaces and material cover just about any spot where you'd want to rest an arm or hand, and the properly sized 3-spoke steering wheel is fitted with redundant controls for the audio and cruise control. R/T and Crew models feature an advanced 8.4-inch touch-screen audio system featuring the Uconnect suite of communication and connectivity options. Highlights include voice-activated controls for the Bluetooth, navigation, audio and iPod, as well as "Eco-Route" guidance and song tagging. There's even a subscription option to Sirius Travel Link, which can provide updates for traffic, find the cheapest gasoline prices, plus report on sports scores, weather conditions and even movie times. On the versatility front, the 2012 Dodge Journey midsize SUV features a flush-folding third-row seat and second-row seats that can slide fore and aft (making access to the third-row seat a bit easier). Upper-level trims also have a flat-folding front seat that increases the cargo floor right up to the dashboard.
As midsize SUVs go, the 2012 Dodge Journey is on the larger side of the scale. Its tall stance and long profile give the Journey the look of a big wagon, similar to the old Chrysler Pacifica. The 2012 Dodge Journey SUV is so long, in fact, that it dwarfs the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape by nearly 10 inches. To keep the exterior from looking too family-wagonish, Dodge has dressed up the Journey with a chrome-trimmed cross-hair grille, flashy alloy wheel choices and, on V6 models, a more aggressive lower air intake. The R/T trim takes things up another notch with a monochromatic exterior, 19-inch wheels, and R/T badging.
A 2012 Dodge Journey AVP comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and 4-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, keyless entry and push-button start, second-row in-floor storage, and a rear-cargo area covered storage bin. All models feature electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), front-seat side airbags, and 3-row side-curtain airbags.
Beyond the base 2012 Dodge Journey AVP, there are four other Dodge Journey trims: SE, SXT, Crew and R/T. The SXT, Crew, and R/T have a 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. Options vary by trim and include all-wheel drive, UConnect Hands-free Communication network, leather seating surfaces, ParkView rearview camera, ParkSense parking assist, navigation, power moonroof, six premium speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, third-row seating, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, 17- and 19-inch wheels, 3-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 gasoline mileage, the 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine 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 6-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 @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26
283 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (FWD), 13/18 (FWD, E85)
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