By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 6.2
Value and versatility are two key factors that have contributed to the Dodge Journey's success in the crowded crossover SUV segment. With its sub-$21,000 starting price, the Journey stands apart from midsize SUV competitors such as the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander as the value leader, yet still offers nifty cargo features and seating for up to seven. When dressed in pricier, high-end forms with a V6 engine, the 2015 Journey competes especially well with those rivals yet still boasts a solid value proposition. In lower-end trims it offers a lot of vehicle for the money, but trade-offs include a rather meager 4-cylinder engine, an outdated transmission and lack of standard features such as Bluetooth connectivity.
If you want a new SUV that seats up to seven but you don't want to spend a lot of money, the Dodge Journey could be for you. If you can swing a few thousand more for a higher trim, a V6 Journey with Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system is especially appealing.
A 3-row Journey seats up to seven, but not as comfortably as something larger like a Chevy Traverse. And while a base Journey's price is appealing, its 4-cylinder engine and 4-speed transmission are not. The Sorento features a fresher base powertrain, while it and the Mitsubishi Outlander have longer warranties.
KBB Expert Ratings
2015 brings only minor changes for the Dodge Journey. Among them are two new exterior colors (Billet Silver Metallic and Blue Streak Pearl), and the available SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link now include five years of free service.
If you're moving up from an older, truck-based SUV, you'll be pleased to know that modern crossover SUVs such as the Journey are more comfortable and refined on the road,...
... much like a tall-riding station wagon. Essentially, that's what the Journey is. Its suspension has the compliance to deal with all sorts of bumps and bad pavement, yet on mountain roads it has a level of firmness and control that keeps the Journey cornering securely with a minimum of bobbing and weaving. The standard, 173-horsepower 4-cylinder engine is only adequate to power the 2015 Journey. A far better option is the Pentastar V6, which has over 100 additional horsepower and nearly the same highway fuel economy. That bigger and better engine is also linked to a newer 6-speed automatic transmission. The Journey's driver seating position is comfortable, and the standard push-button ignition is a nice touch – no more turning keys!
The Dodge Journey has special ways of holding and swallowing cargo. Yes, the rear seats flip and fold flat as in other SUVs, but unique to this crossover SUV is its available fold-flat front-passenger seat that accommodates larger items. Additionally, it has a hidden storage compartment under the seat cushion.
3.6-LITER PENTASTAR V6 ENGINE
Smooth and responsive, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine cranks out 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and is its own best reason for choosing it for the Journey. It’s matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and doesn’t “hunt” for gears in uneven terrain.
The Journey's cabin is available in a 2-row, 5-passenger layout or as a 3-row, 7-passenger configuration. We've mentioned some of the appealing cargo-carrying functions of Dodge's crossover SUV (see Favorite Features). Passenger space for adults is commendable up front and good in the second row, but legroom is very tight in the third row, which is best left for kids or occasional use. One of the best features of the Journey is its available Uconnect infotainment system. In addition to a large and easy-to-use 8.4-inch touch screen centered in the dash, there are supplementary buttons for climate and audio that are simple to see and use.
Is it a sport-utility vehicle or the reincarnation of a station wagon? With the 2015 Dodge Journey, its 192.4-inch length exceeds much of the competition, but Dodge's designers have given it exterior treatments such as the chrome-trimmed cross-hair grille and eye-catching aluminum-alloy wheel choices that keep it from being merely bland. If a more stylish look is important, opt for the R/T version, with its 19-inch wheels, monochromatic treatment and distinctive R/T labels. For a tougher-looking version, there's the Dodge Journey Crossroad, which features a faux skidplate, standard roof rails and blacked-out wheels.
The 2015 Dodge Journey is available in a half-dozen trims, from the base American Value Package (AVP) to the top-line R/T. At its most basic, the 2015 Journey includes dual-zone climate control, 4.3-inch touch-screen media center, keyless entry and push-button start, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and power windows and door locks. Entertainment is provided by a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with auxiliary and USB inputs, but no Bluetooth streaming as standard. Safety features include electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags and side-curtain airbags for all rows.
Plenty of options can be had on the 2015 Journey. Among the more popular are 3-row seating (Flexible Seating Group), traction-enhancing all-wheel drive in lieu of the standard front-drive setup, an 8.4-inch touch-screen Uconnect infotainment system and navigation. Amenities that bring an upscale feel include leather seating, Infinity speakers, rear-seat video entertainment system with 9-inch screen and two wireless headphones, in-car Wi-Fi hot spot, and heated front seats and heated steering wheel. A Driver Convenience Group adds a rearview camera and distance-alert function when in reverse, but more advanced safety functions like blind-spot monitoring and automatic braking are not available.
Two engines are available for the 2015 Dodge Journey. Standard on lower trims is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes an only-adequate 173 horsepower. The engine we recommend is the 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that is optional on all but base Dodge Journeys and standard in higher trims. The V6 is also your only choice if you require all-wheel drive (AWD) instead of the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) to deal with inclement weather and slippery roads. Both engines run on regular unleaded gasoline. All Dodge Journeys use automatic transmissions, with the 4-cylinder stuck with an older-style 4-speed and the 6-cylinder using a newer 6-speed. The Journey's towing capacity is on the light end, limited to 1,000 pounds with the 4-cylinder and 2,500 with the V6.
173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
166 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg
283 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 mpg (FWD), 16/24 mpg (AWD)
The 2015 Dodge Journey has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $21,000, including destination charge. Better-equipped mid-level versions of the Journey such as the SXT and Crossroad are in the mid-$20,000 range, while a top-line R/T version with options reaches the mid-$30,000 level. At its base price, the Dodge Journey AVP remains the lowest-priced midsize SUV, and even after climbing trims is a good value among midsize SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento. The Mitsubishi Outlander, which comes standard with seating for seven, is also a value leader among 3-row SUVs, but is smaller than the Journey. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Journey SUV. In the years ahead, the Journey's residual value is expected to be average, still lagging the Toyota Highlander.