The Dodge Journey gets a minor facelift for 2014, some significant feature upgrades and a trim change in the model lineup. The result is a slightly more refined version of this midsize SUV crossover that is a capable and comfortable people-carrying machine.
Dodge replaces the mid-level "Crew" trim line with a "Limited" model for 2014; Journey SXT and Limited models get new option packages with up to $1,345 in added value; and SiriusXM Radio is now available on all trims.
Chrysler says its Dodge Journey is the only crossover in the segment to offer the choice of four- or six-cylinder engines; five- or seven-passenger seating; front or all-wheel drive; best-in-class 283 horsepower (on SXT, Limited and R/T trims) and up to 26 miles per gallon (with the 4-cylinder engine); 25 mpg with the V6 and 24 mpg in AWD.
Journey is the most versatile crossover in its class, with in-seat storage and in-floor storage bins. Named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for five years running, the 2014 Journey is priced from $19,435 to $30,795.
The Dodge Journey stands in contrast to the curvaceous, even elegant proportions of many competitors in this set, with its brawny look that supports its slightly trucky DNA. The front end is boxy, with a big cross-hatched grille and trapezoidal headlamps that stretch back toward broad shoulders and wide side panels undisturbed by waist-whittling character lines. The rear liftback sits high off the road, and the vehicle rides on 17-inch wheels (19-inchers are available or come on higher end trim models).
Slipping inside, we see the cabin is well-appointed; the one-piece, soft-touch instrument panel is of note, as is the remarkably comfortable cabin that can seat up to seven passengers. A dual-dash silencer designed to mitigate noise and vibrations helps make the interior particularly quiet, while standard cloth bucket seats are big and supportive; leather comes on higher trims.
A large storage bin in front serves as a catch-all for gadgets, coupon organizers, hair accessories and sunglasses, corralling everything with side nets. A second storage bin is concealed under center console armrests, and has a 12-volt powerpoint and USB port for MP3/iPod connectivity.
The in-dash information center has a full-color display and is positioned in front of the driver; the steering wheel comes with integrated audio and cruise controls. A 4.3-inch touchscreen audio system is standard, as are dual-zone climate control and keyless entry with pushbutton start.
Unique in its class, Journey offers third row seats as an option on all trim levels; both second and third rows fold flat for storage, and all Journeys have removable storage bins built into the floor ahead of the second row seats, which also recline and can be ordered with integrated child seats.
Journey comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 173 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque that is matched to a four-speed automatic transmission. Higher-end models get a more muscular 3.6-liter V-6 that delivers 283 horses and 260 lb.-ft. of torque; the bigger engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission; it was recognized as one of Ward's "10 Best Engines" for three years in a row.
Front-wheel drive is standard on all models, while all-wheel drive is available as an option on Journeys equipped with the V-6.
We drove the top-of-the-line 2014 Dodge Journey R/T on Chrysler's Proving Grounds, in Chelsea, Mich. The R/T edition makes the Journey a great dual-purpose crossover that can be driven in a mannered way for around town and with-the-family motoring, or you can take it on the highway and push the throttle and find a spirited response -- there is great power, torque-on-tap, more firm and precise steering, and a high-performance suspension make it exuberant-to-drive, especially with is smooth-shifting, six-speed auto transmission that takes care of upshifts in a seamless fashion and competently calibrates down-shifting and engine braking, when slowing with briskness.
The sporty R/T comes with the V-6 motor. Dimpled leather seats and heated steering wheel have red accent stitching, while the monochromatic exterior and 19-inch satin carbon aluminum wheels evoke an aftermarket body shop look. A six-speaker 368-watt sound system with subwoofer is standard; a few options including black side roof rails are available.
Copyright © 2013 Motor Matters
|Base price||$28,995 (as tested: $29,990)|
|Curb weight||4,054 lbs.|
|Epa mileage rating||17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway|
|Fuel capacity||21.1 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||283 at 6350 rpm|
|Motor type||24-valve V-6 w/SMPI|
|Overall length||192.4 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||260 at 440 rpm|
|Vehicle type||7-passenger FWD SUV|
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