2009 Dodge Journey R/T – Click above for high-res image gallery The 2009 Dodge Journey carries the size and shape of a typical crossover, and it has seating for seven and all the amenities you could possibly ask for at $30,000. On paper, the Journey has a plenty of things in its favor, yet we had our doubts. First off, it looks a lot like the Dodge Caravan, which works against the Journey when considering that many crossover buyers want to avoid the minivan stigma. It's also based on the less than impressive Chrysler Sebring platform, which we have found to be just awful. Then there is Chrysler's corporate 3.5L engine, which is less powerful, refined and efficient than similarly sized engines from its competition. Chrysler's recent track record for vehicles that are less than class competitive also lent support to our notion that the Journey might be a letdown. Regardless, we tried to clear our minds of these things when the Journey arrived for a week-long stay in the Autoblog Garage. Hit the jump to see how Chrysler's new crossover fared. %Gallery-30352% All photos Copyright ©2008 Chris Shunk / Weblogs, Inc. Our well equipped Journey R/T FWD finished in Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat Dodge came equipped with a sunroof, leather seating surfaces, a navigation system, second row DVD screen, and MyGig multimedia system among its many options. We basically got the "works" package, which tipped the price up considerably from the $26,785 base price of the Journey R/T to $32,375. On the outside, the Journey has clean, straight lines and an athletic stance. The design also holds true to the main design themes of Chrysler's crosshair division. Our R/T model came equipped with large 19-inch chrome wheels that are shaded by the vehicle's bulging wheel arches. The minimalist corporate crosshair grille helps keep things simple up front, yet doesn't help the Journey make a memorable impression in the very crowded CUV segment. True story: on two occasions we walked right by the Journey while trying to find it in a parking lot. That doesn't happen when you're driving Nissan's new Murano, for instance. Chrysler has struggled with interiors over the past several years, and the Auburn Hills-based automaker worked hard to get things right with the Journey. Materials are considerably better than they are in the Dodge Avenger, for example, with soft-touch surfaces on the dash and a more comfortable center console. Unfortunately, the improvements over other Chrysler interiors just aren't enough. For instance, while designers provided a flat surface for the driver's left arm to rest on the window sill, it's made of hard plastic and made our arm sore. The arm right below that's built into the door has a little give to it, but it's too low for a short arm to reach. The Journey's seats are also stiff and lacking in proper thigh support for long drives. One thing Chrysler excels at is adding nifty features that make life easier for both the …
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