2012 Journey New Car Test Drive
The 2011 Dodge Journey benefits from significant upgrades. The Journey is a midsize sport-utility that offers the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car with the cargo space and roominess of an SUV. It seats five or seven, depending on model.
The 2011 Dodge Journey features a new V6 engine, a much more upscale interior, added sound deadener, and revised suspension tuning. Inside, the 2011 Journey gets Dodge's latest infotainment system, which is called UConnect Touch. Exterior styling is tweaked for 2011 as well, with new front and rear fascias, a revised grille, and LED taillights.
The Dodge Journey uses a lightweight unitbody structure similar to that used by cars instead of a body-on-frame truck chassis. It's considered a crossover vehicle because it straddles the line between car and SUV. The Journey is available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive for superior traction and confidence in bad weather.
The new V6 for the 2011 Dodge Journey is a modern 3.6-liter engine that replaces an older 3.5-liter engine. The new 3.6-liter engine has plenty of power but is ill-matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it feel less powerful than it actually is.
The 2011 Journey comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We found the four-cylinder engine is rough and noisy and offers too little power for a vehicle of this size.
Inside is where the Journey shines. The new interior design and materials give it one of the nicest cockpits in the class. It comes standard with seating for five, with a two-passenger third row optional. Either way it has useful, though not class leading, cargo space. Filling the Journey with adults won't make all your passengers happy, but the rear seat should work well for children. Seats flip and fold to provide a wide range of versatility in hauling people, cargo, or both. The Journey offers a fold-flat front passenger seat that will allow loading items up to nine feet long. It features some unique storage solutions owners will find useful. Among them: a bin under the front passenger seat, storage under the floor in the second row and behind the last row of seats, a dual glove box with Dodge's Chill Zone that cools soda cans, and all the usual cubbies up front, including a fairly deep center console. Entertainment options are plentiful, as the Journey has a six-disc CD changer standard and offers a rear DVD entertainment system and a hard-drive radio.
With prices starting around $22,000, the Journey offers affordable utility. We recommend the V6 engine, which provides that extra margin of power that many buyers will want, as well as much more refinement. Be careful when it comes to options, though, as it is easy to get the Journey over $30,000, money that can buy larger and/or more premium SUVs.
The 2011 Dodge Journey is offered in five trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, R/T, Crew, and Lux. The Express is only available with front-wheel drive and the 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission with Dodge's AutoStick manual shiftgate. The other 2011 Journey models have a new 3.6-liter V6 with 283 horsepower, fitted to a 6-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick and are offered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).
Journey Express ($22,245) comes with cloth upholstery, cruise control, air conditioning with dual-zone manual climate control, Chill Zone beverage storage bin, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, USB port, power windows, power heated exterior mirrors, power door locks, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, driver's seat height adjustment, 60/40-split-folding second-row seat, automatic-off headlights, theft-deterrent system, roof rails, and P225/70R16 all season tires on steel wheels.
Journey Mainstreet ($24,245) and Mainstreet AWD ($25,945) add leather-wrapped steering wheel, Sirius satellite radio, floor mats, rear cargo cover, and P225/65R17 tires on aluminum wheels.
Journey R/T ($28,245) and R/T AWD ($29,945) upgrade to dual-zone automatic climate control, 6-way power driver's seat, 4-way power fold-flat front passenger seat, 8.4-inch touchscreen, SD card slot, UConnect Phone wireless cell-phone link, voice recognition, outside-temperature indicator, automatic day/night rearview mirror, compass, illuminated visor mirrors, 115-volt power outlet, conversation mirror, automatic headlights, fog lights, removable/rechargeable LED flashlight, and P225/55R19 tires on aluminum wheels. It deletes the roof rails.
Journey Crew ($29,240) and Crew AWD ($30,940) add three-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, second-row 60/40 Tilt 'n Slide reclining seat, third-row 50/50 split-folding seat, and remote engine starting.
Journey Lux ($32,740) and Lux AWD ($34,440) get leather upholstery, heated front seats, rearview camera, rear park assist, Bluetooth streaming audio, pre-programmed hands-free texting, and chrome alloy wheels.
Options include the Flexible Seating Group ($995) with a third-row 50/50 folding/reclining seat, second-row 60/40 Tilt 'n Slide seat, and three-zone temperature control (including the rear). A Navigation and Sound Group ($1,695) includes six premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, Garmin navigation, 30-gigabyte hard-drive, rear park assist, rearview camera, UConnect Phone, six premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, and voice command. Rear DVD entertainment comes with the Infinity sound system ($845) and Sirius Backseat TV can be added ($525). Stand-alone options consist of an engine block heater ($95), sunroof ($845), heated front seats ($250), integrated second-row child safety seats ($225), and a Trailer Tow Group ($145) with an engine oil cooler and a four-pin connector.
Safety features on all Journey models include advanced multistage front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side air bags; head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover all seating rows; front-seat active head restraints; a tire-pressure monitor; traction control; electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; ABS with brake assist; and Dodge's trailer sway control. Available all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions.