2015 Journey New Car Test Drive
Dodge Journey is a midsize sport-utility that combines the smoother ride and better fuel economy of a car with the cargo space and roominess of an SUV. Journey seats five or seven, depending on options. Prices are appealing, too. Chrysler has claimed the Dodge Journey to be the most affordable seven-seat crossover sold in the U.S.
Not much has changed for 2015, except that the available SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link now includes five years of free service. The Journey Crossroad model, introduced for 2014 with mesh-insert leather seats and 19-inch black aluminum wheels, continues into the 2015 model year. So does the Limited model, as well as the SE V6 edition with all-wheel drive, which debuted during the 2014 season. Journey first appeared as a 2009 model.
Dodge Journey offers plenty of choices: four or six cylinders, five or seven seats, basic trim or full-lux leather. Like most crossovers, it comes with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, which adds confidence in bad weather. Journey is considered a crossover vehicle because it uses a lightweight unit-body structure similar to that used by cars, instead of a body-on-frame truck chassis.
Up-level models are powered by the same modern 3.6-liter V6 that's become ubiquitous in Chrysler Group vehicles. It has plenty of power but is ill-matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, making it feel less powerful than it actually is. The V6 produces 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm, 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm.
Standard Journey motivation comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine of 173 horsepower. We found the four-cylinder engine rough and noisy, with too little power for a vehicle of this size.
Inside is where the Journey shines. Its interior design and materials give it one of the nicest cockpits in the class. Seating for five is standard, 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 ample versatility for 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 that owners should 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 CD player standard and offers a rear DVD entertainment system and a hard-drive radio.
Journey R/T models come with perforated leather seats, a dimpled leather heated steering wheel and dimpled shift knob, red accent stitching on the steering wheel and a performance suspension for even more responsive handling.
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's easy to boost the Journey past $30,000.
The 2015 Dodge Journey is offered in six trim levels: AVP (American Value Package), SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited, and R/T. The AVP is only available with front-wheel drive and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 4-speed automatic transmission. The 3.6-liter V6 and 6-speed automatic are standard in Limited and R/T. SE, SXT and Crossroad models can be ordered with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and with the four-cylinder or V6 engine. As with many crossover vehicles, a dizzying array of options is available.
All models provide seating for five in their standard configuration, or for seven with the optional Flexible Seating Group ($1,500 or $1,700) which adds not only a 50/50 folding and reclining third seat, but a 60/40 tilt-and-slide second seat, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a cargo compartment cover.
Journey AVP ($20,295) comes with cloth upholstery; cruise control; dual-zone manual air conditioning with air filtering; tinted glass; Uconnect 4.3 with AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, and 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; headlights with time-delay off; a grille with bright accents; and P225/65R17 all-season touring tires on steel wheels.
Journey SE ($23,395) and SE AWD ($27,295) adds deep-tint sunscreen glass, black side roof rails, and LED taillamps. Also standard are cloth upholstery; cruise control; dual-zone manual air conditioning with air filtering; tinted glass; Uconnect 4.3 AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA stereo with six speakers, 4.3-inch touchscreen, auxiliary input jack, and 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; headlights with time-delay off; a grille with bright accents; LED taillamps; and P225/65R17 all-season touring tires on steel wheels. With AWD, the otherwise-optional 17-inch aluminum wheels are included at no extra charge.
Journey SXT ($25,695) adds SiriusXM satellite radio (with one-year subscription), floor mats, fog lamps, cargo cover and net, and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Mirrors are body color rather than black, and the front fascia is more elaborate. The front-drive SXT can be ordered with the V6 ($1,700). Journey SXT AWD ($29,195) comes standard with the V6, which also gets bright dual exhaust tips, a performance-tuned suspension and a slightly larger fuel tank.
Journey SXT Plus ($26,395) and SXT Plus AWD ($29,895) add an option group that includes Uconnect voice-command with Bluetooth and 8.4-inch touchscreen, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power six-way driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, fold-flat front passenger seat with in-cushion storage, dual-zone automatic climate control, and additional features.
Journey Crossroad ($26,595) and Crossroad AWD ($29,995) include leather seat upholstery with sport mesh inserts, unique front/rear fascias with chrome accents, chrome side sills and roof rails, Uconnect 8.4 with SiriusXM satellite radio and CD/DVD player, 19-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels, and additional items that are included in the SXT Plus package.
Journey Limited ($30,895) and Limited AWD ($32,795) upgrade further with the V6 engine as standard; fully automatic halogen headlamps; dual-zone automatic climate control; premium leather seat upholstery with headed steering wheel and seats; Uconnect 8.4 with 8.4-in. touchscreen, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM radio, CD/DVD player, MP3/WMA/AAC, audio input jack, remote USB port and SD card slot; six-way power driver's seat with four-way lumbar support; fold-flat front passenger seat with in-seat storage; leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls; illuminated vanity mirrors; one-touch control for power windows; 115-volt power outlet; and 225/55R19 all-season touring tires on 19-inch Tech Silver aluminum wheels. Door handles, exhaust tips, and roof rails are all chromed.
Journey R/T ($30,895) and R/T AWD ($32,795) are the sporty models. They add firm-feel power steering; high-performance suspension; heated front seats; dimpled black leather upholstery with red stitching; dimple-leather wrap for the steering wheel with matching red stitching; INFINITI 368-watt premium sound; and 19-inch alloy wheels finished in Satin Carbon. Door handles revert to body color, matching the body color trim in the grille; and roof rails revert to optional status ($125).
Options include the Blacktop Package ($395) for SXT, including 19-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, black grille and headlamp bezels, black outside mirrors, and touring suspension. The Sun and Sound Group ($795 or $995) for SXT includes six premium speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, as well as a sunroof. A Navigation/Backup Camera Group ($995 or $1,395) for SXT and up includes Garmin navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio with Travel Link, tri-zone automatic climate control, universal garage door opener, rear park assist, and rearview camera. Rear DVD entertainment ($795 to $1,195) comes with a 9-inch screen, remote control, and two wireless headphones. Standalone options include six premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier ($395); an engine block heater ($95), sunroof ($975), integrated second-row child safety seats ($225), and a Trailer Tow Group ($145) with an engine oil cooler and a four-pin connector. Many more options are available, and the model you order (and the combination of options) can affect option prices.
Safety features on all Journey models include multistage front airbags; torso-protecting, seat-mounted front side airbags; head-protecting curtain side airbags that cover all seating rows; driver's knee airbag; front-seat active head restraints; a tire-pressure monitor; traction control; electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; and Dodge's trailer sway control. Available all-wheel drive improves stability in slippery conditions.