2018 Journey New Car Test Drive
Introduced as a 2009 model, the Dodge Journey midsize crossover SUV gets a simplified lineup for the 2018 model year. Still appealing to budget-minded families, the 2018 Journey comes with seven-passenger seating. Journey Crossroad models now ride on 19-inch Black Noise aluminum wheels. The optional Blacktop Package is now available on the 2018 Journey SE, as well as SXT and GT versions.
Four value-focused trim levels are offered: SE, SXT, Crossroad, and GT. Front-wheel-drive versions except the GT come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel-drive models get a 3.6-liter V6 that develops 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. It's optional on front-wheel-drive models and standard on GTs.
Every four-cylinder Journey uses a 4-speed automatic transmission, at a time when competitors have turned to transmissions with several more gear ratios (though many have refinement issues with 8- and 9-speed automatics). That's just one of the ways in which the model is clearly behind the times. Fortunately, a 6-speed automatic mates with the V6 engine.
The Crossroad edition, in particular, retains some rugged design features, suggesting off-road potential. In reality, that model is no more capable of off-pavement driving than its mates.
Journey's appeal as a family vehicle is diminished by crash-test scores, as well as a lack of modern, high-tech safety equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Journey a five-star rating in its side-impact crash test, but only four stars overall and for the frontal-impact collision. Rollover prevention also is rated four stars, but that's typical of relatively tall vehicles. The 2018 Journey has been given only a partial crash-test score by the federal government: four stars for frontal impact and rollover. Partial crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety yielded Good scores on side-impact and moderate-overlap frontal tests, but the small-overlaps frontal test for the driver's side earned a Poor score. Headlights also were rated Poor.
As for safety features, only the Crossover and GT trim levels can be equipped with a rearview camera, and it's part of a Driver Confidence Group. Even comparatively common safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, are not available at all. Neither are adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.
The Journey was not a class-leading product when it was introduced as a 2009 model, and now it's a dated product. Look for deals on these.
Journey SE ($22,495) has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, power windows and locks, 4.3-inch touchscreen audio with USB, three-row seating, and 17-inch steel wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.) Journey AWD SE ($26,895) has the V6 engine and all-wheel drive.
Journey SXT ($25,695) adds appearance upgrades, foglamps, alloy wheels, and body-color mirrors. A greater number of options are available. AWD SXT ($29,195) has the V6 engine and all-wheel drive.
Journey Crossroad ($27,895) comes with leather/mesh seat upholstery, an 8.4-inch infotainment system, Bluetooth, unpainted cladding, and 19-inch alloy wheels. Options include navigation and rear-seat entertainment. AWD Crossroad ($31,395) gets the V6 engine and all-wheel drive.
Journey GT ($32,495) has a stiffer suspension, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and comes standard with the V6. A trailer-tow package is optional only for GT. AWD GT ($34,395) gets all-wheel drive.
The Blacktop Package, available on all except Crossroad trim, includes black roof rails, black mirrors and grille, and 17-inch alloy wheels (19-inch on SXT and GT).