2016 Dodge Journey is an all encompassing AWD crossover

Journey‘s back end takes on an SUV look although it’s realistically a crossover

While it hasn’t undergone an update since 2011, the 2016 Dodge Journey crossover doesn’t really need one. Since it’s debut in 2009, Journey remains an all encompassing wagon if you will, since it’s family oriented and essentially replaces a minivan for folks who don’t want a van.

With seating for seven via a third-row seat, the second row offers a pair of built-in (and optional) children’s booster seats. This in itself is a nice convenience in that it eliminates the need for the removable seat that’s needed when a child outgrows an infant seat.

Journey is offered in five and seven passenger configurations and in five trim levels of SE, SXT, Crossroad, Crossroad Plus and sporty R/T. We tested the Crossroad Plus AWD model and with it comes 19-inch wheels, black and chrome trim, leather trim, fold-flat front passenger seat with a nifty hidden under seat storage bin, 8.4-inch touchscreen UConnect audio connectivity and much more.

Powered by a 3.6-liter V6, this proven powerplant produces 283-hp and 260 lb/ft of torque. Under full throttle acceleration runs, the V6 feels like a small V8. But the vehicles’ 4,410-pound curb weight can be felt. When this hefty crossover is matched with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, EPA estimated fuel economy gets a 16 city, 24-highway mpg rating. Not exactly a fuel miser, but it does possess a respectable 2,500-pound tow capacity. Dodge does offer a 2.4L 173-hp four cylinder that is more economical, but it’s only offered on FWD models. And it would seem to make this crossover underpowered.

Dodge did a nice design job on the interior. Quality materials are used throughout the pleasing cabin and the heavily padded leather and cloth seats are comfy and supportive. The front passenger seat folds flat allowing lengthy items to be carried through the cargo area. Plus, the front passenger under seat storage bin is really a nifty entity.

The entire cabin is highlighted by a huge 8.4-inch touchscreen display that is the easiest and most intuitive on the market to operate. It combines GPS nav (that also displays on a smaller screen between the speedometer and tach), rearview camera and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. This compliments traditional HVAC controls that don’t require consulting the owners’ manual to use. And Journey is one of the last vehicles of it kind to still offer an in-dash CD player. However, it did lack the latest safety features as blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, two items that are being offered as standard in most 2016 vehicles.

Rear seat step-in is a comfy 20-inches while legroom is adequate provided the front seats aren’t racked too far rearward. The third row seats are easily accessed as the second row seats slide well forward. But they’re mainly for kids as legroom is scant.

With the third row seats upright, the cargo area measures 35 inches deep, 42.5 wide and 28 high. Flip them and depth extends to 42 inches. And when flipping the 60/40 second row, depth reaches to 75 inches for a generous 67.6 cubic feet of total cargo space.

Ride quality is smooth and quiet. Handling shows its heft in that when taking a sharp turn at speed (like during a wide cloverleaf), there is some noticeable body lean that is compounded by slow steering response. But overall, Journey would make a commendable wagon for a family summer trip to Disney in Orlando.

Price wise, and for a vehicle of this size and capacity, Journey is reasonably priced. With a very long list of standard items and features, the options list had such notables as the Crossover Equipment Group ($1,100) containing the 8.4-inch display, leather, the passenger fold flat seat with hidden bin; Popular Equipment Group ($1,250) with heated front seats and steering wheel, remote start; Nav and Backup Camera Group, that included Garmin nav, Sirius Traffic/Travel Link and ParkSense rear park assist, Second Row 2-child boosters seats ($225) al of which added to the base price of $29,595 for a bottom-line of $34,360 with delivery.

Journey received four out of five stars for frontal impact protection in government crash testing. And in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the wagon received its “Good” score in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength. Plus, it received a “Good” for seat and head restraint and whiplash protection in rear end impacts. Unfortunately, it received a “Poor” rating in the agency’s small-overlap frontal-offset impact test.

Overall, Journey is a sporty looking crossover that has its high and low points. With the highs outnumbering the lows.

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