The Dodge Journey is a great people hauler for young families.

2016 Dodge Journey Review

This SUV works for the whole family

By: Wade Thiel

Web2Carz Senior Staff Writer

Published: January 21st, 2016

We have a feeling that the Dodge Journey is a vehicle that's often overlooked, which is unfortunate because it really would make for one heck of a family SUV. The Journey seems to be more of an alternative to a minivan rather than a true SUV. It's a seven-passenger vehicle with a low price and an emphasis on practicality. That sounds like a recipe for success, but the vehicle's characteristics set it apart in ways that cause us to scratch our heads.

In many ways, the Journey fits between many vehicle segments. It doesn't have the truck-like drive of other full-sized SUVs, doesn't have the low ride height or sliding doors of a minivan and is bigger than a mid-sized crossover. All these attributes aren't bad, they set the Journey apart, but in the process of doing so they make the Journey feel like it doesn't have a true home or gang of similar competitors.

If you can forget about trying to place the Journey where it belongs and focus instead on the vehicle itself, you'll find it's actually quite impressive.

  • Exterior: SUV and minivan fusion

    Much like our overall feeling of the Journey, we found the exterior to be a quandary. At certain angles, it looks like a full-sized SUV that's ready to take on anything you can throw at it, and at other angles it looks an awful lot like a minivan. Overall though, we found the exterior of the Journey pleasing, if just a little boring.

    • Dodge's signature crosshair grille, creased hood and fog lights give it a domineering front end.
    • The vehicle's profile looks a little more minivan than we first expected.
    • The rear of the vehicle is simple yet attractive, featuring large taillights, make and model badges and not much else.

  • Interior: Outfitted for families

    The interior of the Journey is designed for a family. It feels solid like it would stand up to rambunctious children with ease. Its dash has a simple layout, with clearly marked buttons and controls. The only thing we really had to search to find were the heated seat and steering wheel controls which were accessed through the 8.4-inch touchscreen display. Otherwise, everything was optimized for ease of use.

    • Second- and third-row seats fold with ease.
    • Second-row seats have optional built child safety seats that will pop up to support children.
    • Headroom is sparse in second-row seats (likely due to the child safety seats on our test vehicle, despite the fact that they weren't popped up).
    • Little space in third-row seating, but plenty for kids.
    • Up to 67.6 cubic feet of cargo room with seats down.
    • Easy to use infotainment system with large 8.4-inch touchscreen.

  • Driving Impressions: Responsive and smooth

    Our test vehicle had the 3.6-liter V6 (Dodge also offers a 2.4-liter four-cylinder), which performed extremely well. It moves the Journey along quicker than you'd expect and the six-speed automatic transmission does a good job of routing power to the wheels (ours had AWD). Steering was responsive and tight, making it easy to maneuver the Journey around tight corners and into parking spaces.

    • Seeing out the rear of the vehicle is difficult.
    • It feels larger and longer than it really is.
    • Ride quality is a high point, with a smooth ride over bumps and minimal body roll.
    • Acceptable fuel economy for a seven-passenger SUV.

  • Final Impressions: Perfect for a young family

    The Dodge Journey was built to be a practical family-friendly SUV and it definitely succeeds. You'll be hard pressed to find a seven-passenger vehicle that offers so much for the money. We see the Journey as a perfect choice for a young family on a budget. It's a vehicle with a comfortable, durable interior with plenty of cargo space and impressive performance on the road.

    It's a smart alternative to a minivan because it offers many of the same capabilities and features without being so boring. Dodge managed to inject the Journey with enough attitude and style to still be interesting despite the fact that it is a family vehicle.

  • Specifications and Price:

    Engine: 3.6-liter V6

    Transmission: 6-speed automatic

    Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, all-wheel drive

    Power Output: 283 hp / 260 lb-ft of torque

    Fuel Economy (mpg): 16 city / 24 highway

    Base Price: $29.595

    As Tested: $34,360 (incl. $995 destination charge)

    Options on our test vehicle: Customer Preferred Package 28V: Crossroad Equipment Group, Leather Seats with Sport Mesh Inserts, Premium Door Trim Panel with Stitching, Cargo Net, Radio 8.4, 8.4-Inch Touchscreen Display, Light Gray Accent Stitching, Power 6-Way Driver Seat, Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust, Front and Rear Aimable LED Lamps, Overhead Console, Air Conditioning with 3-Zone Automatic Temp Control, Sun Visors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors; Popular Equipment Group: Security Alarm, High Beam Daytime Running Headlamps, Universal Garage Door Opener, Automatic Headlamps, Heated Steering Wheel, Heated Front Seats, Remote Start System; Navigation and Back-Up Camera Group, Garmin Navigation System, Radio8.4 NAV, SiriusXM Traffic / 5-Yr Travel Link Subscription, ParkView Rear Back-Up, Park Sense Rear Park Assist System; Second-Row Seat with 2 Child Boosters.

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