A real 7-seater loaded with the features, family buyers and sports enthusiasts should consider the new Dodge Journey – it could be very rewarding
American brand Dodge has expanded its Australian presence with the launch of the 2008 Journey.
A genuine 7-seater offering a choice of either a 2.7-litre petrol engine or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, the Journey is considered a ‘Crossover’ because it looks and feels like a four-wheel-drive. Officially, the new Journey is classed as a ‘People Mover’ as its four-wheel-drive (4WD) version will not be sold in Australia.
Car Showroom tested both petrol and diesel versions of the Journey at its Australian media launch and we were impressed with its credentials for both family buyers and those pursuing active lifestyles.
For example the versatile interior layout allows snow skiers, mountain bikers or golfers to securely stow their equipment while still providing ample seats for a weekend trip away. And unlike some 7-seat vehicles, rear seat passengers will enjoy ample room, separate air-conditioning controls and the optional second row DVD player with 8-inch LCD screen, wireless headphones, infrared remote control and capability to play video games.
In photographs the Journey’s clever appearance can be deceptive – it is actually longer than the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger.
Not that the Journey will ever be confused with other People Movers or Crossovers. Like its sharply styled cousin, the 4WD Nitro, Journey proudly presents the signature Dodge crosshair chrome grille and bold wheel arch flairs.
Car Showroom likes the looks of the Journey and the rest of the Dodge range in Australia – they’re clearly American cars which stand out from the crowd in our market which has for too long been dominated by Asian and European brands.
Same on the inside – definitely American styling with comfortable seats, a massive range of storage bins and boxes, including a washable storage bin under the floor in the second row which (for example) can be filled with ice and used as an esky or for the storage of dirty ski boots etc and then removed and washed after use.
Families will appreciate the flipdown centre console/cupholder in the second –row seat which has a spill resistant plastic covering – because everyone knows young children spill lots of food and drinks whenever they’re in the car.
Likewise, families will appreciate the ‘theatre-style’ configuration of the three seat rows – the second row is 30mm higher than the front row and the third row is 35mm higher than the second row. This allows excellent visibility for everyone and reduces the onset of motion sickness.
Entry to the Journey lineup is the well-equipped SXT model while the premium is designated R/T and included in the extras are 19” alloy wheels, upgraded interior trim materials including leather seats, steering wheel and gear lever, premium instrumentation and full-length centre console.
The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine (103kW/310Nm) is only available in R/T form and drives through an innovative dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission – claimed by Dodge to be the first of its kind in this market segment. The system pre-selects gears up and down the gearbox for smoother shifts and 6 per cent better fuel economy. Interestingly there is actually a seventh gear in the box – an alternate fourth gear selected only when kicking down from fifth gear for enhanced overtaking acceleration.
The 2.7-litre DOHC V6 petrol delivers 136kW and 256Nm. Drive is through a conventional six-speed automatic.
Journey continues Dodge’s strong safety story. It carries the highest 5-star rating from NHTSA - the American version of NCAP - and comes with 3-stage airbags – driver and front passenger, front side seat-mounted and full side curtains.
- SXT petrol $36,990
- R/T petrol $41,990
- R/T turbo-diesel $46,990