Thanks to games like Gran Turismo and Need For Speed, Dodge is a name that makes the child inside of us fizz with excitement as we recall tearing around the world’s best race tracks in a Viper, Charger Hellcat or even a Challenger, each with a huge spoiler on the back. Even the Ram gives us the hair-raising experience that we all want to get from a car. However, the Dodge Journey fails to offer absolutely any of that euphoria. We know that we are comparing two entirely different beasts and that the Journey was created to be a practical family transporter – and, in that sense, it has achieved exactly what it set out to do – but still, just a smidgen of excitement would be nice.
That said, it is a good low-cost alternative for anyone that has their eye on a people-carrier such as the Ford S-Max or Renault Espace. With the right engine choice, you have a good runner, it has road presence thanks to its boxy-styling, and there is far more in the way equipment than its rivals offer. You’ll just have to find a way to live with the poor build-quality, ride discomfort and noise. Manage that and you’ll only be semi-disappointed with your purchase.
The Driving Experience
Anyone that has driven this car will agree that the steering is light and that makes this car very easy to control. However, they will also tell you that precision is no easy feat. Oh, and the easy steering thing is reserved to low speeds. To sum up the engines as quickly as possible, the petrol option has more power but it takes a lot of effort to feel that kick in, while the diesel option offers a lot more in way of fuel-friendliness, while it’s mid-range speeds feel rather punchy underfoot. So, yeah, the diesel would be our choice, especially if you are buying this because you have a family big enough to fill the seats. For anyone that is ready this with an interest in performance as well as practicality, this car feels big and drives slow.
The Cost of Running
Don’t get the petrol version unless you are happy to spend the money feeding this thing fuel. It’s thirsty, like 32 mpg kind of thirsty. As for the diesel version, this will become a much better friend of your wallet’s because it manages to offer you a much-improved return of almost 45 mpg. In terms of tax and insurance, the diesel is the better option too. If money’s no object, however, then we recommend you ditch the diesel and go for a different car altogether.
The Safety Record
For anyone that is looking to buy a family transporter, then the matter of safety tends to be extremely high on the priority list. After all, you have a lot of precious cargo to carry around with you, the kind that is invaluable, the kind that warrants you looking at this page to understand just how serious safety is. Now, it is important to mention that this car has improved on the safety front over recent years, but not enough to please us. In fact, we would say it is rock bottom on this front and has only survived in this market as a result of its price, something that is clearly shown in it its safety record even if it does offer a lot in terms of its standard kit, such as stability control, braking assist, roll mitigation, curtain airbags, trailer sway control and traction control. That said, what car doesn’t offer this kind of thing these days.
The Comfort Levels
We experienced what can only be called a ‘firm’ ride experience. The reason for this, at least according to Dodge, is because this vehicle is considered sporty, which is a word we would never have thought to describe it as. Anyway, the ‘sporty’ ride has a way of really jiggling its passengers around, the hard seats not exactly helping to cushion each movement. It is worth noting that this is far more noticeable in the petrol version. The diesel, however, offers a much smoother ride on this front, although that comes at the sacrifice of your eardrums because the diesel option is not quiet by anyone’s standards. The actual look and style of the car aren’t too bad. In fact, the dashboard is rather attractive with a decent finish offered – some nice chrome effects and soft-plastic touches here and there. Look below the dashboard level, though, and you will find that the quality drops away faster than the water flowing off Victoria Falls. The materials look cheap and feel cheaper. This may not be a deal breaker but it is worth knowing.
The Practicality Of The Journey
With the rear seats up, your boot space is rather limited. Fold them down, however, and you get a serious amount to play with. In fact, you get a mighty 816 litres of space to pack full. That is enormous. The good news – on the space front – doesn’t stop there either because, if you wanted to transport some bits and bobs, you are able to drop the middle seats flat giving you well over 2,110 litres of nothingness. It doesn’t matter how much time you have to scan the market, that is a figure you will find very hard to beat. If you have small kids, then you’ll also be pleased to know that the back doors open a full 90 degrees – more than most other cars – making accessibility into the back an absolute breeze. The seats in the middle also slide back and forth which makes the back rather roomer, and rather easy for you to get into. Another big tick on the practicality front can be given in the storage option because there are little storage spots all over the cabin. Of course, we can’t go through this area and not give a black mark for something and, in this case, it goes to the middle seat in the middle row, which could offer more.