Reviews

2018 Dodge Journey Introduction

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.

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