Bridging the gap between wagon and minivan with aggressive, trademark styling, the Dodge Journey hits the streets for 2011. In shopping the Journey against its rivals, look for the Journey to outpace the competition with seating for up to seven people, a luxurious, highly appointed interior, a powerful, efficient new V6 and the best ride and steering feel in this class.
The 2011 Dodge Journey (MSRP starting at $22,245) is available in five distinct trim levels, ranging from the budget-minded Express, powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 173 hp, all the way to the stunningly well-equipped Lux, with its all-new 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed automatic transmission.
That new 3.6-liter engine is available on every trim except the Express. With 283 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque, it represents a 20 percent increase in power over the outgoing V6 in last year’s Journey. Paired with a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission, the Journey is still able to return EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with an 87 octane Regular gas recommendation. With the all-wheel drive option available on Mainstreet, Crew, Lux and R/T trims, the Journey still returns 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway in EPA testing.
An unperturbed ride and a quiet cabin both clearly signal “quality” to customers looking for a new vehicle. Dodge engineers expended considerable effort to provide both in the revised 2011 Journey. This nimble and controlled crossover controls itself well over all driving and road conditions thanks to a re-engineered suspension geometry. The shocks are larger and have been retuned, and the suspension has redesigned spring rates for less body roll, so that drivers enjoy a comfortable, confidence-inspiring ride. To provide a more precise and coordinated steering response, Dodge engineers retuned the steering gear, and also increased torsional stiffness in the steering column intermediate shaft isolator for improved steering feel. Even the tires have been upgraded to premium, low-rolling-resistance models for a quiet ride with better fuel efficiency as well.
To address the quiet cabin part of the equation, Dodge engineers worked to reduce noise, vibration and harshness to a near-luxury car degree with new, premium sound deadening materials and insulation throughout the cabin and engine compartment.
That quietness is mandatory when you consider the lengths to which Dodge went to provide an exceptional quality interior. Inside, you’ll find world-class levels of craftsmanship and comfort with a beautifully crafted, one-piece instrument panel. Between the new gauges, be sure to see the standard Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC); it features a full-color display, backlit in red, providing crucial information front and center without having to search for it. It’s a feature that’s absent from vehicles in this class at the standard level.
Your elbows will appreciate the extra padding on the center console’s tilt-and-slide armrest, as well as that of the armrests on the heavily padded door panels.
All-wheel drive availability is a given in this class, but how it works is a differentiating factor. The 2011 Dodge Journey features an on-demand all-wheel drive system that works completely as a fuel-efficient front-wheel drive system under most conditions. In low-traction conditions, the system senses slippage and provides additional traction as needed. But don’t think that the all-wheel drive system is only for those living in the Snow Belt. Between 25 and 65 miles per hour, the all-wheel drive system also works to provide enhanced handling during performance driving conditions. To accomplish this, the Journey’s all-wheel drive system uses an electronically controlled coupling (ECC) to regulate the front-to-rear bias, automatically sending torque to the rear wheels when cornering while the throttle is open to make the Journey turn more easily, thus making the handling more neutral. Most competitive crossovers in this class use either a viscous coupling or a gerotor center differential to send power to the rear wheels, both of which require a degree of wheel slippage, which negates any all-wheel drive advantage during ordinary driving conditions.
Naturally, safety is a huge part of the Journey’s equipment package. The 2011 Journey includes standard advanced, multi-stage front passenger airbags, active head restraints, electronic stability control with all-speed traction control, electronic roll mitigation and Brake Assist, new driver’s side knee blocker airbag, side-curtain airbags covering all three rows, front seat-mounted side airbags, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, LATCH child seat anchor system and Trailer-sway Control. It’s no wonder that the 2011 Dodge Journey has retained its “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Adding to the sense of security, Dodge Journey Lux buyers receive Chrysler’s 36-month/ 36,000-mile “No Cost Maintenance Plus” plan including oil and oil filter changes, lubrication, scheduled recommended maintenance and many other benefits that make owning a 2011 Journey Lux an easy proposition.
With its latest revisions, attention to quality and detail and improved performance, the Journey has been winning praise. It recently received the “Family Car of Texas” award from the Texas Auto Writers Association’s annual Spring Roundup, and with all of these positive attributes, it’s easy to see why. Stop in today and experience the 2011 Dodge Journey for yourself.