On a van­guard Jour­ney

The Dodge Jour­ney blurs the cross­over cat­e­gory by try­ing to make peo­ple-movers sexy, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive Dodge Journey -

AUS­TRALIANS have never warmed to multi-pur­pose vans, or peo­ple-movers. In Europe and Ja­pan, fam­i­lies en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­brace them, but the seg­ment is not strong here.

Opin­ions are di­vided about why, but it is gen­er­ally ac­cepted Aus­tralian fam­i­lies love their seven-seat off-road wag­ons, even if they never ven­ture off the bi­tu­men.

In many buy­ers’ eyes, mul­ti­pur­pose vans are just not sexy enough to be seen in around town. Dodge hopes to change that think­ing with its Jour­ney seven-seat wagon.

The Jour­ney looks like an of­froader but is ac­tu­ally a peo­plemover that man­ages to blur the cross­over cat­e­gory. It’s about the same size as the Ford Ter­ri­tory and Toy­ota Kluger, and is not much shorter than the Holden Com­modore Sport­wagon.

It is a true seven-seater, but Chrysler Aus­tralia prefers you not call it an MPV.

The front-wheel-drive Jour­ney comes in an en­try SXT and an up­spec R/T. The $36,990 SXT gets a 2.7-litre V6 petrol en­gine, which is shared with the Avenger. The R/T has a choice of the petrol V6 or a 2.0-litre CRD tur­bod­iesel with a par­tic­u­late fil­ter.

The R/T V6 is $41,990 and the R/T CRD is $46,990.

The V6 de­vel­ops 136kW at 5500 revs and 256Nm at 4000 revs. The load-lug­ging diesel de­vel­ops 103kW at 4000 revs and 310Nm from 1750 revs. Chrysler claims a com­bined fuel-use fig­ure of 10.3 litres/100km for the V6 and 7.0 litres/ 100km for the diesel.

The V6 gets a con­ven­tional sixspeed se­quen­tial au­to­matic; the diesel has a new six-speed dual-clutch gear­box de­vel­oped by Chrysler and Ge­trag. But Chrysler Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Gerry Jenk­ins says the 3.5-litre V6 all-wheel-drive ver­sion sold in North Amer­ica will not be avail­able here.

‘‘It’s not made it in right-hand drive,’’ he says.

Seen from the front, the big wagon is un­mis­tak­ably a Dodge. The sig­na­ture crosshair chrome grille and pumped-out wheel-arches com­bine for a con­tem­po­rary look.

In­side is where the

Jour­ney shines. In keep­ing with its fam­i­ly­ori­ented du­ties, the seven-seater gets many nifty and prac­ti­cal fea­tures.

The sta­dium-like seat­ing means the sec­ond row is slightly higher than the front seats and the third row slightly higher again.

Chrysler’s tilt-and-slide sec­ondrow seats with 40/60 split seat cush­ion and 40/20/40 split seat­backs are reached through rear doors that open 90 de­grees. The sec­ond row slides back 60mm for ex­tra legroom, and the third row folds flat and splits 50/50.

Even the front passenger seat flips for­ward to de­liver al­most 3m in load length from the rear hatch to the dash­board.

There’s plenty of stor­age space. Un­der-floor cub­bies have re­mov­able lin­ers and there’s a dual glove­box.

The Jour­ney also presents a com­pelling safety story. Its strong body uses ul­tra-high-strength steel that not only en­sures stronger crash per­for­mance but en­hances the ve­hi­cle’s dy­nam­ics.

It has six airbags, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol with trac­tion con­trol, anti-skid brakes, elec­tronic roll mit­i­ga­tion, tyre-pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and brake as­sist.

For com­fort there’s tri-zone cli­mate con­trol, cruise con­trol, trip com­puter with tem­per­a­ture and com­pass, hill-start as­sist, au­to­matic dim­ming rear-view mir­ror, 12-volt aux­il­iary power out­lets, a six-disc CD stereo and height-ad­justable front seat­belts.

The R/T adds a leather steer­ing wheel, pre­mium gauges, elec­tric driver’s seats, heated front seats and two-tone in­te­rior trim. The SXT gets 17-inch al­loys and the R/T runs on 19-inch al­loys.

Show of strength: the Dodge Jour­ney uses ul­tra-high-strength steel that en­sures stronger crash per­for­mance and en­hances the ve­hi­cle’s dy­nam­ics.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.