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