Dodge takes a fam­ily trip

Chrysler’s new fam­ily car is more than a peo­ple mover, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Dodge Journey R/ T Crd -

JOUR­NEY is a great name for a car. It’s even bet­ter for a fam­ily van, since ev­ery fam­ily is on some sort of jour­ney and ev­ery fam­ily trip be­comes a jour­ney. So Chrysler has the name right.

And there is a lot of other stuff to like about the Amer­i­can sev­enseater.

The styling is a cross be­tween that of an SUV and a peo­ple mover. The chunky nose is typ­i­cal of Dodge and the pumped-up body looks a lit­tle like an over-in­flated Holden Zafira.

So it’s not a gi­ant space­ship and it doesn’t prom­ise off-road abil­ity it can never de­liver.

Dodge de­scribes the Jour­ney as a two-box de­sign. It is built up with a stretch of the me­chan­i­cal pack­age from its mid-sized Se­bring sedan. That means it is also comfortable with a 2.7-litre V6 petrol en­gine or a 2-litre tur­bod­iesel. There is good space and a lot of smart think­ing, from slide-fold-tilt seats that max­imise cabin space and make ac­cess easy to lit­tle touches on the com­fort, fun and stor­age fronts.

The price is rea­son­able, too; from $36,990 it un­der­cuts the classlead­ing Kia Car­ni­val, Toy­ota Aven­sis and Tarago.

Chrysler prefers to have it con­sid­ered against the Toy­ota Kluger, Holden Cap­tiva and Ford Ter­ri­tory, which shows the range of con­tenders for to­day’s big mixed fam­i­lies.

‘‘This is a unique ve­hi­cle that will ap­peal to a crowd of con­sumers who want a rea­son­ably priced, fu­el­ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle with seven seats to­day — not to­mor­row,’’ Chrysler chief Gerry Jenk­ins says.

He has solid sales hopes for the Jour­ney, a ve­hi­cle that could eas­ily be­come a cult hit for the same rea­sons the PT Cruiser is. It’s not retro, but is dif­fer­ent enough to have cut-through on the school run and be in touch with the needs of fam­i­lies.

That is re­flected in the list of op­tional equip­ment as much as in the ba­sic de­sign of the Jour­ney.

The car comes with all sorts of stor­age nooks, cup hold­ers, safety gear and the rest, but the op­tions list runs to a mas­ter-blaster MyGIG sound sys­tem with huge built-in stor­age for $3250, a rear video screen— with head­sets— for $1500 and rear park­ing cam­era at $400.

Those are the things that ev­ery Jour­ney on a jour­ney re­ally needs.

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