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