I sporadically researched mid-size SUVs and crossovers for a couple of years as I pondered replacing my still-running 1997 Dodge "Immortal Caravan" with 280,000 miles. Most of the "professional" reviews I read blasted the Journey as dated and outclassed, so I was reluctant even to test drive one--How could the collective wisdom of so many "experts" be wrong?! When a local used-car dealer I visited told me the rare V6 Equinox I'd come in to look at had just been sold . . . he said I should look at a low-mileage V6 Journey he just got in. I immediately liked what I saw, and knew almost before leaving the parking lot on the test drive that it was what I'd been looking for. The size is just right--big enough to haul 7 people, but small enough to park anywhere. The Pentastar V6 is torquey and responsive, and recently delivered a stunning 30 mpg on a long trip. Interior fit and finish is excellent, with precisely the level of instrumentation and infotainment features I wanted, all very ergonomically well done. Seating is flexible and easy to operate, with thoughtful features like one lever to access the third-row seating. My biggest beef with the car writers is their condemnation of the vehicle's supposedly sloppy handling. I suspect my SXT (which incidentally is FWD, not AWD, but Edmunds doesn't offer the pre-defined menu choice of SXT/FWD/3.6) has the mid-range "touring" suspension, and to me it has the ideal balance of communicative handling, responsive cornering, comfortable ride, and interior quietness. It can tow 2500 lbs. with standard ABS and stability control. I'm supposed to consider it "dated" because it doesn't offer lane-departure warnings and other naggy baubles I don't really need? As for styling, what the car magazine writers call "dated" or "boxy" I would call "classic," a wonderful blend (at least with the alloy wheels) of square-edged truck-like ruggedness and car-like sportiness, without an ounce of pretentiousness. In short, the car writers are completely out of touch if they think the Journey isn't competitive, or capable of meeting the needs even of picky, enthusiast drivers like me. My only complaint: The fuel gauge doesn't go all the way to "F" when I top off the tank, and when it hits "empty" I typically still have 6-7 gallons in the 20.5-gallon tank. (On the bright side, the mileage I'm seeing and fuel-tank capacity the specs claim means I could go over 600 miles if I don't mind driving on "empty" for a few hours.)
The Journey is very easy to drive, no blindspots as in my previous Kia. Children can easily get in and out of the 2nd row, dog can get in out of the back area. Lots of room with the 3rd row down and the extra cubbies in the floorboard are very useful. It has more power and maneuvers very well.