Nice Grocery-Getter, NASCAR drivers need not apply
written on 11-05-2016
SE 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
I'm an old man. I got my driver's license after learning on a 1967 Rambler American and a 1969 Pontiac Bonneville. I made it this far without a nav/infotainment system, traction/stability control, or bluetooth. The 4-cylinder engine in this thing has more horsepower than many older V-8s. That said, I think the 2017 Journey is a fantastic buy. I bought a $21,000 "stripper" - which still has, standard: a 173 hp engine (shared with Hyundai and Mitsubishi - buy one of their comparable vehicles and get the same motor), 4-speed OD automatic transmission, traction control, a six-speaker touchscreen audio system I can plug a USB drive into and "have my own radio station", dual-zone air conditioning, front and rear stabilizer bars, better interior lighting, automatic headlights, daylight running lights, and a nicely (manually) adjustable driver's seat. They even threw in an outdoor thermometer, and a gadget that lets you monitor your instantaneous and average fuel economy! I traded a 2007 Ford Escape for this, after the transmission grenaded at 146,000 miles. I consider this to be a step up, although still a front-wheel-drive "disposacar". Same ground clearance, same fuel mileage, good looks, with MORE standard features, more horsepower, easier for my wife to get in and out of. a better radio, more room (it's about a foot longer), and a bigger gas tank. Drives just as nice, handles about the same, much quieter, and I don't have to "drive it like I stole it" to get it moving at an intersection or on to the freeway. Controls same quality or better than the Escape. More power ports. Steering has enough feel for the average driver. 4-wheel power disc brakes "stop on a dime and give 9-cents change". Everything you REALLY NEED is included in the base price - this thing has more comfort and convenience items, and a ride and interior that rival a 1990's Cadillac. Good heater, ice-cold air conditioning. Don't option up unless you really need to, as "everybody" says these don't hold their value all that well. At 3800 lbs., it's heavy, and has a long wheelbase - probably why it rides so nice. BTW - if you don't plow your 2017 Journey into anything, it's doubtful you'll ever discover the difference between a 4-star and a 5-star safety rating. The Escape had poorer overall ratings, and in 10 years I never had an occasion to find out. If you're driving a 10 or more year old Escape or other, similar small SUV/CUV, and you are looking for a new vehicle with similar dimensions that doesn't look like every other SUV/CUV on the road, and an improved overall driving experience, you could do far worse than the 2017 Dodge Journey. UPDATE: While I do miss the styling of the 1st gen. Escape, I do have to say that I still like the 2017 Journey. I stand by all I said above, and will add that while the exhaust note makes it sound like you are driving a sewing machine, it has plenty of pickup, as my wife and I aren't closet Autocrossers. So far I have had no issues, and did change the oil, switching to full synthetic motor oil. Gets 22 MPG in town if you don't drive it like you stole it. On the highway, at 75 MPH with the cruise control and air conditioner on, it gets a solid 26 MPG. Maybe not as good as some other small SUV/CUV's - but you'll make up for it thanks to the low purchase price. I didn't buy the 3rd row seat, and saved a good bit of cash. Lots of cargo space with the fold-flat rear seats folded down - swallowed a storage shed kit with no problems. I plan on bringing home a load of patio blocks tonight... P.S. I LOVE the manual driver's seat in this vehicle - most comfortable I've ever experienced! 1-year update: I still like it. Everything I said above still holds true. The nice thing about the Journey is that you can find these equipped a hundred different ways, at prices from $22,000 to $40,000. Don't believe the hacks on the car magazine websites - the Pentastar V-6 and 8-speed automatic (which I have in my work van) is a ROCKET engine. The Journey is a fine vehicle for the money. The interior hasn't started coming apart, and everything still works. The only problem I've had is that I ran over something on the highway that ruined a tire, and broke a plastic cover under the front bumper cover. A replacement cover costs about $80.00 online, but you have to half disassemble the front of the car to replace it. I hope the Journey holds up as long as our Escape did. The only problem is that if it does, this model will have been discontinued by then, and I won't be able to buy another new one...
I traded in my nearly new 2016 Honda Civic for a Dodge Journey earlier this month. I loved the civic but I needed more space and the pilot was a tad bit out of my desired price range. Next door was a dodge jeep dealer so I stopped by to look at the grand cherokee originally and saw the Journey. I thought it looked good, not like a new modern conventional design but more along the lines of the original looking subs that didn't have a bunch of flash. I bought the crossroad plus v6 AWD, and the sticker said $34,560, but the salesman told me don't even think about what that sticker says. When we sat down to do the paperwork I noticed all they really wanted for the car was $27,600!!! I nearly started dancing to see a price offered from a dealer so much lower than the MSRP. I guess the Journey has been around a while and they don't move as quickly as the rest of the new chrysler dodge jeep products. The only thing that I wish it offered was adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Even budget cars have those options nowadays but for the price I can't complain much. The engine has more power than I really need, all the room I could ask for (including two beer coolers that are removable under the second row seats), AWD, a huge infotainment screen that I still have yet to touch because it kind of intimidates me, and a bunch of other little niceties that I didn't really expect (self-dimming rear view mirror, built in booster seats for kids, removable flashlight built into trunk, actual power outlet in the backseat). One concern I have though is reliability, I see a lot of people have issues with their transmission, brakes and random engine components so *knock on wood* I don't experience any of those problems. It rides like a cloud, smooth and quiet. Though the trim piece around the infotainment screen makes a slight creak on the occasional bump but it's nothing obnoxious... YET. Overall I think I am going to be very happy with this car, I like sitting up higher and after the civic it is going to take some getting used to but you certainly can't argue that it's an extremely versatile vehicle. If all goes well reliability wise I think I will keep this suv for a long time.
We tried the Journey because of rebates. Expecting a loud jerky experience with a 4 cylinder 4 speed. To our surprise, we found a very smooth, quiet, European feel, quality and comfort driving experience. We came from a Toyota Camry to Dodge Caravan to the Journey. We found the experience of a true crossover, car like ride and drive with the features of an utility vehicle. We are in our sixties, so ease of getting in and out of a vehicle is very important to us. The journey has the perfect seat height for us and very easy to enter and exit. The Camry has the cheapest, thinnest, and uncomfortable seats in a very good car. The Caravan was a comfortable entry but the ride was bouncy and hard on old bones. Also, our senior friends just could not get in the back seats. They are too high and too far over, you have to climb in, which, is okay for the kids and grand-kids but not seniors. The Journey comes in AWD and the 3.6 v6 engine with 6 speed. One needing more power might look for these options. But I am in the south, no ice and flat terrain so I find the 2.4 quite adequate. I will admit the 2.4 is a bit under-powered. It will not win any awards in gas saving either. Looks like in town driving will yield the same mpg as the 3.6 in the Grand Caravan around 23 mpg. However, again surprised how smooth the 2.4 is with the 4 speed. The 6 speed in the Caravan was bad to hunt and shift down, very annoying. I need to mention the high quality pleasant ride is only found in the 2017, in which, suspension and quietness are upgrades for the 2017. We tested a 2016 and there is a significant difference in ride and feel. In the 2017 , I can hardly hear the engine. Very quiet cabin. I am a part-time transporter for a major rental company and I drive a lot of new vehicles of all brands. The Journey ride is at the top. Try the Journey before you buy a Rogue or RAV4. I got the 7 passenger, seats fold flat for cargo space, easy entry, European feel, cargo comparments (ice chest) in the floor, premium seats and very nice road trip ride. This is a true crossover, car like features with SUV benefits. Hard to beat value and quality.
I have to go down and pay my auto tax today. Ouch. But I have to say that I enjoy driving this car as much or more than any I have bought including sports cars. Oddly, it is a car without much of a rating because of early problems, especially with brakes until they increased the rotor and brake pads and because will it has been around for a long time as far as the car world is considered. The first production sales were in 2007 with only a few minor changes. Also, not real good in the front side crash test. Hit em head on, I guess. I like the power to weight ratio of the V-6 the better suspension of this model combined with AWD. It makes a difference in cornering and curves as I found in my test drives. Definitely, not a sports car but enjoyable to drive with some cargo room. I do not like where they placed the battery, but guess they ran out of room. I do like all the hidden cargo compartments. After a month no rattles and seats are comfortable. Not as good as the wife's space age seats in Nissan Murano, but good. I just like the car for some reason. (Review-Dodge Journey)
Okay so it looks a little plain, and ugly but, it is seriously the most comfortable car I have EVER owned or rode in aside from a lincoln town car. Both my husband and I have lower back problems and we are able to travel much further distances thanks to comfortable seating in the journey. The kids absolutely love the back seats, they recline and they have cubby spaces under their feet for drinks and snacks. We were able to take my son and his family and our ours all in one vehicle once we lifted the 3rd-row seats on a vacation to the coast, which was really nice. The cargo area is huge with the 3rd-row seats down. My husband and I discovered that we could comfortably sleep on a double air mattress for camping trips in the back of the Journey. We also use it to cart our 2 kayaks on the roof racks. The climate control system is good but it takes awhile to cool off all that interior space on a hot day, and also heat it up on a cold day. It does okay-ish with gas mileage in town, and on the highway, it does quite well. A few things I wasn't impressed with is the Bluetooth system, it is old and slow and it says it failed to connect almost always even though it is actually connecting, it just takes up to 2 or 3 minutes. You just have to ignore it and wait a few minutes or else you'll go in circles with it. I am willing to entertain the possibility it is just my Bluetooth in my car that does this. These, I have heard, have a known issue with the fact they used too small of rotors for the braking system and the weight of the vehicle so don't be surprised if you experience shaking/shuddering while braking, I hear they are great about fixing this if the rotors wear/warp unevenly. I have just started experiencing this issue and am taking it in to have it looked into. UPODATE: Dodge doesn't want to acknowledge this issue is happening and tells me it is just how it drives so I will just replace them on my own. Also, I have had some rather annoying electrical glitches. My rear passenger window went through a stage of getting stuck down and not going up for days, I took it in and it worked fine for them! Now my trunk will not unlatch, so I cannot use the cargo area at all until I get it in to be fixed. Other than those two things it has performed well mechanically in the last 8 months we drove it hard and put over 25,000 miles on it on road trips and camping trips. I like how it performs in snow and ice, I drive a rather snowy route to see my grandchildren and it is very solid on the road no slipping around which makes my trips during the winter much less stressful. If you need a good family car that can take you out into the woods and is great for traveling on all surfaces, I still feel this car is a GOOD VALUE. It is a cheaper solution with a lot of space. Note: My best friend also bought the 4 cylinder FWD one and loves hers, she notes only it is a little gutless on hills. She has a hitch and easily tows a small trailer. She has no braking issues or any bluetooth or electrical problems. Although, I have has a few issues I would have STILL bought this as it fits our lifestyle perfectly.