The 2017 Dodge Journey soldiers on as a relic of the past in many ways. This affordable crossover with available three-row seating debuted back in 2009, and it hasn't received a full redesign since. Its advancing age is most apparent in the engine bay, where the Journey's base engine is getting on in years and lacks the efficiency, refinement and oomph of its more modern counterparts. It also comes paired with an outdated four-speed automatic transmission; smooth-shifting six-speed automatics are now the norm. You can also find fault in the way the Journey drives, as the Journey feels soft and ponderous around turns that most rivals would handle deftly.
One bright spot is the optional V6 engine. So equipped, the Journey accelerates more assertively than most budget-priced crossovers, and fuel economy is barely affected. Throw in the available 8.4-inch touchscreen — a longtime favorite of ours — and the optional third-row seat and rear entertainment system, and you've got a pretty satisfying family vehicle that should still cost less than you expect.
Overall, though, the Journey remains a decidedly mixed bag, so we recommend taking a close look at other models. Our top pick among similar vehicles would be the Kia Sorento. Although it can get rather pricey, it also comes in two- or three-row specification and offers superior handling, features and interior refinement. If you don't need three rows, we'd point you to just about any other roomy small crossover SUV, including perennial favorites such as the Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4.
Every 2017 Dodge Journey comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Integrated second-row child booster seats are optional. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are also available, but common safety technologies such as blind-spot monitoring and lane departure warning are not offered.
In Edmunds brake testing, a front-wheel-drive, V6-equipped Journey came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, an average performance for this class.
In government crash testing, the Journey received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for front-impact crash protection and five stars for side-crash protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Journey received the top score of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. In the agency's small-overlap front-impact test, however, the Journey received the lowest rating of Poor.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Dodge Journey is available in five- and seven-passenger configurations. It is available in five trim levels: base SE, SXT, Crossroad, Crossroad Plus and GT.
The SE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, roof rails, heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, dual-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
Optional for the SE (standard with AWD) is the Flexible Seating package, which adds a 50/50-split third row and tri-zone manual climate control.
Moving up to the SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a unique front fascia, LED taillights (also standard on the SE AWD), body-colored exterior mirrors and the Flexible Seating package.
The Crossroad adds 19-inch wheels, gloss black and chrome exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and satellite radio.
The Crossroad Plus expands upon the Crossroad's feature content with tri-zone automatic climate control, LED interior lighting, leather upholstery with mesh inserts, a six-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), a fold-flat front passenger seat with a hidden storage bin, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, an in-dash DVD player, an SD card slot and a cargo net.
The GT adds the V6 engine as standard, plus different 19-inch wheels, remote engine start, a body-color grille, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic headlights, perforated leather upholstery with red stitching, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an interior observation mirror, a premium audio system with a subwoofer and a 115-volt power outlet.
Many features on the upper trim levels are available on lower trims via option packages. Other available features (depending on trim) include the Blacktop package (gloss black 19-inch wheels, grille and exterior trim), a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, integrated second-row child booster seats, a rear-seat entertainment system and a navigation system.
By default, the 2017 Dodge Journey SE, SXT, Crossroad and Crossroad Plus come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 173 hp and 166 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (19 city/25 highway), a decidedly subpar rating for a four-cylinder crosstour.
Optional on those trims and standard on the GT is a 3.6-liter V6. It's good for 283 hp and 260 lb-ft and is matched to a six-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is standard with the V6 unless you get the GT, which offers either FWD or AWD. The front-wheel-drive GT returns 19 mpg combined (17 city/25 highway), while the AWD V6 models get a similar 19 mpg combined (16 city/24 highway).
We recorded a 7.8-second 0-60-mph time in a front-drive, V6-equipped Journey, which is a sluggish showing given this engine's output ratings. Still, the V6 gives you plenty of punch in most situations.
The 2017 Dodge Journey has two personalities, depending on which engine you choose. The four-cylinder engine is noisy and really doesn't have enough power to get this crossover moving with any sense of urgency, especially when loaded up with passengers. The outdated four-speed automatic transmission can be clunky in normal operation, and it does the Journey no favors in the fuel economy department, either. Accordingly, we'd avoid the four-cylinder entirely and step up to the 3.6-liter V6, which gives you the power you're going to want. Unfortunately, the V6's six-speed automatic transmission can be slow to respond when a downshift is needed.
Around town, the Journey rides smoothly over rough pavement and bumps. However, the steering is on the slow side, and you might find yourself having to make more hand movements than you'd like. When driven harder through turns, the Journey's body leans noticeably. Overall, the Journey feels heavier than many other crossovers and doesn't inspire much driver confidence.
The 2017 Journey's cabin provides generally pleasing materials and textures for the price, while the gauges and dashboard have a functional and contemporary design. In general, Dodge has done a nice job of keeping the Journey's innards up-to-date despite the vehicle's advanced age. Moreover, the available Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment interface is one of the best in the business, thanks to large, easily readable typefaces and icons and sensible menus. Few systems are more straightforward to use or pleasing to the eye.
Families will appreciate the selection of clever storage spaces squirreled throughout the Journey's cabin, particularly the cubby holes in the floor. You'll find a fair amount of legroom behind the front seats, and the optional integrated child booster seats are a nice bonus. Furthering the family-oriented mission is the Journey's widely available third-row seat, which is bundled with a separate rear air-conditioner. This seat is far from adult-friendly, but it's handy if you need to shuttle a couple extra kids to soccer practice.
Lower all the seats and the Journey provides 67.6 cubic feet of total cargo capacity, which is an average capacity among small crossovers.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.