While the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Edge bask in the vim of youth, the Dodge Journey waits patiently for a redesign. The midsize crossover hasn’t been significantly updated since we tested it in 2010, and it looks the same, from the exterior design down to the buttons on the center console, the infotainment system, and the steering wheel. This time around, we tested range-topping GT trim with a high-performance suspension, an optional navigation package, and the sporty Blacktop package, but it only made the Journey heavier and slower.
Powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with 283 hp, our tester should have been able to keep up with rivals. But the 4,405-pound (1,998 kg) Dodge hit 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, making it slower than the V-6-powered 2017 Highlander SE AWD (7.2 seconds) and our long-term 2016 Honda Pilot Elite (6.2 seconds). A 2016 Ford Edge Sport EcoBoost, packing an exceptional 315 hp, also made its mark in just 6.2 seconds. Back in 2010, our 2011 Dodge Journey Crew AWD, weighing 4,350 pounds (1,973 kg), completed the 0–60 run in 7.5 seconds.
Braking from 60 mph took a crisp 115 feet in the Journey GT, compared to 126 feet for the Highlander, 119 feet for the Pilot, and 120 feet for the Edge Sport. The Journey also did well in the figure eight with a run of 25.5 seconds at 0.67 g, compared to 27.6 seconds at 0.62 g for Highlander, 27.5 seconds at 0.63 g for Pilot, and 26.4 seconds at 0.68 g for Edge.
Three-row crossovers don’t inspire expectations of thrilling performance, but our Journey has some athletic merits. It feels smaller than other competitors, and it has a consistent steering feel and satisfying turning radius. It exhibits sharp initial throttle response off the line and maneuvers well in traffic. But it labors getting all the way from 0 to 60 mph while merging on the highway. Traveling over potholes and other road imperfections will quickly unsettle the driver and passengers. The rear suspension shudders consistently at moderate speeds even on pavement that looks reasonably smooth.
Put simply, it’s a crossover with more groan than grace. You can hear all its parts at work, from the loud humming of the climate control system to the unusual whirring noise of the power steering pump and the thunk of the rear undercarriage. When pushed to the limit, the engine makes a noise somewhere between a pant and a growl. Shifting in the six-speed auto is pronounced at moderate speeds; you can feel the notches most noticeably when shifting up to third and fourth gear and when moving down to first.
The Journey’s roughness signals its age, but in some cases, this age proves beneficial. The crossover’s boxy design allows for superior visibility, for one thing.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find an interior whose design has stood the test of time, for the most part. Dodge has kept extra buttons and switches to a minimum, and the seats are comfortable as before. The infotainment system still looks sharp, though the touchscreen is old and not as responsive as more modern units. Plenty of storage cubbies add utility, from an area in front of the cupholders to pockets on the side of the center console floor unit, a compartment underneath the front passenger seat cushion, and second-row in-floor storage bins. Unsurprisingly, passengers will find second-row seating tight, and the third row is only practical for storage.
Our tester had a price tag of $38,240 USD before any available incentives. Standard features include a high-performance suspension as well as leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, an Alpine speaker system, and other upgrades. The Blacktop package on our model adds black accents to the front fascia, wheels, and exterior mirrors. Navigation and a rearview camera also came as part of a separate package. The Journey starts as low as $22,290 USD, undercutting rivals by thousands of dollars. These rivals can easily get up to almost $50,000 USD on the top-trim levels. But beware of other costs; IntelliChoice rates the cost of ownership value for the 2017 Dodge Journey GT AWD as “Poor” over a five-year period.
Yes, the Journey is unrefined and coarse in some ways. But for the right price tag at the dealership, it’s an option that’s a little less predictable than the Highlander or Pilot.
|2017 Dodge Journey GT AWD|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$38,240|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||3.6L/283-hp/260-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,405 lb (56/44%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||192.4 x 72.2 x 66.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||16.1 sec @ 85.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||115 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.5 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||16/24/19 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.03 lb/mile|