For 2014, there is some juggling of models and equipment. The Crew trim level is replaced by the Limited. The base AVP model adds the option of XM satellite radio. The SXT can now be ordered with navigation, leather upholstery, and a DVD player...
The Journey is Dodge's entry in the popular mid-size-crossover segment. These cars are fast stealing young families away from minivans -- such as Dodge's Grand Caravan. The Journey got off to a rocky start, however. It was developed from the unimpressive platform shared with the Avenger and the Chrysler 200. Interior cost cutting was evident. The engines were unimpressive. To Chrysler's credit, the company has done a lot to make the Journey more competitive, and that work has paid off.
The Journey follows the format of most mid-size crossovers, with a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines along with front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. The base engine is a 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder. That's not a lot of power for a vehicle the size of the Journey. A much better bet is the available 3.6-liter V-6, which adds a whopping 110 hp and 96 lb-ft of torque and yet subtracts only 1 mpg on the highway and 2 mpg in the city (although neither engine's mileage ratings are particularly impressive).
That's partially because the four-cylinder is hobbled with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the V-6 gets a far more efficient six-speed unit. If you want all-wheel drive, rather than the standard front-wheel drive, know that AWD is offered only with the V-6. And since the V-6 is offered only in the SXT (where it's optional) and in the Limited and in the R/T (in which it's standard), then all-wheel drive is available only on those models. The base American Value Package (AVP) and the SE are four-cylinder and front-wheel drive only. FWD comes standard on all trim levels.
The biggest recent upgrade to the Journey can be seen in its interior. The updated dash is attractive, soft-touch plastics are liberally used, and the design of most controls is very straightforward. The very small touchscreen in lower-spec models isn't great; the available larger unit is much better. As reflects its mission as a family hauler, the Journey's optional third-row seat is available on any trim level. (Know, however, that it's strictly kid-sized.) The interior is also rife with stowage cubbies and compartments, including under the floor in the second row and under the cushion of the front passenger seat.
The Journey's plethora of models spans a pretty wide price range. The base AVP has a very low starting price of just under $21,000 (perhaps not coincidentally, it exactly matches that of the Grand Caravan AVP). The top-spec R/T tops $30,000. Both the R/T and the Limited are pretty well equipped. The R/T shades a bit more toward sportiness, with a firmer suspension, meatier steering, and sporty-looking trim inside and out. To get a little of that sporty look in the mid-priced SXT, order the blacktop package, which includes nineteen-inch wheels, all kinds of black trim, and a touring suspension.
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