It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step (Laozi -philosopher, circa 604BC). If you make that trip in a 2014 Dodge Journey R/T, you'll be certain to have done it in style and in comfort. Not a minivan and not an SUV, the Journey is a hybrid of these two - an entity known as a 'crossover' with much of the practicality and facility of the van and much of the ruggedness of an SUV. It is this ultimate combination of form and function which no doubt has lead to the Journey being rated Canada's #1-selling crossover for over five years.
I was happy to find that the Journey R/T I was given to review came equipped with a Parkview Rear Back-Up Camera and Park Sense Rear Park Assist given the tight quarters the vehicle was parked in. The last thing I wanted to do was back in to one or two new vehicles in the dealership lot! As I put the Journey into reverse, the 8.4-inch UConnect screen came to life and automatically provided me with a clear view of the area behind the vehicle. A warning indicator also flashed onto the screen reminding me to check out the entire space around me for obstacles. This is a little easier said than done given the prominence of the A-Pillars, somewhat too wide for my taste and tapered at the lower edges, making it difficult to see the front left and right quarter panels.
After successfully navigating my way through the crowded lot I eased onto the street and got my first taste of the 2014 Dodge Journey R/T. Acceleration provided by the 3.6 L Pentastar VVT V6 (6-speed Automatic) was sure and remarkably smooth. (Over the past several weeks I have really come to appreciate the quality of the Pentastar powertrain and can see why it is a multi-award winning engine!) Negotiating the winding, hilly terrain that characterizes my route home was a pleasure and listening to the premium six-speaker (with sub-woofer) Alpine stereo also added to the experience.
Scrutinizing the Journey more closely on my driveway, I was especially impressed by the cargo storage options - more than on any vehicle I have reviewed to date! Under the front passenger seat (Black leather faced seating with perforations all round) for example is a convenient storage bin - a good place to hide a purse or other valuables. Two other neatly configured storage bins can be found at the feet of the second row seating. These can actually double as coolers with enough space for a twelve-pack of your favorite beverage encased in ice. Another sub-floor bin is located in the trunk. A travel Emergency Kit or sporting goods could easily be tucked away here. In fact, on a long trip, all passengers (7 in total) could ride clutter-free. With all the seats in the second and third rows neatly folded away there is an astounding 1908 L of cargo space. A lot of cargo can be hauled securely and out of the elements.
Dodge has done a great job of styling with this vehicle. The lines are sleek and slightly tapered. This is not a boxy, old style transport. Coming out of a concert that we took my parents to, the Journey looked stylish amid the many other vehicles in the parking lot. My parents enjoyed the generous armrest in the second row seating and they found the ride quiet and extremely comfortable.
A little "kitschy" (but kind of cool nonetheless) are the illuminated cup holders. Never spill your drink again trying to find the cup holder at night while concentrating on the road! And forget about having to purchase child booster seats for the smaller set, the second row seats feature integrated child booster seats that neatly lock back in place when not in use. And to top it off, the rear passengers have a built in video system at their disposal that can be used to watch movies, TV shows, or to play video games. USB - no problem, low battery levels - no problem - just about any kind of connectivity is possible with USB ports, aux ports, and even a standard electrical outlet.
Keyless Enter 'n Go is one of my wife's favorite features. She always has her hands full when entering or exiting her vehicle. This feature, present in the Journey R/T, means she can keep her key fob securely in her purse and simple reach out and open the locked door. Then she can start the vehicle with a slick push of the ignition button and off she goes. Other features of the R/T that are both convenient and add to the safety/security of passengers include ESC (Electronic Stability Control), All-Speed Traction Control, Brake Assist, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Trailer Sway Control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes.
Other than the aforementioned A-pillars that make visibility a bit of a challenge, the Journey is a classy, family-oriented vehicle with a ton of cargo space. I'd love to have one of these on a journey of a thousand miles! I guess I'll start with one simple step…