As a sportsman who needs an AWD vehicle for your outdoor pursuits, and are a family of four, you may need to compromise a bit.
Minivan’s are a choice with their vast interior space, but they’re not exactly versatile. As an alternative, you may want to check out Dodge’s Journey Crossroad Plus AWD all weather hauler.
This 7-passenger crossover doesn’t exude soccer mom minivan as it’s sporty looks will satisfy dad while mom gets the room she needs for two young ones. And with growth in mind via a third seat, that seat be handy as the kids get older and they invite their friends (or grandparents) along for an outing or …. a soccer game. Flip the second and third rows and you can stow your hunting and fishing gear with room to spare. Outfit it with a trailer hitch and basket, and game can be carried.
The Journey Crossroads Plus is at the top tier of the model line-up that starts at SE, SXT, Crossroad, Crossroad Plus and top-line GT.
The Plus version adds extra niceties such as leather, tri-zone climate control, fold flat front passenger seat with hidden storage bin, second row in-floor storage bins, built-in second row child booster seats, 8.4-inch touchscreen and more. The GT version adds a few more goodies.
Journey has two engine choices. The Crossroad Plus and GT get a 3.6-liter, 283-hp V6. The lesser trim versions come standard with a 2.4L, 173-hp four-cylinder that, for a heavy (5,600 lbs) crossover like this, would appear to be a bit underpowered. But the Pentastar 3.6L serves nicely offering 260 lb/ft of torque and EPA mileage estimates of 16 city, 24-highway mpg with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. Plus, it can tow up to 2,500 pounds.
It’s puzzling why Dodge maintains this 6-speed in the Journey when they offer an 8-speed in other Chrysler vehicles. Seems the 8-speed would be a better fit and provide better highway mpg.
As is, the powertrain combination gives robust power in most situations of highway passing and merging onto busy freeway traffic.
Handling too is impressive for a large vehicle. But unlike tall SUVs, there’s only a tad of lean in sharp turns with no tippy feeling. Steering is precise and with a 39-foot turning diameter, Journey parks easily. The ride too is exceptional and quiet on Kumho 19-inch tires.
On long trips the absorbent suspension glides over bumps and road imperfections. The long drive to Disney in Orlando wouldn’t be punishing. And with a video screen for rear seat passengers, the ride is even more enjoyable.
Speaking of the interior, and after a short 20-inch step-in, the accommodations are accommodating. Heated leather and cloth front seats have just the right amount of lateral support and as mentioned, there’s a hidden storage bin beneath the front passenger seat to stow purse, camera or other items.
With one of the best touchscreen systems on the market, Journey’s 8.4-inch LCD with UConnect serves up a host of apps including one for weather and ski condition reports, nav, rearview camera, Bluetooth, satellite radio and more. HVAC controls are large and easy to use as is the touchscreen.
Back in the second row, the seats offer ample leg and headroom and the seat bottoms pop-up to serve as child booster seats. The rear seats themselves slide fore and aft to make ingress/egress into the third row seats easier. And there are below floor bins for small items. The third row, however, is mostly for kids, not so much adults.
The cargo area is spacious and almost minivan-like. With the third row upright there’s 10.7 cubic feet, flip them and there’s 37 cubic feet. Flip the second row and there’s 67.6 and even a bit more when folding the front passenger seatback that allows carrying extra long items.
Now here’s Journey’s really impressive feature. Its $30,495 base price comes with an exceptionally long list of standard safety and convenience features too lengthy to list. Added to that was a Preferred Package ($750) that included the 8.4-inch touchscreen (a 4.3-inch is standard), interior trim items, overhead console, tri-zone climate and more. The Popular Equipment group ($1,350) had heated everything, remote start and more; tag on $1,349 for 9-inch rear video screen; $265 for the embedded booster seats; power express open/close sunroof; $1,095 for delivery, and that brings the bottom line to $37,894.
Impressive too are the governments’ 5-star safety ratings of four overall stars, five for driver frontal crash, four for passenger; five for side crash front and rear seat; and four for rollover.
With a 5/60K powertrain warranty and 3/36K basic warranty, the AWD Journey is a compelling alternative to a minivan.