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2009-2010 Dodge Journey

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Built in Toluca, Mexico, the Dodge Journey is based on the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger but has a longer wheelbase, taller body, many more features, a smoother ride, and much more weight (a whopping 3,850-4,250 pounds). The price in the US started in 2009 at just under $20,000, with the all wheel drive version coming in at $25,530.

While the Journey has been a strong seller in Canada and Mexico, it has sold less well in the US. Ralph Gilles said in January 2010 that when he took over at Dodge, he looked at the Canadian side and saw it had been heavily advertised, so they increased American ad spending and almost doubled sales quickly. "A little infusion of care and love, and the products take off," he said.

The 2010 Dodge Journey four-cylinder is only available on the SE, paired with a four-speed automatic (the V6 gets a six-speed). Gas mileage with the V6 rose 1 mpg, and a fuel-saver indicator was added. Active head restraints are standard for the first row. The video system got a nine inch screen (from eight), four wheel antilock disc brakes with hydraulic boost are standard, remote keyless entry is standard, and a dark slate monotone interior is available.

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The Journey comes in SE, SXT, and R/T versions, with the 2.4 liter four-cylinder or a 3.5 liter V6 (and a diesel outside of North America). SXT and R/T models will have optional all-wheel-drive which comes with 19-inch wheels and a performance suspension, starting at $25,530. European diesel buyers can get an automatically shifted manual transmission (not the Chrysler-engineered one, which is not yet available); otherwise, the four cylinder comes with a four speed automatic, the V6 with a six-speed automatic. Sirius Back-Seat TV became available in late 2008.

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As always, oh20 was nearly 100% accurate in his predictions, made months before the initial release; the only difference between his predictions and the press release was the name, changed from Crew to Journey (Chrysler even trademarked the name Crew and had a few Crew-badged vehicles running around.)

Personal impressions of the Dodge Journey

The exterior of the Journey is neat and clean, a break from the Dodge big and bold mantra; customers demanded neat and clean, saying there was a time and place for aggressive and bold, and this wasn't it. The Journey is, according to Dodge, the next step for people who needed a minivan but now find a minivan is too big; or the first step for people starting families, who don't need the size (and cost) of a minivan or SUV. It's also a next step up in size from the PT Cruiser, with only slightly lower mileage despite considerably more weight and size.

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The interior brightwork (we'll call it chrome) on the SXT and R/T model added a touch of class, particularly around the radio, vent controls, and the vents themselves, which are in dark plastic, surrounded by rounded-corner rectangular thin-chrome boxes; knobs also have chrome accents. It really did make a difference. So did playing with the knobs and switches; and so did turning on the lights - which we could not do in Detroit, as the batteries had been removed. Suddenly the little instrument panel came to life with an impressive, clear, bright display. The gauge panel is balanced right and left, with green LEDs under both sides and equally sized left and right gauges. The center speedometer dominates, with a sensible 60 mph in the middle and evenly spaced numbers. Surfaces have been converted to soft-touch materials, after the first auto show cars were produced, and the interior is quiet on the road.

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The radio and climate system controls both looked natty and easy to use; the radio in particular had a new set of controls which includes what appears to be a turn-and-press knob which suggests easier access to some functions. Paying attention to usability is a welcome change in sound and navigation systems.

The seats were fairly comfortable if firm; rear seats have optional built-in boosters for older children, nearing the end of their mandated booster-seat period. Legroom was okay if I had the seat pushed back, but filling three rows at a time means restricted legroom for everyone. Dodge does make it clear that the three-seat capacity is not meant for everyday use.

The third row of seats was easy to get to, though I was glad I hadn't put on more weight; the middle seat folds and rolls forward, and then it's a long step into the back. My feet barely fit underneath the middle seat, which was in a position to allow the middle passenger decent legroom, so you can fit seven adults in there. Doors open to around 90 degrees for easier access.

The Journey really excels in finding places for stuff. There's the front seat storage - the cushion easily pulls up to reveal a small storage space. Underneath the floor of the back seats, on either side, are bins that can hold a casserole, to avoid spills. Spare trays will be available at your local dealer, so you can also do what they suggested doing with the Dakota: having various trays filled with your gear for various trips.

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Read about our Dodge Journey test drive here.

Dodge Journey information

Diesel Journeys (sold outside the United States) have an optional automated manual transmission ("dual clutch") built with Getrag. This assures quicker, smoother acceleration and around 6% better gas mileage. This was apparently slated for US cars too, but Getrag reportedly did not have the funding it needed, and the factory built to make the transmissions has since found other uses.

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Flexible seating and storage combinations include standard five-passenger seating with spacious cargo room and available 5+2 seating. Spacious storage bins, hidden in the floor and under the front passenger seat cushion, combined with fuel-efficient or powerful powertrain options, make Dodge Journey flexible and functional.

Safety is boosted by standard multi-stage front driver and passenger air bags, front-seat-mounted side air bags, three-row side-curtain air bags, standard four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), and Electronic Roll Mitigation, and optional back-up camera and all-wheel drive (AWD) in the United States and Canada.

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The 2009 model-year Dodge Journey will be available in U.S. dealerships in all configurations in the first quarter of 2008 and in global volume markets outside North America in both left-hand and right-hand drive, starting in mid-2008. The JC49 will also be built in China for local use. Chrysler reportedly plans to stop the current-model PT Cruiser production in 2009, using the line to export 60,000 D-segment crossover vehicles to Northern Europe.

The 2009 Journey SE starts at $19,985; the SXT at $22,985; the R/T at $26,545. All wheel drive pushes the price up by around $2,500 for the SXT and $1,800 for the R/T.

Modern-looking quad halogen headlamps provide excellent road lighting. Available fascia-mounted fog lamps strengthen the contemporary look and help boost visibility during bad weather. Body-color fascias provide a monochromatic look that neatly frames the chrome crosshair grille and headlamps.

Dodge Journey has available 19-inch wheels and tires. From the side view, Dodge Journey's horizontal aluminum hood, long daylight opening and low-gloss black appliqués on the B- and C-pillars give the appearance of a long greenhouse. Sculpted wheel arches emphasize Journey's sporty, athletic appearance. Dodge Journey's beltline is more angled in front, but less so toward the rear, mimicking the top of the tail lamp shape, which makes it easier for rear-seat passengers to see out the windows - a bonus for pint-sized passengers. An available high-contrast black roof rack with buffed stainless steel roof rails adds capability and completes Journey's side view.

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The Journey's single piece, lightweight liftgate includes an integrated spoiler for aerodynamics. An LED center high mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) is mounted in the liftgate header above the glass; the outer surface of the CHMSL is styled for aerodynamics. Four-piece jeweled red tail lamps span the width of both the liftgate and the body and feature unique curves that give the Journey added style and sportiness. The rear glass on the liftgate's lower edge follows the curvature of the tail lamps to improve visibility through the rear window. Chrome-tipped dual exhausts come with the optional 3.5-liter V-6 engine in North America.

Journey's 113.8-inch (2890 mm) wheelbase is 4.9 in. (124 mm) longer than Avenger's to accommodate its available 5+2 seating and additional cargo space.

Dodge Journey will be available in Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat, Light Sandstone Metallic Clear Coat, Melbourne Green Pearl Coat, Deep Water Blue Pearl Coat, Silver Steel Metallic Clear Coat, Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat and Stone White Clear Coat.

Storing things "under the front seat" takes on an entirely new meaning, thanks to Journey's available Flip 'N Stow™ in-seat storage. The Journey's front passenger seat cushion flips forward to reveal a large 10.75 x 8.75-inch (273 x 222 mm) bin under the seat cushion. The bin is large enough to store a purse, umbrella, planner or headphones with the seat down. The seat cushion is hinged, and when flipped forward, provides access to the storage bin.

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Dodge Journey's rear doors open 90 degrees, making it easier for people to get in and out of the second row and gain access to the available third-row seat.

In the second row, the all-new Dodge Journey features theater seating, which gives passengers in the second and third row the ability to see outside the vehicle, which is especially helpful for keeping kids entertained on long drives. The second row H-point is 1.6 inches (40 mm) higher than the first row. The available third row sits another .6 inches (17 mm) higher than the second row and 2.2 inches (57 mm) higher than the first-row seats.

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Located in the floor behind the front-row seats are two standard in-floor storage bins that are designed to hold 12, 12-oz. (330 ml) cans plus ice or other items conveniently out of sight. For added convenience, the bins feature latching lids and removable, washable liners, so they're a snap to clean.

A child presenter seat on all models that makes it easy for the driver to attend to a small child seated in the second row when the vehicle is stationary. The child presenter seat works by allowing the 60 percent portion of the 60/40 fold-flat second row seat to travel 2 inches (51 mm) forward. With the front passenger seat folded flat, the driver can easily reach to the back to assist a child in the second row.

Dodge Journey is the first vehicle in the mid-size crossover segment to offer available integrated child booster seats. These available seats boost a child seated in the second row 4 inches (102 mm) so they're seated in the adult belted zone. This makes it easier for the child seated in the booster seat to see outside the vehicle. The booster seat is designed for children who are as much as 4 foot 9 inches (1.45 m) tall and between 48 lbs. (22 kg) and 85 lbs. (39 kg).

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The second-row seats also move forward and rearward a total of 4.7 inches (120 mm) to give adults more leg room, bring children closer to the front seats and provide more cargo room behind the seats. Folding the second row and the available fold-flat front passenger seat flat creates plenty of room for hauling home lumber needed to assemble a playscape or skis from the slopes.

On five-passenger models, a tri-fold load floor is located behind the second-row seat and provides a hidden storage compartment for added utility. The load floor is reversible and configures into a "grocery bag" position. The primary side of the folding panel is carpeted for durability.

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The available third-row seat is easy to operate and get into, thanks to Journey's stadium Tip 'N Slide™ second-row seats. With the turn of a single lever on the side of the seat back, the seat cushions easily fold upward and the seat slides forward. Journey's available 50/50-split-folding third-row seat provides enough room for two passengers on an as needed basis. The seatback reclines 6 degrees to make the ride even more comfortable. A rear in-floor hidden storage bin located behind the available third-row seat is standard on 5+2-passenger vehicles.


The Dodge Journey has a four-wheel independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear suspension. Front and rear suspension crossmembers are isolated to the body to create a quiet ride, with less road noise, vibration and harshness. Four-wheel disc brakes are standard. AWD is available in the United States and Canada with the 3.5-liter V-6 engine.

See our comparisons page for specifications

Details: 2.4 liter | 2.7 liter | 3.5 liter | 2.0 diesel

Transmissions are a four speed automatic (used on the four), and a six speed automatic (used on the V6). The 2.0 diesel comes with a six speed manual or six speed automatic, and includes high-pressure direct injection, a variable geometry turbocharger, and four valves per cylinder.

The six-speed automatic provides quicker standing-start acceleration than a four- or five-speed transaxle because of a higher first-gear ratio. A more robust differential with increased torque capacity enhances launch performance by requiring less torque management, electronically limiting the torque that is available during the initial stages of standing-start acceleration. Smaller steps between ratios also make for a smoother, quieter ride, as the engine speed doesn't change as much with each shift. In addition, more ratio choices, more appropriate ratios for quicker acceleration and a lower overall top gear ratio provide a quiet ride and improved fuel economy at highway speeds.

The AWD system works on demand, driving only the front wheels until power to the rear wheels is needed. AWD also is used on dry pavement between speeds of 25 and 65 mph (40-105 km/h) to enhance handling during performance driving.

The Journey, with its many storage space, doors that open to nearly 90 degrees, reportedly wonderful ride, and acceptable four-cylinder gas mileage, is expected to pull 30% of its customers from imports, and 70% from the domestic market.

Colors and features

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In addition to seating and storage features, Dodge Journey's versatile and functional interior features a two-tone color scheme with high-contrast dark and light colors. A combination of Dark Slate Gray and Medium Slate Gray is available on SE models. A two-tone combination of Dark Slate Gray and Light Graystone or Dark Pebble Beige and Light Pebble Beige is available on SXT and R/T models. A premium soft-skin instrument panel provides a sense of quality and craftsmanship. Chrome accents the upper center bin latch, door handle, shifter bezel and door lock knobs and instrument cluster bezel. Journey R/T models add chrome touches on radio and climate control knobs.

The 2009 model-year Dodge Journey also features three types of seat upholstery: cloth is standard on the SE model, YES Essentials® stain-resistant, odor-resistant, anti-static seat fabric is available on the SE model and standard on the SXT model and leather is standard on the R/T model.

Features include:

  • MyGIG™ multimedia audio and entertainment system
  • Optional Rear Backup Camera
  • Optional Navigation System with 7-inch (17.8 cm) display and traffic alerts
  • Cooled beverage storage bin in the glove box keeps two cooled 12-oz. (330 ml) cans cool through the air conditioning system or fresh air inlet
  • Cloth seats are stain resistant, odor resistant and anti static for easy cleaning and a long-lasting appearance
  • Optional aimable LED Map/Reading Lamps provide focused light without distracting the driver
  • Optional removable LED flashlight in the rear cargo area
  • Illuminated cup holders
  • Optional Rear-seat Entertainment System folds down from the headliner
  • Optional 115-volt, 150-watt Power Inverter on the rear of the console powers (North America)
  • Optional SIRIUS™ Digital Satellite Radio (North America)
  • Land vehicle Vehicle Car Alloy wheel Tire
  • Optional UConnect™ for BlueTooth™ cellular phones
  • Four 12-volt oulets - two in front, one in the second row, one in the cargo area
  • Optional Remote Start (North America)
  • Standard Five-passenger Seating with Available 5+2 Seating
  • 90-degree rear door openings
  • Fold-flat Front Seat with Flip 'N Stow provides storage under the seat cushion and a table-like surface when folded flat for added cargo flexibility. The seat cushion flips forward to reveal a 10.75 x 8.75-inch (273 x 222 mm) bin. The cushion can remain in the forward position to prevent items from sliding onto the floor
  • Two Second-row In-floor Storage Bins located in the floor behind the front row seats are designed to hold 12, 12-oz. (330 ml) cans plus ice or other items conveniently out of sight. The bins feature latching lids and removable, washable liners for added convenience
  • Stadium Tip 'N Slide Seat provides easy entry to the third row with one-hand, one-motion operation
  • Tri-fold Load Floor located behind the second-row seats provides a hidden storage compartment for added utility. The load floor is reversible and configures into a "grocery bag" position. The primary side of the folding panel is carpeted for durability
  • Rear In-floor Storage Bin for 5+2 Passenger Vehicles includes a hidden storage bin behind the third-row seat. For added utility, a door in the bottom of the bin provides access to the tool and jack storage compartment
  • Child Presentation Feature allows the driver to attend to a small child in the second-row seat when the vehicle is stationary
  • Optional Child Booster Seats for children 4 foot 9 inches (1.45 m) tall and between 48 lbs. (22 kg) and 85 lbs. (39 kg), raises the child into the adult belted zone
  • Activity Center in second row seatback folds forward to provide two cup holders and a bin for storage of small electronics, snacks, crayons or other small items
  • Sunglass Bin with Child Observation Mirror
  • Sliding Center Arm Rest moves forward 3 inches (76 mm) for driver comfort
  • Optional Heated Front Seats with Leather or Premium Cloth enhance the comfort of the driver and front passenger (segment exclusive in North America)
Dodge Journey safety equipment

Standard safety equipment includes:

  • Advanced front airbags match air bag output to crash severity; low-risk airbags are included for smaller and out-of-position occupants; front seat-mounted side airbags increase thorax protection during a side impact, while side curtain airbags provide all three rows with head protection
  • Front knee bolsters, ABS, stability control, brake assist, traction control, roll mitigation, rollover sensing, trailer sway control, tire pressure monitors, optional backup camera
  • Booster seats for children over 4 foot 9 inches (1.45 m) tall and between 48 lbs. (22 kg) and 85 lbs. (39kg) are optional
  • Event Data Recorder records the nature of a malfunction or impact event

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