Featuring all the ambiguous family-crossover-vehicle styling of the Chrysler Avenger, the 2009 Dodge Journey is the newest and most unexciting addition to the family. Sitting on Chrysler’s Global-D platform, the new Journey offers yet another alternative to buyers in denial of their need for a minivan. Standardized to seat 5 with the option to accommodate an additional 2, the Journey’s rear passenger layout is decidedly kid-friendly. Theater seating serves as a precautionary offensive maneuver against the inevitable “Mo-om, tell Mikey to keep his arm on his side of the car!” while rear doors that open at a 90-degree angle provide ample room for swiftly and efficiently locating the offending child to backhand.
Offered with three different trims, SE, SXT, and R/T, the Journey’s performance options include either a 2.4L 173-hp I-4 [SE] or a 3.5L 235-hp V6 [SXT and R/T]. Prices range from $20,750 to a slightly overpriced $29,160, but the good news is the most fuel efficient choice is also the cheapest. The Journey’s base model, the Journey SE, boasts the highest fuel consumption average with 19mpg city/25 hwy. Although those numbers might prove easier on the wallet, the SE only outputs about 173-hp – which is downright inadequate when you factor in the SE’s 3,796lb curb weight and 5-7 person capacity. Unfortunately, if you decide to upgrade to the SXT or R/T’s more respectable 235-hp, you’ll also earn an EPA fuel average of 16mpg city/23 hwy [22 hwy for R/T]. Although those numbers aren’t grotesque, they are surprisingly sub-par given the current “hybrid” options on the market.