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First drive: Dodge Journey

2008-09-01 07:47

Wilmer Muller

With competitive pricing, a muscular look, a spacious interior with room for up to seven occupants, Dodge is taking aim at the MPV segment. Badged the Journey, the American car brand now offers South Africans a crossover vehicle that is a blend of an MPV and SUV.

As part of the Chrysler group, the Dodge Journey slots in below the newly-released Grand Voyager as a cheaper alternative. And our first impression of Dodge’s newest model is more favourable than of its Voyager cousin. Dodge is positioning the Journey as a “fun” multi-purpose vehicle for families with an active lifestyle.

It has a bold look with SUV-like design cues, while overall interior quality with some soft-touch plastics, is actually not too shabby.

As with other new-generation Dodges the Journey is set to turn heads, although it isn’t as radical-looking as the Nitro. Also, the overall design is more functional with some sporty touches.

At the front there is a big chromed grille, with prominent headlights, while the rear design is quite bold too.


Locally the Journey is available with a 103 kW / 310 Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit or a 2.7-litre petrol. The V6 petrol delivers 136 kW at 5 500 r/min and 256 Nm @ 4 000 r/min, and comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. In diesel guise buyers get a dual-clutch transmission.

We got to sample the V6 model, which gives a decent performance and Dodge claims it to have an average fuel consumption of 10.7 litres per 100km.

On the road the Journey might not be the most dynamic performer but the overall ride is comfortable.

The Journey is reasonably stable on the road and even through corners. The steering is well-weighted but uninspiring, while the brakes feel quite solid. Although the gearchange is smooth, the V6’s auto transmission is a bit dull.


Equipment levels are good and the petrol model is available in two trim levels, SXT and R/T. (The 2.0 CRD derivative only comes with the higher-spec RT trim).

No matter the trim level, all Journey models are well-equipped, with the R/T models featuring extra luxuries such as leather and chrome trim.

Also available is Chrysler’s innovative MyGIG media and audio system, which allows you to download music and photos on to a hard disk. It features satellite navigation too.

The Journey also offers an optional rear-seat video entertainment system (VES). This system allows rear seat passengers to enjoy movies, music and external audio/video devices such as video games and MP3 players.

The system consists of a console-mounted DVD player with an 8-inch LCD screen, a battery-powered remote control and two wireless, multichannel headsets.

The system will play DVDs, WMAs, MP3s and audio and video CDs. Additionally, auxiliary input jacks on the faceplate show video directly from a video device, so Journey’s rear seat passengers can play games from a video game console or listen to music directly from a portable MP3 player.

Standard safety items include multi-stage airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, front seat-mounted side airbags, third-row side curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Electronic Roll Mitigation and a practical reversing camera.


Chrysler has also applied its knowledge about MPVs to the Journey creating a versatile and family friendly car.

Both the middle and back row of seats can be folded flat to boost luggage space, while there are a number of under-floor stowage areas, as well as several other hiding places and cubbies.

In conclusion the Journey is a practical vehicle with plenty of standard features, making it, especially the V6 models, good value for money.

The easy-to-use rear-seating system is a selling point too, and if you have a big family you will love the roomy and comfortable cabin.


- Dodge Journey 2.7-litre V6 SXT: R259 900
- Dodge Journey 2.7-litre V6 R/T: R289 900
- Dodge Journey 2.0-litre CRD R/T: R349 900

Optional extras

- Sunroof: R10 000
- Rear seat entertainment: R15 000
- MyGIG infotainment system: R14 000
- Towbar: R5 000

The Dodge Journey comes standard with a three year / 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan.

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