2012 Dodge Journey SXT Review

We drive Dodge's mid-size crossover.

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August 25, 2012

2012 Dodge Journey SXT Review

As befits its mission, the Journey struck us as competent in all fields, not standing out in any way.

Is it a minivan? A crossover? Or something in between?

Technically, Dodge's Journey is a crossover. It has four doors (and the rears don't slide) and five seats. But it has a minivan profile and a similar mission.

That may sound harsh. It's not meant to be. Yes, we admit to not exactly being minivan fans. But comparing the Journey to Dodge's own capable Grand Caravan isn't exactly an insult.

Besides, the Journey doesn't drive like a minivan. Or act like one. It just borrows the bland, inoffensive styling, high seating position, and family-hauler mission. It's just that in a sea of crossovers that look like true utility vehicles, the Journey stands out for being better at looking the part of the tall wagon.

2012 Dodge Journey Features & Prices Our Journey SXT showed up with a base price of $24,495, with such standard features as keyless starting and entry, Chrysler's UConnect multimedia suite, dual-zone climate control, second-row in-floor storage bins, a reclining fold-flat rear seat, a USB port, satellite radio, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, a cargo net, and 17-inch wheels.

Options included the Popular Equipment Group (trip computer, premium cloth bucket seats, 6-way power driver's seat with power 4-way lumbar adjustment, fold-flat passenger seat with built-in storage bin, alarm, daytime running lights, LED lamps, internal observation mirror, remote start, and other features, $995) and the UConnect Voice Command system with Bluetooth (included leather wrapped shift-knob, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel, $395). With the $800 destination charge, the as-tested total came to $26,685.
2012 Dodge Journey On the Road As befits its mission, the Journey struck us as competent in all fields, not standing out in any way. Acceleration from the available 283-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 is strong enough for daily driving but won't blow anyone away. Same goes for ride and handling: the Journey is better in the corners than one would expect, but of course it's a family hauler, so don't expect much in the way of fun. The ride works well around town, if a bit on the stiff side.
2012 Dodge Journey Interior The interior on our tester struck as a bit plain-Jane, but we liked the UConnect screen, finding it easy to read and use. We also dug the fold-flat passenger seat.

The high seating position reminded us a bit of driving a van, and the observational mirror seems like a handy way to keep an eye on misbehaving rugrats in the backseat.
2012 Dodge Journey Exterior Again, the Journey struck us as plain--it doesn't have the flair of some of its competitors in the mid-size crossover class. Then again, we suspect many buyers won't care, since function over form is the priority here.
2012 Dodge Journey Fuel Economy & Safety Dodge offers the standard complement of airbags along with traction control and an antiskid system. There's also brake assist and electronic roll mitigation.

For our V-6 SXT, fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.
2012 Dodge Journey Final Thoughts The Journey does what it's supposed to do very well--it gets from point A to point to B without much complaint and without making the driver feel miserable. That said, it's not particularly dynamically engaging, nor does it swaddle with comfort. Adjectives that come to mind to describe this vehicle are 'solid,' 'stable,' 'competent,' and the like.

We don't deny it offers some value for the money, or that it's a loyal errand-running servant. Those who want more driving fun or higher amounts of utility might shop elsewhere, but those who like it down the middle with no fuss, the Journey is a solid choice.

And it's definitely not a minivan.

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