It's unpredictable, instills courage and can change your perspective forever. By now, everyone knows, tiger blood immediately induces winning.
That's why Charlie Sheen should drive a Dodge, the brand at Chrysler Group LLC with the most tiger blood pumping through its fuel lines. For a long time, it was hardly noticeable. Not anymore. Today, the Dodge lineup is tough and rugged and a little bit mean. It is fully infused with that famous feline fluid.
Even parked on the street, Dodge cars flex their muscle waiting for someone, anyone, to gun that Hemi under the hood. Who doesn't think a Challenger 392 dates three women from Bouzouki's at the same time?
The 2011 Dodge Journey has sipped down some big cat hemoglobin and come out a vastly improved crossover. It's got a predator's confidence that measures up the competition at the local watering hole before devouring them. Chomp.
The first bite out of the previous Journey is the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine. This new Journey engine roars with 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque matched to a smooth six-speed automatic transmission.
A 2.4-liter, 173-horsepower base engine is available on the five-passenger Express model, but the remaining four trim levels all come with the V-6. The two additional cylinders don't penalize drivers at the pump.
The four-cylinder Express gets 19 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway, according to Environmental Protection Agency testing. The all-wheel drive V-6 Journey hits 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The money under a couch cushion will cover the mileage difference.
While outmuscling the competition, the 2-ton Journey still holds it own against V-6 two-wheel drive competitors, such as the Honda Pilot (17 mpg city / 23 mpg highway), the Toyota RAV4 (19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway) and Hyundai Veracruz (17 mpg highway / 22 mpg city).
Dodge changed the names of its trim levels for the Journey, which now come in flavors ranging from Mainstreet to Lux. I would have preferred Goddess 1, 2 and Warlock.
Paws stay firmly planted
No matter the name, the new Journey rides and handles much better than the outgoing version, which never felt complete.
The all-wheel-drive system helps keep the Journey firmly planted on the road through hard corners. The system uses an electronic controlled coupling to route torque to the rear wheels in corners when going above 25 mph. Other systems would need actual wheel slippage to do the same task.
The steering improvements come from a number of changes, such as suspension improvements, including bigger retuned shocks, new steering hardware and better tires.
Reworking the basic elements to good vehicle dynamics translates into a smooth, clean steering feel through turns. On mountain roads, the Journey feels like a sedan. On open highways, it still feels like a sedan. Few big seven-passenger crossovers feel this small on the road — and the Journey is nearly a foot longer than the RAV4.
Yes, technically, it seats seven, but the third row requires people with 23.4-inch legs, the allotted space back there.
Really, I wish the third row in most vehicles was completely removable and never mentioned again (and you can order just about any version of the Journey without one).
A lot of cars offer a third row as a selling point, and many parents like the idea of creating the automotive equivalent to the 38th Parallel for sibling rivalries. But that third row, which, admittedly, is easy to get into with Dodge's Tilt 'n Slide second row — the seat moves quickly out of the way — just gobbles up good cargo room. With the third row in use, there's 10.7 cubic feet for cargo. Fold it down, there's 37 cubic feet; get rid of it completely and there's 39.6 cubic feet.
Third row aside, the overhauled interior is fit for any fat cat. Nearly every interior aspect of the Journey was reworked, touched up or replaced. Sit behind the wheel and you'll feel the much higher quality materials and see an attention to detail in every nook and cranny, including the second-row storage bins under the floor mats (they can easily hide a six pack of Coke).
You'll notice little things like the beveled silver rings around the speedometer and tachometer. The small LCD screen mounted right between the gauges matches perfectly to the silver trim that flows horizontally across the dashboard. The soothing smell of leather from the upgraded seat trim and nicely wrapped steering wheel will calm nearly anyone. Even the most crazed Hollywood actor who stormed out of a highly successful sitcom featuring him and one-and-a-half other stars would relax in the cockpit of this vehicle.
There is a raft of high-tech features, as well. Even the base model includes USB connectivity to play (and recharge) a music playing device. The higher trim levels include the next-generation U-connect system — one that provides an 8-inch touch screen full of graphic friendly features. The system is easy to use and lets you do everything from connecting your phone via Bluetooth for hands-free use to issuing voice recognition commands to select music and blast Johnny Paycheck over the 368-watt six-speaker sound system.
There are also nice little features such as the 115-watt outlet to help manage (and recharge) all of those electronic items. The host of other electronic features includes keyless entry, push button start, park assist and backup camera.
Throughout the cabin, the Journey feels complete with just the right added features and touches to please most customers. Additionally, this Dodge starts at $22,995 and a nicely loaded Crew model starts at $28,995.
Tiger blood, of course, is standard.
And for a brand that has a streak of big cats purring, ready for action, the overhauled Journey is the most improved in the bunch.
email@example.com (313) 223-3217
2011 Dodge Journey
Type: Five- or seven-passenger crossover with front- or all-wheel drive.
2.4-liter four-cylinder engine
2.4-liter: 173-horsepower; 166 pound-feet of torque
3.6-liter: 283 horsepower; 260 pound-feet of torque
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
EPA gas mileage
2.4-liter (FWD): 19 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
3.6-liter (FWD): 17 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
3.6-liter (AWD): 16 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Overall: *** 1/2
Exterior: Good. Has the aggressive Dodge front end and a solid truck body look.
Interior: Excellent. Well laid out, lots of nice driver-friendly features and well crafted throughout.
Performance: Good. Nice road manners, drives much smaller than it looks. V-6 is an excellent engine.
Pros: Lots of space, can load up with features and bigger engine and still keep the price below $30,000. Ride also much quieter than outgoing model.
Cons: With a third row with less than 24 inches of legroom, it’s better to opt out and not have it put in.
**** Excellent *** Good ** Fair * Poor
People Who Viewed This Car Also Viewed
Closest Dealers Listing this Car
Featured Services for the Dodge Journey
- Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.