While I enjoyed driving the 2009 Dodge Journey from New York down to Burlington, N.C., the kids were a little more, er, compressed. Yes, the Journey has three rows, but it’s a relatively narrow seven-seater, and there’s not a lot of storage space behind the third row.
So when we picked up the CX-9, everyone breathed a little sigh of relief. Part of that was because the CX-9 is a little wider, and more than 6 inches longer. Getting into the back was a little more difficult without the Journey’s easy access lever, but once back there the kids were definitely more comfortable in the CX-9.
The CX-9 and Journey are competing to be the car that looks the least like a family-hauler. My vote goes to the Journey, but my buddy in Carolina thinks the CX-9 is something “a twentysomething or 30-year-old might have.”
As for driving, I found the CX-9 very responsive, with good acceleration and a really small turning radius. On the down side, it is by far the noisiest in terms of road noise of all four cars on our vacation. Especially on a concrete surface, the road noise was really intrusive. The kids were watching “Ultraviolet” on DVD (their choice, not mine), and I had to crank the volume up and down to hear dialog and avoid the sounds of explosions and shooting guns.
Overall, the CX-9 winds up in a dead heat with the Journey, but that Flex remains the leader in this mix. We’ll fill you in on how the CX-9 fared on gas and packing, and then we’ll turn our attention to the 2009 Honda Pilot.