When I brought the 2010 Dodge Journey home for its test drive, my husband said he didn’t realize that Dodge was still in business. It’s sad, but true. I knew they were still in business, but I’d never driven a Dodge before, nor had I ever given Dodge much thought. However, my week with the Dodge Journey changed all of that. The 2010 Journey is a great car for a great price, but it does have a few minor glitches.
My test car was a Journey SXT with a V-6 engine, all-wheel drive and an optional third row. One of the best things about the Journey is the price: My test car’s trim level starts at a mere $26,280. If you want to go for the base trim level with front-wheel drive and five seats, you’d only be looking at a starting price of $20,490. We’re always on the lookout for affordable, family-friendly cars here at MotherProof.com, which is harder than you might imagine, and this crossover and its pricing had me at “Hello.”
The Journey is stylish enough, and it’s 235-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine had enough power to get me up and down Colorado’s hills. One of my only complaints was its fuel economy. My test car got an EPA-estimated 15/23 mpg city/highway, though I averaged about 20 mpg, which wasn’t terrible. Of course I had all-wheel drive and a V-6 engine. A front-wheel-drive Journey with a four-cylinder gets an estimated 19/25 mpg. Overall, the 2010 Journey gets my vote as an affordable, family-friendly vehicle.
The Journey’s crosshair grille is bordered by rectangular wraparound headlights. Admittedly, I didn’t give this typically Dodge look any thought before I drove the Journey, but it’s a passable look. I’m not saying it’s the best-looking grille and headlights pairing out there – you’ll certainly find prettier – but it’s functional and works for this crossover. In fact, I’d say that about the whole look of the Journey, it works for what it is. Seriously, what do you want from a car that you can get for well under $30K?
The crossover’s angular lines give it a sturdy, strong look, and the sculpted fender flares showcase the wheels. The standard tinted windshield is also a nice touch in the looks department as well as for fending off glare.
With a little effort, my 3-year-old could get and out of the Journey. Happily, he didn’t have to exert so much effort as to induce whining.
My test car has black roof rails, but the R/T trim level – the top of the line – gets chrome roof rails. Fog lamps and chrome exhaust tips are also standard on the SXT and R/T trims.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
Once you get inside the Journey you start to discover a slew of conveniences, mostly in the storage department. This is good because if you’re using the optional third row the cargo area becomes almost nonexistent; this happens with many three-row crossovers. There’s an under-floor storage bin in the cargo area that could hold a blanket and some books, but not a major grocery run.
There’s also a storage bin hidden under the front passenger seat cushion, which could hold a bevy of snacks and wipes. While I found this Flip-n-Stow in-seat storage to be novel and useful, the passenger seat doesn’t have an airbag sensor. That means that the airbag won’t deactivate if the seat is empty or if there’s a small child sitting there, which is a big safety no-no. I implore Dodge’s engineers to come up with a better way to make this storage work. It’s a great idea in theory, but not so great in action as it turns out.
There are also two storage bins in the floor of the second row that can hold some small toys, extra little shoes or kids’ clothing. My kids thought these were swell, which made for some fun during the week we had the crossover. Finally, there’s the Chill Zone beverage cooler, which sits right above the glove box. You can keep a bottle of water cool for yourself all summer long.
I didn’t love the black- and silver-plastic trim throughout the cabin, but much like the exterior, it was passable. The cloth seats (leather is available) were comfortable and easy to clean.
While the third row was easy to get into thanks to a simple lever on the side of the second-row seats, neither the second nor the third row offered much by way of legroom (despite the second row’s ability to slide back and forth) or really much space for anyone bigger than a child. Of course, my son found the second row conveniently small enough to constantly kick the back of my seat while I was driving. Pleasant.
My test car had the optional Rear Seat Video Package ($1,195) with a flip-down 9-inch screen mounted in the ceiling as well as streaming Sirius TV ($470 for a year of service). This is where things got contentious. My kids thought it was super cool that they had an actual TV in the car, and while I kind of agree (I’m still old-fashioned enough to think that we don’t need television in the car), my big problem was with the screen. The crossover’s space is limited enough that the 9-inch screen completely obstructed my view out the back. Luckily for me, Sirius TV didn’t often have age-appropriate programming for my young children, so I didn’t have to go through any major battles to keep the screen down, but it remains a concern. A smaller screen or screens on the back of the front headrests are probably the only viable solutions.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
The 2010 Journey is a Top Safety Pick for 2010 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn this honor a car must receive the highest score of Good in frontal-offset, side-impact, roof strength and rear crash tests and have standard electronic stability system.
The Journey also has standard antilock brakes, traction control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, side-impact airbags for the front row and side curtain airbags for all rows. An optional backup camera can be had for $695 as part of the Safe & Sound Group.
The two sets of Latch connectors were easy to use; I was able to install both of my child-safety seats without taking too much time or losing a fingernail or precious sparkling gem in the process. Both of my children’s forward-facing convertible seats fit in the second row, but a rear-facing child-safety seat would probably cut into the front passenger’s legroom. This isn’t the roomiest crossover. For those with children in booster seats, you can opt to get two integrated booster seats in the second row. The Family Value Group, which costs $295, includes high-beam daytime running lights. Seriously!
In Diapers: Although there’s some space concerns, the Journey’s price more than makes up for it.
In School: Older kids will love the integrated booster seats and the three rows.
Teens: As a Top Safety Pick for 2010, this is a car that will keep inexperienced drivers safe on the road.