2016 Dodge Journey

Rating

60/100

Background

If you are like us, you may be surprised to learn that the 2016 Dodge Journey is still on sale. Other than an admittedly thorough refresh in 2011, under its skin the Journey is pretty much the same as it was when the three-row crossover debuted in 2009. During that time, the Journey’s competitors have all undergone complete redesigns to remain competitive, while the Journey watches time pass from the sidelines.

Is it a wagon or a crossover? The 2016 Dodge Journey blurs the boundaries.
To its credit, the Journey does still have some positive attributes. Its suspension provides a smooth drive even over the roughest road surfaces, and that, in combination with supportive seats and a quiet interior, makes the Journey an ideal companion on long road trips. Pricing is competitive, and if you need to take on more than five passengers, the Journey is one of just a few vehicles in its price range to offer a third row of seating or an optional V6 engine.
Time has not been kind to the Journey, however. In most other aspects, it is woefully outclassed by nearly everything in the segment. Both available engines are undesirable in their own way. The base 4-cylinder is unexceptional and paired with a four-speed automatic that was starting to show its age when the Journey was first released. The optional V6 is worth the upgrade, although it is similarly underpowered compared to the engine upgrades in other three-row crossovers. Either way, the Journey drives straight ahead just fine, but trundles through corners clumsily and with a considerable amount of body roll.
If you need a car with three rows, you may want to consider the 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. This minivan costs roughly the same as the Journey and offers greater functionality, with plenty of rear cargo space and enough room in the third row to comfortably seat a couple adults. If you’re set on a crossover SUV, our top pick for a similarly sized crossover with three rows of seating would be the 2016 Kia Sorento. It’s more expensive, but we think its up-to-date design and technology features are worth the extra expense. And if you don’t absolutely need a third row, just about any small crossover will give you similar seating comfort and cargo space but with superior fuel economy and refinement.
Yes, the Dodge Journey is still around. But 2016 might be the time to finally stop believin’.

Drive

The 2016 Dodge Journey has two personalities, depending on which engine you choose. The 4-cylinder engine is noisy and really doesn’t have enough power to get this heavy crossover moving with any sense of urgency, especially when loaded up with passengers. The outdated four-speed automatic transmission that comes with this engine does the Journey no favors in the fuel economy department, either. Accordingly, we’d avoid the 4-cylinder entirely and step up to the 3.6-liter V6, which feels potent in any situation. Unfortunately, the 6-speed automatic transmission can be slow to respond when a downshift is needed.

When equipped with the optional V6, the 2016 Journey is pretty swift for what it is.
Around town, the Journey provides a smooth ride. However, the steering is on the slow side, and you might find yourself having to make more hand movements than you would otherwise prefer. When driven harder through turns, the Journey’s body leans noticeably. The Journey feels heavier than other compact SUVs and solid on the open highway, even over rough surfaces, but it doesn’t inspire much confidence around corners.

Exterior

The 2016 Dodge Journey is available in five- and seven-passenger configurations. It is available in five trim levels: base SE, SXT, Crossroad, Crossroad Plus and R/T.
The SE comes standard with 17-inch steel wheels, tinted rear glass, roof rails, dual exhaust tips (V6 models only), heated mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, cruise control, dual-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a 4.3-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, a USB port and an auxiliary sound jack.
Optional for the SE is the Flexible Seating package, which adds a 50/50-split third row and tri-zone manual climate control.
Moving up to the SXT adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a unique front fascia, LED taillights, body-colored exterior mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control for front seat passengers, floor mats and the Flexible Seating package.
Moving up to the Crossroad gets you 19-inch wheels, gloss black and chrome exterior trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and sound connectivity, satellite radio and a cargo net.
The Crossroad Plus trim expands upon the Crossroad’s feature content by adding tri-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery with cloth inserts, a six-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), a fold-flat front passenger seat with hidden storage bin, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, an in-dash DVD player and an SD card slot.

The 2016 Journey’s optional 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system is one of the best you’ll find at this price.
The R/T adds a V6 engine, remote engine start, monochrome exterior treatment, unique 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust tips, a sport-tuned suspension and steering wheel calibration, automatic headlights, perforated leather upholstery with red stitching, heated front seats, a premium sound system and a 115-volt power outlet.
Many of the features on the upper trim levels are available on lower trims via option packages. Other available features (depending on trim) include the Blacktop package (gloss black 19-inch wheels, grille and exterior trim), a sunroof, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, integrated second-row child booster seats, a rear seat entertainment system and a navigation system (paired with the 8.4-inch touchscreen).

Interior

Though Dodge seldom has enjoyed a reputation for high-quality interiors, the 2016 Journey does boast pleasing materials and textures throughout the cabin and solid-looking assembly. The gauges and dashboard have a functional and contemporary design that wouldn’t be out of place in any number of higher-priced vehicles.
The available Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment interface is one of the best in the business. You won’t find a system that’s more straightforward to use or more pleasing to the eye, with large, readable typefaces and icons and sensible menus.
Families will appreciate the selection of clever storage places squirreled throughout the Journey’s cabin, particularly the cubby holes in the floor. There’s a fair amount of legroom behind the front seats, and the integrated child booster seats are a nice bonus. Also helping the family-oriented mission is the Journey’s available third-row seat, which is bundled with a separate rear air-conditioner. This seat is far from adult-friendly, but it’s handy if you need to shuttle a couple extra kids to soccer practice.
Lower all the seats and the Journey coughs up 67.6 cubic feet of total cargo capacity, which is about what you’ll get from the best two-row compact crossovers.

Safety

Every 2016 Dodge Journey comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. Integrated second-row child booster seats are optional on every Journey. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are available as an option on the Crossroad Plus and R/T. Features such as blind-spot monitoring and lane-departure warning are not available, however.
In SUVS brake testing, a Journey V6 FWD came to a stop from 60 miles per hour in 124 feet, an average performance for this class.
In the most recent government crash tests available, the Journey received four out of five stars for frontal-impact protection. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Journey received the top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Its seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. In the agency’s small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, however, the Journey received the lowest rating of "Poor."

Specs

By default, the 2016 Dodge Journey SE, SXT, Crossroad and Crossroad Plus are powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque. It drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon combined (19 city/26 highway), a decidedly subpar rating for a 4-cylinder crossover.
Optional on the SE, SXT, Crossroad and Crossroad Plus but standard on the R/T is a 3.6-liter V6. It’s good for 283 hp and 260 lb-ft and is matched to a 6-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard (except on the SE, which cannot be ordered in a FWD/V6 configuration) and all-wheel drive is optional. We recorded a 7.8-second 0-60-mph time in a front-drive, V6-equipped Journey, which is about average for a V6 crossover in this class. EPA estimated fuel economy for the V6 is 19 miles per gallon combined (17/25) with front-wheel drive and 19 miles per gallon combined (16/24) with all-wheel drive.

Value

Seating for up to seven; useful interior storage solutions; smart touchscreen interface; available V6 engine; budget-friendly MSRP.

Verdict

The 2016 Dodge Journey has an available V6 engine and a third row, so it might seem to be a decent pick for families on a budget. But overall it falls short of newer crossovers with more powerful 4-cylinder engines and better fuel mileage ratings.

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