The 2018 Dodge Journey remains an ultra-affordable three-row vehicle while clever storage locations complement a flexible interior, entering the new model year with only mild updates. The Journey's looks has remained largely unchanged since it was introduced in 2009, but technology updates and special packages keep it relevant in a competitive segment.
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2018 Dodge Journey Overview
What's New for 2018
All Journey models now feature three rows of seating as standard equipment. The Crossroads trims are simplified and receive a new wheel style. The Blacktop Package focuses on appearances and is available on all trim levels except Crossroads, which features its own exterior styling theme.
Choosing Your Dodge Journey
The Journey prides itself on a low upfront cost and interior flexibility. Front-wheel drive is standard as is the 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic. This powertrain combination has been with the vehicle since it debuted and puts out 173 horsepower and 166 pound-feet of torque while achieving an EPA rated 19 miles per gallon city, 25 highway, and 21 combined – that's hilariously inefficient for a four-cylinder engine on today's market.
The available 3.6-liter V6 is essentially a requirement for people hauling and is solely mated to a six-speed automatic. It puts out 283 hp and 260 lb-ft and is nearly as efficient as the four-cylinder, at 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. An on-demand all-wheel drive system is optional on all trims, but it requires the V6 (that's not necessarily a bad thing). All-wheel drive drops a single mile per gallon in the city and on the highway. And because it requires the upgraded engine, all-wheel drive comes with a large price tag of $3,500 ($4,400 for the SE).
The SXT trim provides the best balance of cost and features. A rearview camera is a must-have but requires ordering the 8.4-inch UConnect package for $895. The V6 and the six-speed automatic should also be considered, if only because the base powertrain is so antiquated and inefficient. As a practical family hauler, the Journey does the job, but it's sorely in need of an upgrade if Dodge wants it to stay competitive.
2018 Dodge Journey Review
The Dodge Journey is a midsize, three-row utility vehicle with a wagon-like layout and available all-wheel drive. Introduced in 2009 with only one significant update since, this Dodge seems like a leftover from another era (because it is).
The 2018 Dodge Journey operates in a crowded segment against much newer, smarter, more efficient rivals. For 2018, Dodge pared the model list to four trims: SE, SXT, Crossroad and GT. All-wheel drive and a V6 engine are available and recommended – the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder is underpowered and inefficient and the four-speed automatic is an antique.
Our pick here is the Journey Crossroad, in part for its improved styling featuring attractive “black noise” 19-inch wheels. Inside, you’ll find dual-zone climate control, upgraded door trim, an automatic dimming rearview mirror, leather seats, a power driver’s seat, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. We recommend upgrading to the V6 and all-wheel drive, not only because the base powertrain is so bad, but because the Journey is already so hilariously inefficient that the one-mile-per-gallon penalty to send power to all four wheels isn't really a problem.
- Model: 2018 Dodge Journey Crossroad
- Engine: 3.6-liter V6
- Output: 283 hp/260 lb-ft
- Transmission:Six-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- MPG: 16 city/24 highway
- Options: : V-6 engine ($1,700), All-wheel drive ($1,800), Navigation and Sun Package ($1,995, with navigation, rear park assist, satellite radio, upgraded UConnect telematics and a power sunroof), Popular Equipment Group ($1,350, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, remote start)
- Base Price: $28,990 (including $1,095 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$35,685
The Journey Crossroad’s available V6 engine works with a six-speed automatic transmission. We found the V6 supplies strong acceleration, but the transmission seems misplaced at low speeds and lethargic at other times. Both engines grumble and that’s not a pleasant sound with this model.
The four-cylinder, meanwhile, is inadvisable. It's noisy, underpowered, suffers at the pump, and works with a transmission that executes shifts at geologic speeds.
Dodge equips the Journey with hydraulic power steering and although it doesn’t inspire performance driving, it feels natural and the vehicle stays composed on open roads. Ride quality is average at best, but firm. Expect more than your usual amount of body lean on twisty roads.
The Dodge Journey arrived late to the market and has always seemed a step or more behind the competition. It shares its underpinnings with the long dead Dodge Avenger sedan and its layout is similar to the Chrysler Pacifica —no, not the current minivan, the previous crossover last produced in 2008. Besides rolling on 19-inch wheels, the Journey Crossroad has heated and power-folding side mirrors, chrome roof rails, and a manual liftgate.
Inside, seating is for seven, although the middle bench seat is best for two. The third-row isn’t roomy, but it is suitable for young children. Up front, the seats offer average comfort with six-way adjustment for the driver, but there is no height control for the passenger. Standard cargo space measures just 10.7 cubic feet.
Fold the third-row seat and you’ll have 37 cubic feet available, equalling the storage space of most smaller SUVs with two rows. Fold the second- and third-row seats and cargo volume expands to 67.6 cubic feet.
The interior design isn’t remarkable, but the materials used are good for the price. The best feature, at least for the Crossroad, is the 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen infotainment system. The standard package includes a CD player, satellite radio, an audio jack, and USB port. You’ll also find ample storage compartments throughout the cabin.
The Best and Worst Things
Despite lagging its competitors, the available upgraded infotainment system with Bluetooth streaming and navigation is one of the Journey’s best features. But the Journey’s old design means this model just doesn’t earn the expected safety scores its competitors achieve.
Customers who place value above everything else. This means taking advantage of the deep discounts to supply a well-equipped model for less than what the competition is charging.
Anyone looking for a more modern family mover. The Journey simply isn’t it.
The Bottom Line
We can’t really recommend the Dodge Journey unless it comes heavily discounted. Those incentives routinely undercut all competitors, but the trade-off is an outdated model with little else to offer.
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