Thursday, January 20, 2011

2011 Dodge Journey Reviews

News out of Chrysler about the 2011 Dodge Journey crossover is a case in point. The 2011 Dodge Journey benefits from Chrysler’s PowerNet electrical architecture, a new system that powers the crossover’s electronic communications system. The big news in terms of visible interior changes is the uConnect Touch connectivity system. UConnect Touch, say Chrysler officials, is competitive with the MyFord Touch and SYNC system. Chrysler hopes to change that with the next-generation uConnect Touch system in the Journey (and two other models yet to be identified).

The automaker’s excellent new three-spoke steering wheel greets the driver. Our midgrade Journey Crew tester featured nice cloth upholstery, fine leather around the steering wheel and soft touch surfaces throughout.

What hasn’t changed are some of the Journey’s still awkward proportions. Its destiny as a global-style seven-row MPV gave it a more van-like driving position with an upright windshield, fairly low seating position and an oddly-positioned gear lever. Getting going
Only the basic Journey Express gets the outgoing model’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a four-speed automatic. Smooth and refined, it powered our all-wheel-drive Journey feature vehicle with impressive performance. Front-wheel-drive is standard, but we only had the opportunity to spend time in the snow-belt model.

Our test Journey rode smoothly and confidently and gripped well through curves. A sportier Journey R/T is due out next Spring. While Chrysler’s dated 2.4-liter is on offer, availability is relegated only to front-wheel-drive base models – a rather 1990s-style approach. 2011 Dodge Journey base price range, $22,245-32,740.

Most of those shortcomings are fixed in the 2011 Journey. The new six-speed automatic's shift quality? Back inside, the Journey's unchanged packaging gets topped with a sprinkling of new features and improved actions. Four adults, or two adults and three or four kids, are happy enough inside the Journey, with flat seats and right-sized head and leg room taking good advantage of the Journey's proportions. On mid-grade-and-up Journeys, the second-row seat slides fore and aft to free up more leg room, and on the same versions, front seats have storage built in beneath the seat cushion, and the center console gets a new tilt-and-slide top. Flip everything down behind the front seats, and you can fit a half-dozen flat-screen TVs in the Journey's 67.6 cubic feet of space.

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