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Durangos Smaller Sibling Shines: 2014 Dodge Journey

 2014 Dodge Journey

When thinking about an SUV from Dodge many think solely of the Durango, but not everyone wants a large and hulky vehicle or the higher price tag. This is where the Journey comes in and saves the SUV family from shame as a great crossover SUV the Journey offers plenty of space while adding a decent amount of fuel efficiency and carries a much smaller price tag than the Durango. Finding storage in many unique ways, the Journey has space under the floor as well as under the seat cushions of both the passenger seat and the second row of seats.

The Journey is a great vehicle for those who have a growing family but don’t find the idea of driving a minivan very appealing at all. The available seating offers up to seven to fit in the vehicle and with the V6 and all-wheel drive (AWD) the Journey can take the growing brood off the road to enjoy a weekend of camping or exploring.

For 2014 Dodge added a Limited model to the lineup as well as some new option packages for the SXT and Limited models. All trim levels now offer the option of SiriusXM Satellite Radio to enhance listening pleasure as well. As found with many crossovers, the SUV looks like a good sized SUV, but drives with handling and precision usually reserved for cars. With a highly tuned suspension to handle all road variables as well as the steering control and speedy response needed to dart in and out of traffic with ease the Journey is a real joy to drive. Adding to this joyous drive is a quiet ride given by the noise cancelling technology in the engine area allowing the family to enjoy their entertainment instead of being lulled to sleep by the road noises.

To start off the power lineup is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine that offers the necessary power for anyone who never intends to leave the pavement. Coming in with 173 horsepower and 166 lb.-ft. of torque a Journey equipped with this engine is meant for commuting and errand running but not much more than that. Even though it is limited in function this does make the smaller engine option a good choice and when matched to the six-speed automatic transmission the vehicle will achieve a fuel efficiency of 19 city/26 hwy mpg which is really nice for this size and class of vehicle.

The next up is the off road powerful 3.6-liter V6 which is truly one of the best engines in this class. This engine offers the driver 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, ample power for heading off the pavement for an adventure. When paired with the six-speed automatic transmission this power pairing achieves 17 city/25 hwy mpg for the front-wheel drive (FWD), 12 city/18 hwy mpg for the FWD using E85 ethanol, and 16 city/24 hwy mpg for the all-wheel drive (AWD) version. Because this is not much of a drop in fuel numbers at all this is really the engine of choice to make the Journey as functional as possible.

Once inside the cabin all occupants will feel they have just been wrapped in a luxury vehicle. With exquisite materials throughout including high quality fabrics and supple leather there are soft touches throughout the cabin to enjoy. Control is at a maximum and when equipped with the 8.4-inch touch screen and Uconnect the happy geek will come out in most drivers to add enjoyment and control to the driving experience. Even though the Journey offers a third row of seats, this area is best left for children to occupy and it can fold flat to maximize the available cargo space of the vehicle.

On the outside the Journey offers a strong stance but adds some interest with a nice front down angle from the hood to the bumper. Keeping this theme all across the outside of the vehicle the hood to roof angles and lines are well designed and allow for a smooth transition from one to the other making this a very eye-appealing vehicle. Adding sharp and strong lines across the body gives the vehicle a muscular feel to it that says it means business on and off the road. Adding the finishing touches to the outside the chrome accents offer a cherry on top of the sundae appeal along with the very strong looking wheels with the bulky star spoke pattern that are really beastly when in motion.

Offering the standard features for the Journey includes power heated side mirrors, thee 12-volt outlets for charging electronic devices, a 4.3-inch touch screen audio system with auxiliary input and USB ports, keyless entry, push button starting, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, second-row in-floor storage and a covered storage bin, electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, front-seat side airbags, and a third-row side-curtain airbag. All of this spells safety and enjoyment when out on the road and is a very nice offering for standard features.

The optional features are trim level based and the trim levels for the Journey are AVP, SE, SXT, Limited and R/T. Options that can be added include AWD, Uconnect hands free communication, leather seating, a rearview camera, parking assistance, a navigation system, a power moon roof, six premium speakers and a subwoofer, a 368-watt amplifier, third-row seating, a rear seat DVD entertainment system, 17 and 19-inch wheels, three-zone automatic air conditioning, sliding second-row seating, Flip ‘n Stow compartments, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, and SiriusXM Radio.

At the base AVP model the starting price comes in at just under $20,000 making this a very affordable SUV for just about anyone with a growing family. The SXT model starts just over $24,000 and the fully loaded R/T model will tip the scales at $35,000 but with all the extras this is still a very affordable and highly versatile vehicle to own. The Journey is certainly shining in its class with price and fuel efficiency.

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