Test Drive: 2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD car test drives reviews dodge
2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD. Click image to enlarge

More Dodge Journey reviews on Autos.ca

Manufacturer’s web site
Dodge Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2012 Dodge Journey

Oops! We didn’t test-drive the revamped 2011 Dodge Journey when it was introduced in the winter of 2010 – but we wish we had. At that time, it was given refreshed exterior styling, a completely new interior, an improved suspension, and a new, optional “Pentastar” 3.6-litre V6 engine which was subsequently named one of Ward’s “10 Best Engines” for 2011. When we did drive the new V6 model a couple of weeks ago, we realized that we’d overlooked one of the best redesigns of the past year. Chrysler has transformed this pedestrian people-mover into a surprisingly comfortable, well-finished, quiet, and energetic five or seven-passenger crossover vehicle.

To be clear, we’re talking about the V6-powered Journey not the four-cylinder model. The base Journey model, starting at just $18,995, is a good value for a front-wheel drive, five-passenger crossover vehicle, but performance from its standard 173-hp 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission can be underwhelming when hauling around the Journey’s 1735 kg (3818 lb) curb weight.

Test Drive: 2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD car test drives reviews dodge
2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD; photo by Michael Schlee. Click image to enlarge

However, when equipped with Chrysler’s new Pentastar 283-hp DOHC 24-valve 3.6-litre V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission (standard in the Journey SXT ($23,995), Crew ($25,995) and R/T ($28,995)) the Journey is a smooth powerhouse with the legs to accelerate effortlessly when needed and cruise comfortably on the freeway. With 25 more horsepower than the previous 3.5-litre SOHC V6, the Pentastar V6 engine chops almost a second off the Journey’s zero to 100 km/h time (8.3 seconds vs 9.2 seconds), and accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h in 5.3 seconds, according to independent tests conducted by AJAC.

Comfortable, quiet highway cruising and reasonable highway fuel economy are aided by the Journey’s six-speed automatic transmission (standard with the V6 engine). With this transmission, Natural Resources Canada rates the front-wheel drive Journey V6 at 7.8 L/100 km (hwy) and the AWD Journey at 8.4 L/100 km (hwy) compared to the previous 3.5 V6 FWD with 8.6 (hwy) and AWD 8.9 (hwy).

Test Drive: 2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD car test drives reviews dodge
2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD. Click image to enlarge

However, it’s in the city that the Journey’s biggest fuel economy improvements have been made: the new V6 offers 12.6 L/100 km with FWD and 13.0 L/100 km with AWD compared to the previous V6 with 13.5 (FWD) and 14.2 (AWD). Much will depend on your driving style though: I was seeing over 16 L/100 km in the city in our AWD test vehicle.

The Journey’s 3.6-litre V6 provides a maximum towing capacity of 2,500 lbs. (1,135 kg) in both the FWD and AWD models. However, this is down from the previous 3.5-litre V6 which had a towing capacity of 1,588 kg (3,500 lb.)

Our tester was the top-of-the-line R/T AWD model with a base price of $30,745 according to its price sticker, but according to Dodge’s Canadian web site, has been reduced to $28,995 for the 2012 R/T AWD model. We won’t complain.




About Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and contributor to Autos.ca. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).