Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge
Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge
Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge
Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge
2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Steven Bochenek, additional photos by Jonathan Yarkony

Everyone reading this review of the 2014 Dodge Journey’s top trim line who doesn’t have a family, please raise your hand. (Silence.) Good. Now everyone who’s also considering a minivan, please stand up.  (Stillness.)

Okay.

We parents don’t have much spare time, so let’s be brief. The 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD is decent value as a people mover, offering a lot of goodies for the price. Yet it’s more a combination of individual pluses than the sum of its parts. Tallying those pluses is a constant journey of two steps forwards and one back – but aren’t most?

If looks are a big priority, the Journey won’t make the top of the list. Crossovers are fairly dull-looking things to begin with but the Journey isn’t helping the category any. Mind, if that outer colour of Granite Crystal Metallic weren’t so bleak, it could probably get a few checkmarks on its dance card. While none of the Journey’s other colour options are hypnotizing, the Redline and Fathom Blue are much cheerier and this was the worst. So if you can live with that you’re golden, or at least granite crystal.

Inside, the Journey’s much easier on the eye, the design flowing rather well. The ubiquity of black from the doors down is sleek, if sombre, but the Power Express sunroof does a lot to brighten the atmosphere. Other SUVs will seem more luxurious inside, but their higher prices will reflect that.

The infotainment system is blessedly easier to use, with its grownup-friendly big icons. Plus the driver has plenty of useful options built into the steering wheel, making it easier to keep eyes on the road.

If you have a lot of people to move serious distances – people who come with a lot of stuff – the 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD might well make your list. It seats seven, two comfortably up front where leather seats are heated, the others less so in the collapsible second and third rows. In fact, in a recent comparison test done here at Autos.ca, the Journey rated lowest among seven SUVs for comfort in both rows of back seats.

Okay, so that’s two forward steps and one back but in terms of space, the Journey R/T Rallye rallies well. And parents need room for all sorts of things.

The Journey is 4,888 mm long and 1,834 mm wide – lots of room, yes, but it’s flexibly available. Meaning? The back row flattens completely and the second almost as much. Getting them down is mechanically easy. The second row seats ride and slide on rails, then fold neatly into themselves a la Transformers. With no clever electronic gizmos doing it for you to break, you can raise and lower them confidently for years.

Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge Test Drive: 2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD car test drives dodge
2014 Dodge Journey R/T Rallye AWD. Click image to enlarge

With all three rows of seats up, you have 0.3 cubic metres of cargo volume. Lower the third row and it increases to 1 cu. m and with all three down, that nearly doubles to 1.92. Mind, it’s rare that you’ll be able to flatten both rows. Fortunately there are extra caches sequestered beneath the second row floor and front seat.

Speaking of caches that parents would appreciate, the tester came with built-in booster seats that neatly fold out from the second row. After years of baby seat struggles, they’ll feel like a daily birthday present to your lower back. It costs an extra $200, a long stretch from the free phone book my parents used to use, but there’s no denying the convenience.

Furthermore, unless you’re carrying a full load, you can lower the armrest between the 60/40 split second row to reveal cup holders for both passengers.




About StevenBochenek

Despite being a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and a member of its house band, the Troubadours, Steven is a veteran marketing writer who came to writing about cars almost by, umm, accident.