Dodge describes the Journey’s styling as – get this: bold, athletic, sophisticated and smart. Well, the butchy and boxy look definitely gets my vote for bold, but the other attributes feel a bit… marketing-speak. If you’re paying attention, the obvious cues from Dodge’s awful Caliber days are there. You can’t miss the fender flares and the cross-hair grille and that is cause for some unfortunate guilt-by-association. The Crossroad trim throws in a gloss black grille and headlight surrounds and some handsome 19-inch Hyper Black wheels.
Once you’ve made your way over the high sill and you’re in, the Journey’s cabin feels spacious. And dark. And cheap. I felt that the acres of super-shiny black plastic really make the Journey feel a generation behind the times. I’m guessing the next generation of Journey will get improved materials, and the fit and finish will probably get kicked up a notch too – this one sported some varying gaps around the interior trim pieces.
The heated steering wheel is a nice touch, as are the heated front seats (the driver’s side is power-adjustable). They are comfortable and even offer a little bolstering. The dash is home to the now-familiar square 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen, which works well and boasts a pretty well laid out user interface, although I’ve never been a fan of burying seat and steering wheel heater controls in a touchscreen system. The navigation system works well and the Alpine sound system is impressive. Driver assistance tech is limited to a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors.
The two seats (they split 50/50) in the third row must be meant for very small children, well-behaved dogs or amputees. An adult simply can’t sit back there if the second row seat ahead of him is in use. Very short seat cushions and negligible leg room made even my middle child, a smallish six-year-old girl, admit that she had no room back there – the little bit of reclining these seats can do makes no measurable difference. Thankfully (for the amputees, at least) the head room is actually quite good back there. Getting in and out of there will force generous strings of curses from the most pious of your passengers – ingress and egress is brutally tight for adults. I’d say the third row should be considered an emergency-purpose third row as it is certainly not suited for a journey.
Thankfully, the second row is a different story altogether. There’s actually some leg room! The three seats (which split 60/40) slide forward and back, and recline too. You sit pretty high, and although Dodge has carved decent head room out of the ceiling, it comes in the form of domes over your head – like an air bubble. Which means that, if you’re of average height or taller, it feels as though you’re staring at the headliner that drops down in front of your brow.