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2011 Dodge Journey First Look

Refreshed, but Still Not Class-Leading Midsize Crossover

2011 Dodge Journey Front Three Quarters

Those who are allergic to minivans but still want a family vehicle with three rows of seating have two options at Dodge: the Journey and Durango. It's the latter that's been getting most of the press lately, but the Journey is another viable option for many crossover shoppers. Unlike the Durango, however, it's not difficult to find a 2011 Journey at a sub-$30,000 price. The midsize Journey was refreshed for the 2011 model year, providing enough changes to once again make the vehicle a reasonable alternative to the Honda Pilots and Toyota Highlanders that fill countless driveways in your neighborhood.

The Journey is a front-wheel-drive midsize crossover that seats five people; a third row of seating, all-wheel drive, and a V-6 engine are optional. About that V-6 engine, it's a new unit from Chrysler that is being used in everything from the Dodge Grand Caravan to the Chrysler 200. Do yourself a favor and skip the standard four-cylinder engine. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 173 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 166 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. In the base Express trim level, it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and achieves 19/26 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Instead, go for the new 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine requires 87-octane gas and is good for a 17/25 mpg rating with front-wheel drive and 16/24 mpg as an all-wheel-drive crossover.

The Journey is a front-wheel-drive midsize crossover that seats five people; a third row of seating, all-wheel drive, and a V-6 engine are optional. About that V-6 engine, it's a new unit from Chrysler that is being used in everything from the Dodge Grand Caravan to the Chrysler 200. Do yourself a favor and skip the standard four-cylinder engine. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine makes 173 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 166 pound-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. In the base Express trim level, it's mated to a four-speed automatic transmission and achieves 19/26 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. Instead, go for the new 3.6-liter V-6 that makes 283 horsepower at 6350 rpm and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the engine requires 87-octane gas and is good for a 17/25 mpg rating with front-wheel drive and 16/24 mpg as an all-wheel-drive crossover.

No matter what 2011 Journey trim you choose, you'll find 67.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the driver's and front passenger's seats. There is 37.0-39.6 cubic feet behind the second row of seats (depending on whether the model has two or three rows of seating), and just 10.7 cubic feet behind the third row. It's definitely not the biggest SUV available today, a fact supported by the cramped third row seating.

Even so, there are reasons to reconsider the Journey for the 2011 model year. Dodge has redesigned the car's interior and retuned the suspension. A touchscreen infotainment system with an 8.4-inch display is newly available. While the cabin is quieter than before, Dodge is especially proud of the quality and ergonomics of the interior.

When Motor Trend magazine tested a 2011 Journey with the V-6 engine, editors clocked a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds and a 60-0 mph stopping distance of 128 feet, a middle-of-the-road braking performance.

"The transmission is slightly sluggish but under normal driving conditions passengers will be unaware the crossover is swapping gears," the magazine said in a recent test. "A high driver's seating position aids visibility."

Safety is usually an important consideration for midsize crossover buyers and the Journey performs well here. The Dodge SUV hasn't yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its more stringent 2011 crash tests, but a 2010 model received five-star ratings (out of a possible five stars) in every category except the rollover test, where it earned four stars. At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Dodge Journey is a Top Safety Pick for 2011, like the Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer.

Dodge revamped a number of vehicles in the 2011 model year including the Journey. While the 2011 Journey doesn't look much different from previous model years, the automaker has successfully improved the way it drives and feels on the inside, rejustifying the crossover's existence.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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