Dodge Journey Gets New Interior, Connect Tech, Drive Dynamics

As in any journey, the path we take is a personal expression of what drives us. The 2011 Dodge Journey allows drivers to express where they’re at in life with a flexible crossover that features two engines, two drives, and five trims.

The 2011 Dodge Journey mid-size crossover SUV starts at $22,245 and is offered as a five- or seven-passenger vehicle in 2/3 or 2/3/2 seating configurations. The entry model to the five-trim lineup is the Journey Express, followed by Mainstreet, Crew, R/T and Lux editions.

Built as a unibody platform vehicle, buyers get the choice of selecting front-wheel or all-wheel drive on the Journey. Dodge knows the midsize crossover SUV market has hot competitors in the segment, so for 2011 the Journey underwent serious retuning to deliver powerful, yet quiet, performance. Retooled driving dynamics include the steering system, suspension, a new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, sound-deadening treatments and premium tires.

There are two engine offerings on the 2011 Dodge Journey. The standard engine is the 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. It’s EPA rated for fuel mileage at 19 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway.

The second engine offered on the 2011 Journey is Chrysler Group’s all-new Pentastar V-6. Providing the Journey with 20 percent more horsepower over the V-6 it replaces, the new 3.6-liter Pentastar produces 283 horsepower at 6,350 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm. This engine was in our Lux trim tester. “Powerful, smooth, quiet” are the words you’ll be uttering if you choose this engine selection.

Built at the Trenton, Mich., plant, Chrysler’s new Pentastar engine is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. Journey drivers will feel the smoothness of the powerful V-6 because Dodge describes that engineers added two new primary gear ratios and a secondary gear ratio for great highway passing performance. In the FWD V-6 model the EPA fuel returns are rated at 17/25 mpg. The AWD Lux tester, with a base price of $34,440, gets fuel averages of 16/24 mpg.

On the outside, the 2011 Journey is announced with a bold and muscular front. The new front fascia displays the Dodge brand “split crosshair honeycomb grille. Fog lamp bezels are emboldened with a larger size for the model-year 2011, and the rear LED tail lights sport mesmerizing “ring of fire” circles.

The new interior is significant to Dodge for its attention to craftsmanship and comfort. The one-piece instrument panel features a larger cluster with backlit classic Dodge red lights in a soft glow. Climate control outlets have a better placement for air flow circulation around the spacious cabin and up front the gear shifter and cupholders are now re-positioned for easier access, particularly for the driver.

The ever-evolving in-vehicle connectivity advancements in technology are reflected inside the 2011 Journey. Dodge wants owners to not only feel in command seated behind the wheel of the Journey, but to have the world at their fingertips. Chrysler Group’s new PowerNet electrical architecture drives the foundation of the all-new Uconnect Touch media center inside the 2011 Journey.

No matter which one of the four models of the optional Uconnect Touch system buyers select as equipment in the Journey, the connectivity program is designed to be simple and intuitive — as well as personal and customizable. And that’s what driving should be. And that’s what Dodge delivers — a personal Journey. — Connie Keane, Motor Matters

VEHICLE TYPE_________________ 7-passenger AWD SUV
BASE PRICE___________________ $34,440 (as tested: $36,210)
MOTOR TYPE___________________ 24-valve V-6 w/SMPI
DISPLACEMENT_________________ 3.6-liter
HORSEPOWER (net)_____________ 283 at 6350 rpm
TORQUE (lb.-ft.)_____________ 260 at 4400 rpm
TRANSMISSION_________________ 6-speed automatic
WHEELBASE____________________ 113.8 in.
OVERALL LENGTH_______________ 192.4 in.
TURNING CIRCLE (curb-to-curb) 39.0 ft.
FUEL CAPACITY________________ 21.1 gal.
EPA MILEAGE RATING___________ 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway
Copyright, AutoWriters Associates Inc., 2011

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