- We like...Big cabin, easy fold seats
- We don't...Some rivals are cheaper
US-style seven-seater looks like a big off-roader but lacks the wheel-power to cut it in the rough. Should you buy one?Now that Chrysler’s killed its Voyager MPV (though the Grand Voyager continues), there’s a gap in its line-up. So Chrysler’s sister brand , Dodge, has pitched in with the Journey, which you see here.
It’s a big, bluff thing that looks part-MPV, part-off-roader, its huge chromed grille shouting its US origins. But despite the way that it looks, it’s no 4x4: it’s pulled along only by its front wheels, while its diesel engine deserves praise for its fuel economy and low exhaust emissions.
And once you look past its slab-sided flanks, it’s clever and practical. Inside there’s seating for seven in a 2:3:2 layout, although we should point out quickly that the rearmost pair of seats are only big enough for pre-teenage kids – something Dodge recognises by calling its set up ‘5 + 2’. All the same, access to that back-most pair is easy thanks to mid-row seats that jack-knife fold and slide forward, while the rear doors help by opening out to right-angles. With every seat in use, there’s very little room remaining for luggage, but that’s a problem with most MPVs.
The Journey’s tall roof and boxy body makes for a roomy, convenient cabin, helped by touches such as under-floor storage and a chilled dash box that’s big enough for cold drinks. The seats are covered in tough-looking, stain-proof cloth. And while the dash is as square and boxy as the rest of the car, it ds the job and is enlivened by a good splash of chrome around the gear lever.
If you’re not used to such a big vehicle, piloting the Journey could be off-putting. But it is driver-friendly, thanks to its high-up seats, big screen, easy-weighted, low-geared steering and precise manual gearshift. The diesel engine is noisy but it clatters in a friendly way while dishing up good low-revs shove, though we reckon it would struggle if the Journey had all its passengers aboard plus luggage. The rev band for power is narrow, so frequent gear shifting is a must to maintain progress.
The engine is the same 140bhp 2.0-litre Volkswagen unit that powers the Golf, Passat plus various Audis, Seats and Skodas. So while here it kicks up more racket than when used elsewhere, it ds at least keep its reputation intact for low exhaust emissions and good fuel economy (for exact figures, see panel below).
The car feels slightly top-heavy entering a bend but reasonable body control from the springs and dampers sees that it dsn’t heel over too far. Other than that it gs pretty much where you point it, though you’d never call it agile.
Is it good value? At first sight, it looks a lot of car for the money. But US makes are more of a risk than many when it comes to second-hand values, and the experts bet that the Journey won’t realise much more than a third of its original value once it’s three years old. Consider also that the seven-seat Nissan Qashqai (which like the Journey has off-roader looks but only front-wheel drive) is some £1500 cheaper and the case for buying the Dodge weakens.
We like its honest down-home chunkiness. But it’s not the best to be had for your money.
- Engines2.0 D
- 0-60 mph12.2sec
- Insurance groups10
Motors.co.uk value verdict: