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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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2009 Dodge Journey is ideal crossover for minivan generation

From the Detroit Insider:

Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Scott Burgess: Review
2009 Dodge Journey is ideal crossover for minivan generation

LAS VEGAS -- Minivans are not cool.
They are the second ball and chain of family life -- a necessary evil and visual manifestation of throwing in the Wet Nap and admitting you've grown up.

And before every minivan owner sends me a note, go look in your driveway. It's fine to love that comfortable, purpose-driven slab-sided cruiser, but don't fool yourself, there is nothing rad about sliding doors.

The 2009 Journey, a new midsize crossover rolling into dealerships now, is Dodge's antidote to the minivan. That's something of a twist from the company that invented those bedeviling boxed vehicles that have blessed our lives and ruined our reputations. The Journey may never make hauling kids to school exciting, but it provides more style than anything else with a juice box holder and offers nearly as many features. And starting at $19,985, it's cheaper than the likes of the top-selling Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Many minivan features built into Journey
Built on the same platform as the Dodge Avenger sedan, the Journey focuses on growing families not ready to succumb to minivan life.

But the Journey comes with many minivan features -- including an optional third row, a comfortable space for kids, which folds flat when not in use.
Anyone who has had to lift up a child and strap them into safety seat will appreciate the second-row doors that open out 90 degrees. This gives you that little bit of extra space needed to properly hog tie down even the most wiggly child.

Older kids will have no problem pulling one handle and moving the second-row seats out of the way to hop into the third row. Known as Tilt 'n Slide, the feature slides the seat cushion up and the entire seat forward, providing enough pass-through space for even me. Because the Journey is built on a car platform, it rides lower than an SUV so even little legs can step into it.

There's also an optional rear-seat entertainment system with an 8-inch fold-down screen that can plug in a video game system. There's even a 110-volt outlet back there -- so that X Box 360 has power. A driver can turn off the outlet with the touch of a dash-mounted button, a convenience that will prevent a curious child from learning about electricity by poking things into to the outlet.

In fact, the Journey has scads of options available: remote start; navigation system; a back-up camera; heated front seats; a Bluetooth connection for your phone; and even child booster seats integrated right into the second row. Just pop a button and give that kid a boost.

The standard features are impressive as well: Four 12-volt power sources, as well as the 110-volt outlet, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, illuminated cup holders and lots of safety features. Also standard are front, side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as side curtain airbags for all rows, electronic stability control with roll-over mitigation, traction control, trailer-sway dampening and tire pressure monitoring. That's refreshing.

Then there's the Journey's storage. Half of their ideas must have come from smugglers.

There are the typical map pockets on the seats and slots on the door that can hold bottles of waters and maps no one buys anymore.
But from there, the Journey goes crazy. In vehicles without the third row, there's hidden storage in the back and behind the second-row seats -- and the lid bends up and lets you place grocery bags there so they won't slide around the back.

There are two floor bins that can each hold a good-sized cat -- not recommended -- or a 12-pack of soda with ice. Each comes with a removable tub for easy cleaning.

In the front, the passenger seat has a pop-up storage slot right in the cushion that's completely hidden except for a little strap. Dodge says this cool, dry storage space is for those little electronic items.

The dash is well laid out and includes a Cool Zone spot that can keep two soda cans chilled. The touch points are soft and it has a much less plastic feel than the Avenger or Caliber. The instrument cluster is impressive, losing Dodge's white faceplates for a modern green and black one under blue lighting.

There is still room for improvement: The dash has four different textures which is a little confusing. And a few finishing flaws take away from an overall nice appearance. The lock pegs have no grommets and some of the edges on the trim still look rough, such as the ones along the door. Those make everything look cheap.

V-6 has plenty of power
But when you're sitting behind the wheel of the Journey, you'll like the view -- the lines of sight are good, you sit higher than a car and controls are all easily and intuitively within reach. The gear shifter on the center console is angled slightly downward, which takes only a little getting used to.

The 3.5-liter V-6 provides plenty of power. Acceleration is quick and I never felt a need for more juice. The six-speed transmission glided through the gears and I liked using the Dodge Auto Stick, clicking through the gears manually.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, however, underperformed, becoming the Little Journey that Could: "I think I can, I think I can make it up this hill."
It always made it up the hill, but between the four-speed automatic and the 3,800-pounds on the Journey, I was never positive it would. Obviously, the mileage varies by engine choice. The 235-horsepower V-6 gets 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine reaches 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway. Both are not eyebrow-raising numbers.

With either engine, the Journey offers a surprisingly quiet smooth ride. The rack-and-pinion steering gives you good road feel and when flying through back desert roads, the Journey buckled down and bit through the curves. It's fun to drive. And when was the last time you said that about a minivan?
In the crossover world, the Journey looks more like a big wagon than a SUV, as it stretches horizontally more than vertically.

From the front, it keeps its Dodge growl, with a big cross hair grille, quad halogen head lamps and a big intake below the body-colored bumper. Its profile is less polarizing than other Dodge vehicles. Nondescript isn't a bad thing either.

There's very little "look at me" in the Journey, which suits it well. Getting noticed is not the most important thing for a family hauler. Instead, with this Journey, the trip can be as enjoyable as the destination.

And the best part is: It's still not a minivan.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 01:04 AM
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They should reprogram the 62te to operate as a 5 speed automatic. (cheaper than changing the underdrive ratio)
This would prevent shifts where two simultaneous operations are necessary.

So 1st would be 4.127
2nd would be either 2.842 or 2.284 (yes keep with the 2nd prime, use 2.842 when you just can't get into 1st)
3rd would be either 1.573 or 1.452 (it would be a 'multispeed 5 speed automatic)
4th would be 1 or 1.000 (use the composite ratio for cold starts for enhanced warmups)
5th would be 0.689
Normal reverse 3.214, low traction reverse 2.213

This is easier to visualize when you put the ratios over each other. You don't go diagonal
4.127 2.284 1.452 1.00
2.842 1.573 1____ 0.689

9/11, still an inside job
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-13-2008, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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You know Mike they say the new 6-speed is a nice tranny. Haven't tried one out yet but hopefully will soon. I wish they'd do away with the 4-speed. Can't for the life of me understand why they are still using it at this point.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 01:05 AM
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I haven't read any critical review that was positive of that transmission [62te]

If they would reprogram it, that would fix some of the 'odd' feelings that people chastised it for (simultaneous shift operations). It would still have the same ratio spread (6:1 vs. 5.2:1 for the Hyundai sonata). 'multi-speed 5 speed auto' is the same marketing that they have been using for the 45 & 545RFE.

Toyota's dual range 4 speed automatic (RAV4, RX350, Sienna) is pretty well behaved if you drive it like toyota expects you to. If you have to downshift from 5-3, or 4-2 then it is slightly out of its element (and Toyota is supposed to have really made gains there) But you can help it out by moving the selector (on non manumatic models) down a gear, so you only need a single shift 4-3, 3-2, then it back to Toyota copasetic.

From Cars.com
"The Limited trim level I tested had a smooth 3.5-liter V-6, but the engine is tied to a six-speed automatic transmission that was especially clunky during our test when shifting into gear from Park, and when downshifting. Unacceptable."

9/11, still an inside job
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 02-15-2008, 06:38 AM
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Originally heard about the Journey in one of Moparman's posts here with photos and wasn't overly impressed.

That changed this morning when I gave one on the dealers lot a once over. Really nice R/T version 3.5. The window sticker and almost $32,000 was the only turn off. Maybe I'll pick one up in a couple years for $10-12,000 (or less if an unnamed corp vanishes).
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 11:38 AM
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just had the opportunity to drive one of these for a week. it was a base model, no cruise, had a 2.4 in it and i assume was a 4 speed. it is my future mother in laws and we took it to Tennessee. let me make this very clear first, DO NOT BUY THE 2.4 the car rides very nicely, handles very well, but the combination of a 4 cylinder and a 4 speed is a recipe for disaster. honestly, if you floor it from a stand still you get nil for acceleration until about 20mph.

some of the steeper grades in the mountains where you would expect to come out of OD to gain speed in more powerful cars, we had to drop all the way to 3rd at 70mph just to maintain speed, would not gain until the mountain leveled off.

i have plenty more bad things to say about the 4 cylinder and 4 speed, but just do yourself a favor and get the v6.

overall a great car, turn signal is a little different, gas door is oddly small, and i may never get used to light controls being on a stick.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
some of the steeper grades in the mountains where you would expect to come out of OD to gain speed in more powerful cars, we had to drop all the way to 3rd at 70mph just to maintain speed, would not gain until the mountain leveled off.
Are you sure that wasn't 2nd gear? 70mph in 2nd would be about 6,000 rpm.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
Are you sure that wasn't 2nd gear? 70mph in 2nd would be about 6,000 rpm.
it was about 4k rpm.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-23-2011, 10:28 AM
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I did not really understand "we had to drop ALL THE WAY to 3rd at 70mph just to maintain speed, would not gain until the mountain leveled off."
One would expect to downshift to maintain speed up the grade.

If you floor it, you should get 2nd @ 70, at 6000rpm -173hp. 3rd would be under 3700rpm -110hp (with converter locked up), so you have the ability to put 50% more power to the pavement by downshifting to 2nd. (and up the hill you go!)
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeW View Post
I did not really understand "we had to drop ALL THE WAY to 3rd at 70mph just to maintain speed, would not gain until the mountain leveled off."
One would expect to downshift to maintain speed up the grade.

If you floor it, you should get 2nd @ 70, at 6000rpm -173hp. 3rd would be under 3700rpm -110hp (with converter locked up), so you have the ability to put 50% more power to the pavement by downshifting to 2nd. (and up the hill you go!)
this was in a dodge journey with a 4 cyl. not an intrepid.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
this was in a dodge journey with a 4 cyl. not an intrepid.
I got that, I just didn't understand your exasperation at a 4 speed automatic (41TE) & 2.4 GEMA/World downshifting to maintain speed on a grade. That should be expected.

Last edited by MikeW; 07-24-2011 at 03:14 PM.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 04:00 PM
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i was just pointing out that the 4 cyl. engine is just not powerful enough for the vehicle, in my opinion. and really, its exacerbated by the long ratios of the 4 speed.

just adding info to the thread.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 04:20 PM
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I fully concur that the 4 speed automatic severely hamstrings this vehicle.
The 2.4 has sufficient power, just no gearing.
Even the craptastic 62te would make this markedly better.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksa8907 View Post
just had the opportunity to drive one of these for a week. it was a base model, no cruise, had a 2.4 in it and i assume was a 4 speed. it is my future mother in laws and we took it to Tennessee. let me make this very clear first, DO NOT BUY THE 2.4 the car rides very nicely, handles very well, but the combination of a 4 cylinder and a 4 speed is a recipe for disaster. honestly, if you floor it from a stand still you get nil for acceleration until about 20mph.

some of the steeper grades in the mountains where you would expect to come out of OD to gain speed in more powerful cars, we had to drop all the way to 3rd at 70mph just to maintain speed, would not gain until the mountain leveled off.

i have plenty more bad things to say about the 4 cylinder and 4 speed, but just do yourself a favor and get the v6.

overall a great car, turn signal is a little different, gas door is oddly small, and i may never get used to light controls being on a stick.

AMEN to this! The 4 banger they are using in the Journey (even the new ones) is total garbage. The car (I say that lightly) is a dream to drive with the 3.5 and 6 spd. EVEN IN THE ROCKIES! You will find yourself downshifting to 3rd when going downhill (unless you like completely uncontrolled speed) but even with that small issue, the cars were amazing. (Mind you, I'm speaking of the 10/11 years.....maybe the 12's.) I hear and suspect that FIat had a hand in the 11/12 year 4 bangers...and that is enough to turn me off of them completely. The only good thing Fiat has done lately is the Abarth.....and THAT is a dream to drive, if you're a single guy who wants speed without flash.....

STAY AWAY FROM CHRYSLER/FIAT 4 cylinder motors.............PLEASE don't feed the trolls!
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-03-2012, 01:42 PM
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i haven't heard anything about fiat 4 cylinders, but if anything fiat would be using chrysler's 2.4, reliable as hell, powerful, cheap.

the 1.4 is a fiat engine and will see use in small chryslers.

Last edited by ksa8907; 03-03-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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