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2015 Dodge Journey Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Dodge Journey vs. Family of Six by noodlenoggin

Noodlenoggin

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Introduction

We were provided with a rental Dodge Journey while our minivan was being repaired after an accident. We are a family of six -- twin 8-year-olds, 15-year old and 13-year-old kids, my wife and I. We needed a vehicle to carry all 6 of us plus any groceries or whatnot that our minivan usually carries.

Reviewed: 2015 Dodge Journey

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Why the 2015 Dodge Journey?

Handling

The Journey handles competently. Lane changes, parking lots, roundabouts, highways -- all handled confidently. I wouldn't call the Journey "sporty," but it handles a smidge better than our minivan and wayyy better than my Grand Marquis. Trying to hustle it around anything tight, though, reveals the Journey's weight and front weight bias. Works great in the suburbs, though.

Quietness

The Journey is well insulated from road noise, wind noise, motor noise and most other exterior noises. It's very easy to hear all the INTERIOR noise from my kids, shouting at each other like they do.

Front seat support & comfort

I love the driver's seat -- it's supportive, comfortable and cushy. I like the power lumbar feature on the SXT that lets you position it up/down and larger/smaller. Not so big on the manual recline with the power seat -- adjustments to the seat bottom don't move the seatback.

Powertrain performance

No complaints about the V6 and transmission. The Journey, loaded with my family of 6, was quick to accelerate, and responsive to throttle input.

Why Not the 2015 Dodge Journey?

Rear seat room & comfort

This is NOT a vehicle for a family of six. There were nonstop complaints about legroom from all my kids -- the 8-year-old twins in the wayback, the teenagers in the middle row. I couldn't be comfortable in the driver's seat, so that my son could have enough room to actually sit straight in the middle row, while giving his little sister enough room for her feet in the back row. It's a "make-do" or "in a pinch" 6-passenger car. Across town with 6 people is okay, across the state would incite a riot and mutiny.

Cargo capacity

Nope. Again, for a family of six, this vehicle just doesn't work. If you can fold down the 3rd row there's plenty of space, but with it up there's room for about 3 old-fashioned paper grocery bags in the back. We went to the waterpark, then to a birthday party, and with the bag of towels and a skateboard behind the 3rd row, there was barely enough room for a cake box. The whole family could NOT go grocery shopping in the Journey.

Audio & nav systems

Idetest the touchscreen used to control the audio and HVAC in the Journey. It's not intuitive, and takes too much attention away from the road. Also, if you don't hit the "done" button after changes, the settings revert to what they were before you started. I can't explain any better than that it Just. Doesn't. Work. Well. In. A. Car.

Conclusion

I would not recommend the Journey for a family of six. It just isn't big enough inside. It can carry 6 across town, or to school, but that's it. A vehicle can be a "long trip" vehicle or an "in a pinch" vehicle for its given passenger capacity, and the Journey is the latter. It can carry 6 in a pinch. With the 3rd row up, there's almost no cargo room. Dodge calls it "mid-sized," but it's smaller than the Durango, which itself used to be "mid-sized." So the Journey is maybe "mid-small" sized. I dunno. Bigger than a CR-V, smaller than a minivan. Too big to really choose for a single-passenger commute, but too small to really utilize that 3rd row on a regular basis. It's not "trucky" enough to be manly, not sporty, not big enough for a large family, not "girly," not really luxurious OR bare-bones. It's a compromise, trying to do everything...so it does nothing really WELL.

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Response from scumbling1

4:05 pm January 19, 2016

Fantastic review! I could believe you are a professional auto journalist, if not for the unwillingness to pull any punches.

These always struck me as pretty ridiculous vehicles -- too much compromise in actually utility, simply to emphasize you haven't been broken down by family life. Did it least offer better fuel economy than your minivan?

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Response from Noodlenoggin

3:35 pm May 31, 2016

Scumbling, It seems like the gas mileage was a smidge better than our Kia minivan...but that van got about 14mpg in town, and only 21mpg on long expressway drives. We've since replaced it with a Dodge Grand Caravan that gets 18-20mpg in town and well over 20mpg on long drives.

And thank you. I've been a professional journalist before, just not an auto journalist.

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Response from mkaresh

4:46 pm May 31, 2016

I agree, an excellent review. Packaging is the Journey's greatest weakness, there's much less room inside than there should be in a vehicle with its exterior dimensions.

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