Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) inattentiveness to the Dodge brand comes home to roost in the 2019 Dodge Journey. It is positively ancient when compared to much fresher competitors, such as the Nissan Rogue and the Kia Sorento. Its standard transmission is a 4-speed automatic for crying out loud. Even upgrading its infotainment system to the available and highly functional Uconnect 8.4 doesn’t include Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto in the version found in the Journey. It also doesn’t offer any of today’s various safety/driver assist technologies, such as blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front-collision warning.
It’s been a decade since the Journey’s introduction and it hasn’t benefited from a serious makeover since. That’s way too long. It can’t be expected to compete with newer models, some of which have been completely updated twice during that 10-year period. Its 3-row seating, maneuverability and affordable price are the Journey’s biggest selling points.
What’s New for 2019?
After streamlining the Journey’s trim levels to four for 2018, Dodge has further reduced the choices to three for 2019 by eliminating the SXT grade. A couple of SXT’s standard features were absorbed by the entry-level SE: three-zone automatic climate control and LED rear taillights (all-wheel drive only). SE also gains fog lamps, fold-away power heated outboard mirrors and performance front/rear fascias. SE is also available with the 3.6-liter V6 upgrade. See the 2019 Dodge Journey models for sale near you
What We Like
- Affordable 3-row seating
- Clever underfloor and in-seat storage
- User-friendly optional 8.4-in touchscreen
What We Don’t
- Puny base powertrain
- Awful standard 4-speed automatic
- Comparatively snug cabin
- Poor fuel economy
- No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Lacks latest safety technology
Front-wheel drive is standard on all grades. Standard on all but the GT is a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder rated at 173 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with what may well be the last 4-speed automatic transmission on the planet. Fuel economy estimates are 19 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg on the highway and 21 mpg in combined driving, which is poor given its meager output and mileage from competing power plants.
Standard on the GT and optional on all other trims is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It has a 6-speed automatic. AWD is optional on all trims equipped with the V6. The V6’s fuel economy lowers even further to 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined with AWD. FWD is essentially the same.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Dodge Journey is offered in three trim levels: SE, Crossroad and GT. All feature 3-row seating. Because the SE and Crossroad grades must be upfitted with the V6, 6-speed tranny and other upgrades to accommodate AWD, its price varies by trim. Adding it to SE increases the bottom line by $4,400. On the Crossroad AWD adds $3,500 to the total. GT’s AWD inflates the purchase price by $1,900. All trim-level prices include the $1,495 factory destination charge.
The base-level SE ($25,140) includes 17-in steel wheels, roof rails, reclining second- and third-row seats, keyless start, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, a rearview camera, three-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic headlamps, fog lamps, heated power outboard mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a 4.3-in touchscreen interface, a USB port and a 6-speaker stereo. Previously only available on upper grades, the SE can be outfitted with the Blacktop Appearance Package with 19-in black alloy wheels, a black roof and a gloss-black grille. There is also an audio upgrade that includes satellite radio and a CD player.
The Crossroad($29,590) adds 19-in alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, enhanced exterior trim, a cargo net, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, satellite radio, a CD/DVD player and the 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen.
Topping the line is the GT ($34,890), which adds the V6 as standard equipment. It also includes remote ignition, a sport-tuned suspension and steering, upgraded leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and an upgraded audio system with premium speakers and a larger amplifier.
Options mainly include the features that come standard on higher trim levels, though the Journey also offers a sunroof, parking sensors, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD player and a Blacktop package with blacked-out trim and wheels.
The 2019 Dodge Journey comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver’s-knee and full-length side-curtain). A backup camera is standard for 2019. The Journey doesn’t offer any modern safety/driver-assist technology like forward-collision warning, a blind spot monitoring system or lane-departure warning.
In crash testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Journey received an overall rating of four stars out of five, including four stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and four stars in the rollover test. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Journey its highest rating of Good in every category except the challenging small-overlap front crash test, where it earned a troubling Poor rating.
Behind the Wheel
The Journey’s high driving position and angled steering column may bring school buses to mind. Fortunately, the Journey’s dynamics are much better. This car-based crossover has no trouble navigating rutted roads and tight streets. Big enough to be useful yet not too big to be manageable, the Journey should strike many families as perfectly sized.
The standard 4.3-in touchscreen is unusual in a vehicle that starts in the low-$20,000 range — it’s too small and is far from the cutting edge of user friendliness. Thankfully, the Journey is available with Dodge’s Uconnect 8.4-in touchscreen, which brings iPad like crispness and ease of use to the driving experience. It’s easy to use, but the version in other Chrysler group vehicles brings more features with it, including Apple CarPlay.
The Journey’s front seats offer mediocre support, but they do sit you up nice and high, affording an expansive view of the road ahead. The steering column telescopes on all models, although those with long legs might still find the wheel too far away. There’s still plenty of adult-friendly space in the Journey’s second row, but the available third-row seat is smaller than most others on the market. Only kids will be able to comfortably sit back there.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Kia Sorento — The Sorento offers the same sort of in-betweener size as the Journey (including a third row), but is a substantially more modern and refined effort. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander — True, the Outlander isn’t exactly a bastion of automotive excellence, either. But, it’s a more modern choice than the Journey, with superior crash scores and safety equipment. It too has three seating rows and more budget-friendly pricing.
Used Dodge Durango — The Durango touts a more spacious 3-row cabin, more distinctive styling, greater overall refinement and better resale value. Prices are higher, though, so you may have to consider a used model.
The sweet spot for the 2019 Journey is the Crossroad model, offering the best value in the lineup. We highly recommend springing for the $1,700 to add the V6 and 6-speed tranny, as the 4-cylinder engine offers poor acceleration, fuel economy and transmission performance. Find a Dodge Journey for sale