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2020 Dodge Journey Review

As its FCA parent ignores Dodge, money is tight. The 2020 Dodge Journey is what you get when there’s no budget to bring even a vehicle in the highly popular small-crossover segment current with its rivals. This is the third year in a row the biggest Journey news is a further reduction in trim-level choices. A winnowing down that also included the loss of the available V6, 6-speed transmission and all-wheel drive.

On top of that, there’s still no Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or much in the way of safety or driver-assist technologies. More than a decade has passed since Dodge introduced the Journey, and it has barely tinkered with it since. Yet, there are still reasons to consider it: maneuverability, 3-row Stow ‘n Go seating and an affordable price.

What’s New for 2020?

Dodge continues to follow its trim-streamlining strategy, begun in 2018, by eliminating its higher-end GT grade. In the process it also dropped the available V6, the 6-speed automatic transmission and optional AWD. Its entry-level grade is renamed the SE Value. The other remaining trim level is the better-contented Crossroad. Both trims now provide rear-park assist as standard equipment. To gain the "Value" in its name, as well as a lower base price than the 2019 SE, the SE Value grade loses a feature or two like fog lights and its tri-zone climate control. The Crossroad sports a standard power sunroof. Available as an option package on both grades is the new Popular Equipment Group. Features provided in this package are unique to each trim level. See the 2020 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

  • Lackluster powertrain
  • Out-of-date 4-speed automatic
  • Comparatively snug cabin
  • Poor fuel economy
  • No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Lacks the latest safety technology

How Much?

$24,990-$30,090

Fuel Economy

Front-wheel drive is standard on Journey. There is no longer an AWD option. As FCA continues to starve Dodge, the only engine available to Journey is a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder rated at 172 horsepower and 165 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. Its mileage doesn’t compare well with that of rivals.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Dodge Journey is offered in two trim levels: the SE Value and the Crossroad. Both feature 3-row (7-passenger) seating. Prices include the $1,495 factory destination charge.

The base-level SE Value ($24,990) includes 17-in steel wheels, roof rails, split reclining second- and third-row seats, a Stow ‘n Go third-row seat, seven air bags, keyless start, Keyless Enter ‘n Go, a rearview camera, rear-park assist, dual-zone manual climate control, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic head lamps, heated power outboard mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, 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 audio system. Previously only available on Crossroad, the SE Value 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, including satellite-radio capability and a CD player.

The optional SE Value Popular Equipment Group includes a power-adjustable driver’s seat, premium cloth seats, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, satellite-radio capability, tri-zone climate control, a security alarm, an observation mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

The Crossroad ($30,090) adds all the features of the SE Plus Popular Equipment Group, as well as 19-in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, second-row Stow ‘n Go captains chairs with in-floor storage bins, a power sunroof, enhanced exterior trim, a cargo net, a CD/DVD player and the 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen.

The optional Crossroad Popular Equipment Group includes a security alarm, remote start, lane guidance, a universal garage door opener, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and an upgraded audio system with navigation. Another Crossroad option package is a rear entertainment system with a second-row, 9-in video monitor, wireless headphones and remote control.

Safety

The 2020 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 and rear-parking assist are standard. Otherwise, the Journey doesn’t offer any modern safety or driver-assist technology like forward collision warning, a blind spot monitoring system or lane-departure warning. Lane guidance is included in the Crossroad Popular Equipment Group.

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 being user friendly. Thankfully, the Journey is available with Dodge’s 8.4-in Uconnect touchscreen, which brings iPadlike 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

2020 Kia Sorento — The Sorento offers the same sort of baby-bear-just-right size as the Journey (including a third row), but it’s a substantially more modern and refined effort. It also comes with a 10-year warranty.

2020 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.

2020 Nissan Rogue — The Rogue is one of the rare compact SUVs featuring a third-row seat, and if that’s something you’re prioritizing, this Nissan is worth a look.

Used Dodge Durango — The Durango touts a more spacious 3-row cabin, more distinctive styling, greater overall refinement and a better resale value. Plus, it offers AWD. Prices are higher, though, so you may have to consider a used model.

Autotrader’s Advice

No matter which grade and option packages you pick, you will wind up with a vehicle without popular features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as safety/driver-assist technologies like blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Moreover, you’ll have the same pokey 4-banger and antiquated automatic transmission. We think your best bet then is picking the SE Value trim along with its Popular Equipment Group. Find a Dodge Journey for sale

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