If you’re interested in buying a new Dodge SUV, you’ve probably noticed that the brand offers two surprisingly similar models: the 2015 Dodge Durango and the 2015 Dodge Journey. Both offer 3-row seating, similar sizing and the brand’s unique, muscular styling. So what exactly makes the Durango and the Journey different? And which one should you get? We’ve covered all the key details that separate both SUVs.
On the outside, the Journey and the Durango share some similarities, but they’re hardly the same. The Journey touts a more typical crossover look, with a lower roofline, lower ground clearance and a profile that looks more like a station wagon. The Durango, on the other hand, offers more of a traditional SUV look, with taller sides, a larger grille and a more imposing overall shape. While some people may have trouble telling these two SUVs apart, a few quick glances is likely all you’ll need to be able to spot the styling touches that separate the Journey and the Durango.
The Journey and the Durango are a lot more different on the inside than on the outside. One reason is that there’s more room in the Durango — and not just in the usually cramped third row, but also in the front and middle rows. The extra room isn’t surprising considering that the Durango is a larger vehicle. Speaking of its larger size, the Durango is also more expensive than its Journey stablemate, which is immediately obvious when you start comparing materials in the two SUVs. The Durango simply offers better cabin quality — everywhere from the steering wheel and gauge cluster to the air-conditioning vents and door panels.
Powertrain distinctions between the Journey and Durango serve to further illustrate their size differences. Specifically, the Journey comes standard with a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s capable of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the Durango comes standard with a 290-hp 3.6-liter V6 that can reach 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
Interestingly, the Durango’s standard V6 is optional in the Journey, where it makes 283 hp and returns 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. Optional in the Durango is a 360-hp 5.7-liter V8, which boasts ratings of up to 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. Owing to its small size, the Journey doesn’t offer that big V8.
Although the Durango and Journey share their Pentastar V6, the fact that it’s the base-level engine in the Durango and the optional engine in the Journey helps to explain the key size differences between these two SUVs.
Features & Technology
Although the Journey hasn’t been given a full redesign since it first went on sale in 2009, the Durango received a complete overhaul for 2011 — and those 2 years are enough to create some major differences between the two SUVs.
For example, the Journey doesn’t offer a blind spot monitoring system. It also doesn’t have lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control or a forward-collision warning system — all of which you can get in the Durango. The Journey doesn’t even offer some of the Durango’s simpler high-end amenities, such as a power-operated lift gate, driver’s seat and mirror memory settings, along with ventilated seats. It does, however, offer Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect system, which is among the best infotainment systems in the industry.
In other words: The Durango is an excellent choice if you’re interested in getting a new SUV that has all the latest gadgets. The same can’t quite be said of the Journey.
We’ve never been impressed with the Journey’s driving experience, which involves vague steering, a mediocre ride and more cabin noise than we’ve come to expect from a modern family crossover. For the 4-cylinder version, add "very slow" to our list of complaints — especially because it’s stuck with an outdated 4-speed automatic transmission.
By comparison, the Durango certainly feels larger than its Journey stablemate, but it also offers a smoother ride, a quieter interior and nicer touch points. Effectively, it feels like Dodge simply spent more time on the Durango than on the Journey, which is likely true given the Durango’s higher price and the fact that it shares many mechanical components with the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee.
In government crash tests carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, both the 2015 Dodge Journey and the 2015 Dodge Durango earned a 4-star overall score. Both SUVs earned only average marks in testing carried out by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
But while the Journey and the Durango may have some similarities when it comes to crashworthiness, the Durango is leagues ahead in terms of safety features. It offers all the stuff the Journey doesn’t have, including a lane-departure warning system, a blind spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control and a forward-collision warning system. The Durango is up on all the latest safety features, and by comparison, the Journey is a dinosaur.
Although they wear the same badge, the Dodge Durango and the Dodge Journey have some serious differences. Specifically, the Durango is larger, more technologically advanced and more expensive — and it features a lot more equipment, better materials and more available engine power. Meanwhile, the Journey is essentially a family crossover for drivers interested in a good bargain. No, it’s not the most efficient, most up-to-date or most exciting midsize SUV on the market, but its value-packed pricing will appeal to many SUV shoppers.