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A Family Trip? Pencil in the 2011 Dodge Journey

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

Each spring, the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) gathers to evaluate cars and car-based crossovers within the well-defined environs of Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway, TMS to locals. The Speedway's bowl-like seating, clubhouse and residential condos rise above a landscape seemingly uninterrupted for miles. It's not a moonscape but neither is it Manhattan; the Speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval fits pretty darn easily. And so, it would seem, does Dodge's aggressively updated Journey, named Family Car of Texas by the Texas Auto Writers Association.

Every year, TAWA writers converge on TMS to inspect and drive all that's new . And while the event began on the first day of May, the weather was still in 'April shower' mode if judged by the amount of precipitation falling from Sunday evening through Monday afternoon. Of course, showers are great for illustrating the advantages of available all-wheel drive, which graces the revamped – and aggressively equipped – Dodge Journey.

If you haven't been taking notes, you may not know that the Journey occupies the crossover wing of Dodge's new lineup. The revamp began with Fiat taking an equity position in the financially stumbling Chrysler. Soon, aggressive updates were ordered across the brand, while everything smacking of a truck was given a Ram badge and moved to the other side of the showroom. This leaves Dodge with sedans (redesigned Charger and updated Avenger), a compact 5-door (Caliber), minivan (Grand Caravan), full-size SUV (redesigned Durango) and ponycar (Challenger). A lot of man-hours were expended over the last eighteen months, and the mods made to the Journey are fully representative of what Chrysler's design and marketing team have wrought in less time than it typically takes to get someone from your mortgage company on the phone. That work, noted Dodge's President and CEO, Ralph Gilles, has "been a labor of love for our team."

There were, of course, other candidates for Family Car of Texas, and in the selection many of those vote-getters also came from Chrysler, including the Dodge Grand Caravan – in R/T 'Man Van' guise – and Chrysler's upscale Town & Country. And as you might expect, Nissan's new Quest minivan, Toyota's refreshed Sienna and Hyundai's all-new Elantra (throwing a value-intensive curve ball) also enjoyed strong appeal among the judging journalists.

The Journey at Texas Motor Speedway was a well-equipped Crew, with all-wheel drive, new 3.6 liter Pentastar V6, 6-speed auto transmission and a $33,000 window sticker. Family-centric conveniences were sprinkled throughout, and included storage under the front seat, two built-in child booster seats in the second row and ParkSense rear park assist system. Better than the optional features was the capable and competent mechanical components that underpin the 2011 Dodge Journey, something we would not have identified at the Journey's debut in 2008.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
A Family Trip? Pencil in the 2011 Dodge Journey - Autotrader