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car review

2015 Dodge Journey Crossroad AWD

The first few times I crossed paths with a Dodge Journey, I didn't quite know what to make of it. It lacked the dual sliding rear doors of a minivan, its appearance was slightly more rugged than your typical big family-mover, and it had an almost SUV-like stance to it from certain angles. Still, spotted from a distance, it's difficult to tell apart from a minivan.

Walkaround

Of all the available build configurations for the dodge journey, the Crossroad AWD model in red with black wheels is the best looking. With either the Blacktop or Crossroad packages, the chrome-trimmed grille is substituted for a more subtle-looking black one, and its door handles are painted to match the car's exterior paint job. This may sound like a minor detail, but upon seeing the two cars side-by-side there's a clear shift in presence with the change of trim finishing. Its side profile is easily its weakest point, where that minivan-esque profile comes into play, but overall it is a well-styled unit. (Score: 6.2)

Interior

From the angle of both utility and visual appeal, the Journey's interior is pretty impressive for its class. Interior trim and panels are nicely designed for the $30-$40,000 price range. Also for vehicle owners that love well-executed storage, this thing is excellent: from the cavernous centre console, to the surprisingly useful under-seat storage compartments, there seems to be a nook or crevice for every item you can throw into the Journey.

In terms of passenger space, there is loads of room in the back seats, including a decent amount left over in the third row. It's not quite as spacious as the Dodge Durango, but its still acceptable, especially if one or two of your passengers are children or teenagers. (Score: 7.6)

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Tech

Dodge has done an excellent job of offering up a heap of bells and whistles with the new Journey. Even in its most plain-jane trim the Journey is equipped with their uconnect 4.3-inch touchscreen system that controls audio, Bluetooth, and other functions. It also comes with intelligent keyless entry, which isn't common when the price of entry is below $20,000.

When you get into the Crossroad AWD, the infotainment screen grows to a whopping 8.4 inches, and the Journey's upgraded audio system adds a reasonably sized subwoofer to the modest six-speaker system, as well as three-zone climate control and optional rear seat entertainment. The Journey isn't offering up anything groundbreaking when you boil it right down, but in terms of equipment-per-dollar it's a pretty good offering. (Score: 6.9)

Driving

The evaluation of the new Dodge Journey from behind the wheel is fundamentally simple. The Journey is built to be a comfortable family hauler, and it delivers exactly that in terms of driving experience. Its 3.6L V-6 is appropriately powerful to get up to speed as needed, and although its suspension is tuned for comfort, it doesn't roll around as much as you'd expect given its upright stance. One of the benefits of the Journey having an almost minivan-like stance is that visibility from behind the wheel is brilliant. (Score: 6)

Value

Value equations are somewhat subjective, but just about every way you slice it, the Dodge Journey scores big points in the value department. At both ends of the spectrum, whether it's the sub-$20,000 entry model, or the fully-loaded AWD Crossroad for $41,000, it still offers up a ton of features for its price.

As much as I enjoyed the fully loaded Nissan Pathfinder as an all-purpose people hauler, the Journey makes a solid argument for a fraction of the cost. As much as I prefer the Nissan's handling characteristics, if I was looking to get the most space and convenience for the dollar, the Journey would win hands down. (Score: 8.1)

Conclusion

I can complain about the propagation of boring utility-driven automobiles until I'm red in the face, but the fact is there is still a huge market for well-equipped, budget-friendly, extended-family haulers. Seating for seven may not be as necessary as many buyers may think, but one way or another there are plenty of people out there for whom the Journey will tick the necessary boxes–and then some–without breaking the bank.

Autofocus.ca is a Canadian automotive website dedicated to making car shopping easier and driving more fun. Follow Autofocus on Facebook and Twitter.

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