By Jonathan Pitman
There are many cars out there that are pretty basic. But then there are vehicles that make a statement and beg for recognition. The Dodge Journey SXT AWD offers more storage options and more choices, so you can customize your Journey any way you see fit. Let’s talk performance. On the Journey SXT AWD, it comes standard with the 3.5 Liter High Output 24 Valve V6 engine. That engine option comes with a 6 speed automatic transmission, which I think is the right fit for this vehicle. I also like that this crossover vehicle has 6 speeds because it is fun to listen to how the car responds with quick acceleration. Another fun part was engaging the auto stick feature that gave me the feeling of a manual transmission without the clutch.
One downside to the auto stick however, is that the up-shifting and downshifting is from left to right instead of the normal up and down. I find this problematic because it is hard to tell your mind to up-shift left and downshift right. Another disappointment was the lack of off the line acceleration. The Journey SXT AWD clocked a 0-60 in 9 seconds. I was expecting that number to be lower. With a 235 Horsepower engine I was hoping 0-60 in 8 seconds or less. But, overall the acceleration was enough to pass slow vehicles. With the standard engine on the Journey SXT AWD, you are sacrificing fuel economy of course, but it still earns a modest 22 MPG highway. That number may vary depending on your driving technique.
On the road the Journey SXT AWD was remarkably quiet and smooth. When going over bumps, the car held the road with no jerking to the right or the left that is common with some vehicles. The jerky motions are generally felt in the steering. That was not a problem, however, with the Journey. The suspension also contributed to the smoothness. Safety was also enhanced to give the driver ultimate confidence and control of this crossover vehicle. The ABS brakes were very responsive when braking from high speeds and in general maneuvering.
The car also handled well cornering. Thanks to added features such as the electronic stability program (ESP) it gives the driver complete control over the situation. Other safety options on the SXT AWD include advanced multi stage front airbags, and side curtain airbags, which protect all occupants in the event the vehicle rolls over, or is hit from the side. Traction control is also standard on this model, and allows extra traction to be applied to the wheels preventing them from slipping in wet, dry, snow, or icy conditions. Something that may also give you peace of mind about this vehicle is the crash test ratings. In fact, based on government crash test ratings the Journey received top honors. It attained 4 stars in the rollover test, 5 stars for side impact collisions, and for frontal crash ratings it received 5 stars.
There were several unique features about the Journey that included fine attention to detail. In the front, there are plenty of cup holders to carry large beverages. Next, there are two storage areas located on the rear floor boards. The best thing about this compartment is it is not in the way of the passengers. If you wanted to store cold beverages, there is the glove compartment storage area that keeps items cool when the air conditioning is activated. Storage is also hidden in the front passenger seat after lifting a lever to open the hatch.
The interior of the SXT AWD is just as impressive as other parts of the vehicle. Let’s start with the front seats. They were very comfortable cloth seats that were also supportive. The second row rear seats were also comfortable and have the ability to recline slightly just like in airplanes. There is also lots of legroom making it an ideal road trip car. The optional third row seat is decent, but I would not recommend that an adult try and squeeze in the back. However, two small children could easily fit in the third row seats. Other features included is the 6-way power driver seat, 6 Disc CD changer with 6 speakers, illuminated cup holders, tinted windows, leather wrapped steering wheel, and more.
Something I think would have been a great option for this vehicle would be to have the volume controls on the steering wheel. It was absent on the SXT AWD. If the company were going to include everything in this package they could have taken it a step further by adding this option. Speaking of the radio, the sound quality was excellent even though it is not the top of the line. Of course, you can also opt for the premium system, or even upgrade to XM satellite radio.
The instrument panel was also worth noting because it stands out literally. It appears to have a 3D effect not to mention really cool graphics. It is easy to read. Also the trip computer is a great option, which displays the temperature, miles per gallon, trip, and distance till empty.